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Vaccination timeline for dogs and puppies

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Here's where new dog owners can get all the basic information on shots and de-worming.

By Jon Geller

Have you welcomed a new dog into your house? Whether you’ve adopted a puppy or an older dog, you can use this basic guide for vaccination and de-worming.

Combination vaccine

A combination core vaccine containing protection against parvo virus, distemper virus, adenovirus and hepatitis should be given at 8, 10 and 12 weeks of age, and then repeated annually.

Some veterinarians may switch to a 3-year vaccination schedule after a dog reaches two years of age. Additional vaccines in certain parts of the country may include leptospirosis on a similar schedule. For dogs that are going to spend time in boarding facilities or with lots of other dogs, a bordetella vaccine to prevent kennel cough is recommended, at least annually.


All dogs should be vaccinated for rabies at 14 weeks of age, and then again at one year of age. Depending on the local regulations, re-vaccination with rabies vaccine should happen every one to three years.


De-worming with an oral prescription de-wormer such as pyrantel palmoate or fenbendazole should take place every 2 weeks starting at 3 weeks of age. Once a puppy reaches 6 months of age, it can start taking a monthly heartworm preventative that also contains a dewormer for intestinal worms. The monthly de-worming should continue year round. Some farm or ranch dogs may require medication for tapeworms, as well. Dog owners should avoid giving over-the-counter de-worming medications to their dogs, as they are often ineffective and may have side effects.

Although some dog owners do vaccinate their puppies and dogs themselves, it is better to have a veterinarian decide on the best vaccination schedule for dogs in certain parts of the country, depending upon disease risk. In addition, only a veterinarian can administer a rabies vaccine with a legal certificate of vaccination.

"Vaccination Timeline for Dogs and Puppies” is provided by with permission from I-5 Publishing, LLC, publishers of Dog Fancy and Cat Fancy publications. For the latest dog news, photos, entertainment and tips, check out

All statements and opinions in "Vaccination Timeline for Dogs and Puppies" are the sole opinions of the I-5 Publishing, publishers of Dog Fancy and Cat Fancy publications and not those of CareCredit. The content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual medical provider with respect to any professional advice presented. Your participation in the presentation constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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