One of the first things we recommend to new puppy owners is to visit a veterinarian to have their pet examined and put on a vaccine schedule. Today, our Union City vets explain why those first puppy shots are important. We'll also share a puppy vaccination schedule to keep on hand. 

Why are puppy shots important?

Just like the array of vaccines designed for use in people, vaccines for dogs in the Union City area help to protect your pet from a wide range of serious, and potentially even fatal, conditions and diseases that can spread rapidly between unvaccinated dogs. 

While it may appear inconvenient (and even costly) to take your new puppy to the vet on a regular, frequent basis for the first year, your puppy's first vaccinations and annual renewals are critical to protecting them from illness and ensuring they live a long, healthy, and happy life.

What illnesses will my puppy's vaccinations address?

Vaccines recommended for puppies and adult dogs in Union City help to prevent and reduce the severity of illnesses such as hepatitis, distemper, bordetella, rabies and parvovirus. 

Our vets can recommend a set of vaccinations that are most suitable for your puppy based on where you live, in addition to your dog's age, lifestyle and other factors. 

DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)

This vaccine protects against canine distemper (D), infectious hepatitis/adenovirus (H), parvovirus (P), and parainfluenza (P). The core vaccines include distemper, infectious hepatitis, and parvovirus. This means that all dogs, regardless of location or lifestyle, should receive these.


Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacteria that causes inflammation in a dog's upper respiratory system, resulting in coughing and illness and exposing your pet to secondary infections. Many veterinarians refer to the disease as kennel cough. 

The Bordetella non-core vaccine is administered to dogs who frequently interact with other dogs in boarding, daycare, dog parks, shows, and other social settings.


Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the leptospira bacteria, which are commonly found in water and soil in lakes, streams, and rivers. 

The potentially fatal illness can cause diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, muscle tenderness, fever, shivering, and other flu-like symptoms. Long-term, it can cause permanent kidney and liver damage.  

The non-core vaccine can help dogs who are at a higher risk of exposure. Ask your veterinarian if this vaccine is appropriate for your dog's lifestyle.


The lethal rabies virus can have devastating effects on the brain. Rabies, which is transmitted through contact with animal saliva, is almost always fatal. When symptoms of the deadly virus appear, dogs and other animals typically die within a few days. There is no treatment for the virus, so getting a rabies shot is critical to protecting your pet's health.Our Union City veterinarians recommend the rabies vaccine as a primary vaccination for puppies.

Puppy Vaccination Chart

6 - 8 Weeks

  • *DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus) Shot 1

10 - 12 Weeks

  • Booster: *DHPP Shot 2
  • Bordetella (Optional)
  • Leptospirosis (Optional)

14 - 16 Weeks

  • Booster: *DHPP Shot 3
  • Bordetella (Optional)
  • Leptospirosis (Optional)
  • Rabies
  • Spay (female)
  • Neuter (male)

12 to 16 Months

  • Final Booster: *DHPP Shot
  • Final Booster: Bordatella
  • Final Booster: Leptospirosis
  • Rabies

*DHPP: this vaccine protects your dog against a combination of illnesses: Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza.

Age Restrictions

Ask your vet to find out more about what vaccines are appropriate for your dog when they are still a puppy. Depending on your pet's age, their immune system may not be strong enough to effectively be boosted by all shots. 

How much do vaccines for puppies cost?

The cost of your dog's vaccinations will vary depending on your puppy's health, age, lifestyle, and exposure risks. During your puppy's visit to our veterinarians in Union City, we will conduct a thorough exam and recommend puppy vaccinations based on their needs. 

Remember that investing in vaccinations for your puppy will most likely pay off in the long run, as preventive care is preferable to treating conditions and diseases that can cause serious illness and shorten your four-legged friend's life. Please do not hesitate to discuss any vaccine-related questions or concerns with your veterinarian; we are happy to address any inquiries.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is it time for your puppy's shots? Contact Reelfoot Animal Hospital today for advice and to book an exam.