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What Shots Puppies Need & When

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 Astoria vets explain why those first puppy shots are important. We'll also share a puppy vaccination and deworming 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 Astoria 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 seem inconvenient (and even a bit costly) to bring your new puppy to your vet's on a regular, frequent basis throughout their first year, your puppy's first vaccinations and their annual renewals are critical to protecting them from illness and ensuring they're set up to live a long, healthy and happy life. 

What illnesses will my puppy's vaccinations address?

Vaccines for puppies and adult dogs in Astoria can prevent or reduce the severity of diseases such as hepatitis, distemper, Bordetella, rabies, and parvovirus. Our veterinarians can recommend a puppy shot schedule based on where you live, your dog's age, lifestyle, and other factors.

What are the core vaccines my puppy will need?

Below, we list the core vaccines all puppies should get.

DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)

This combination vaccine offers protection against canine distemper (D), infectious hepatitis/adenovirus (H) and parvovirus (P) in addition to parainfluenza (P). Vaccines for distemper, infectious hepatitis and parvovirus are categorized as core vaccines. This means that every dog should receive these, regardless of location or lifestyle. 


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

Are there any vaccines that are optional?

Although we highly recommend getting all the vaccines for your puppy, there are a few that you may be able to skip based on lifestyle and risk factors. These include:


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

The Bordetella non-core vaccine is given to dogs that frequently spend time around other dogs in boarding, daycare centers, dog parks, shows and other social settings. 


Caused by leptospira bacteria that's often found in water and soil in lakes, streams and rivers, leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means it can spread from animals to people. 

The potentially fatal illness can cause diarrhea, vomiting, appetite loss, fatigue, muscle tenderness, fever, shivering, and other flu-like symptoms. In the long term, it can cause irreversible kidney and liver damage.

The non-core vaccine can benefit dogs who are at increased risk for exposure. Ask your veterinarian if this vaccine is recommended for your pup based on their lifestyle. 

Puppy Vaccination Schedule 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. 

Is there a recommended schedule for deworming?

Puppies should be dewormed every two weeks, beginning at two weeks old and continuing until they reach three months old. After that, they should be dewormed every month until they are six months old. Deworming your puppy on a regular basis is essential for preventing parasite spread and keeping him healthy.

How much do vaccines for puppies cost?

The cost of your dog's shots will vary depending on your puppy's health status, age, lifestyle and exposure risks. During your puppy's visit to our vets in  Astoria, we will perform a comprehensive exam and recommend puppy vaccinations to suit their needs. 

Remember that investing in vaccinations for your puppy will almost certainly 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 lifespan. Please do not hesitate to discuss any vaccine-related questions or concerns with your veterinarian; we are happy to provide answers.

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 Steinway Court Veterinarian today for advice and to book an exam.

New Patients Welcome

At Steinway Court Veterinarian, we are always accepting new patients. Our vets are dedicated to keeping pets healthy and happy in our Astoria clinic. Contact us today to book your first appointment.

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Contact (718) 728-2822