Vaccinating your dog

Vaccinating your dog

To protect your puppy or dog from nasty diseases they will need to have some injections. Here’s the low-down on dog vaccinations. 

Why do dogs need injections?

Without vaccinations, dogs can get a number of diseases. Without injections to protect them, dogs can become seriously ill and even die.

What injections do puppies need at what age?

Puppies are most vulnerable to infectious diseases. This is why they have their first – or primary – injections at 8 weeks old. Your puppy will be given their second vaccinations two to four weeks later. If your puppy was vaccinated by a breeder or rescue centre, you should have received a vaccination card when you brought your puppy home. Show this to the vet to make sure your puppy has had the shots they need. Your vet will give your puppy their second injections.

Your dog will be fully protected until around two weeks after his or her 2nd vaccination. Then they will be able to socialise with other dogs and go to public places, such as parks.

Core vaccines for dogs

There are four main diseases that dogs are vaccinated against:


This disease is passed on from an infected dog through their poo. It mainly affects puppies and causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Puppies who contract parvovirus often die. 

Canine distemper

This disease can affect dogs of all ages, not just puppies. Spread via saliva, the symptoms are a high fever as well as coughing, vomiting and diarrhoea, and often death. Dogs who survive may develop neurological problems in later life. 

Leptospirosis (Lepto)

Lepto is transmitted through infected water. It causes high fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and can result in liver failure and death. 

Infectious canine hepatitis

This is passed on through bodily fluids from infected dogs. It is an unpleasant disease, which can result in a nasty cough, like kennel cough, or liver disease and failure. 

There is a vaccine available for kennel cough. However, this is not routinely given to dogs. If your dog is likely to spend time at boarding kennels or doggy day care, where there are high numbers of dogs, you should consider having your dog vaccinated against kennel cough. Ask your vet for advice. 

Do dogs need boosters every year?

Your dog will need to have yearly vaccinations to ensure their immune system stays strong and to protect against nasty diseases. 

Where do dogs get vaccinated?

You will need to take your puppy or dog to the vet for their injections. It’s a good idea to arrange an appointment with the vet a few days after your puppy or dog comes to live with you.

Many vets send out vaccination reminders, by text, post or email, to prompt you to make an appointment for your dog’s annual booster.

How much are puppy vaccinations?

The cost of puppy vaccinations can vary between £30-£60 for the initial round (first and second vaccinations). The cost for dog’s annual booster will be a little less.

Many vets now offer health care plans. These include annual vaccinations as well as flea and worm treatment.

If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for help with veterinary costs, including cheap dog vaccinations, from organisations such as:

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