A First Year Guide to Puppy Shots

Puppies are a bundle of energy, joy and cuteness. Protect your new addition to the family by giving them the right food, gentle training, safe toys, socialization and the right vaccinations. Here is Acoma Animal Clinic’s guide to first year puppy shots. 

What Vaccines Does My Puppy Need?

Like humans, dogs are susceptible to a variety of diseases, some of which can be deadly if caught at a young age. All vaccines significantly reduce the risk of your dog getting ill, but do not guarantee they won’t become sick in the future and do not treat illnesses. 

Vets recommend a plethora of shots for your pup and it can get confused as to what all of them are for. Let’s break them down. 

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is most commonly caused by the bacterium bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza. It causes inflammation of the upper airway and leads to coughing. It is not usually fatal, though complicated cases can lead to pneumonia. 

Owners have the option of administering the vaccine via a nasal mist, orally, or through injections. What type of vaccine your puppy will get depends on their personality and age. Injections are typically saved for more aggressive dogs. 

High-risk dogs should get vaccinated for kennel cough once every six months, while dogs who are not boarded often or dogs that don’t travel will only need it once a year.

Kennel cough is highly contagious and passed on by your puppy breathing the same air as an infected dog, using their toys, food bowl or water bowl, or touching the other dog. Puppies need socialization with other canines, so they are at higher risk of catching kennel cough. 

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a severe and often fatal disease that attacks your dog’s respiratory system, gastrointestinal system and nervous system. It can cause runny eyes, noses, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, twitching, paralysis and, often, death. 

It’s spread through airborne exposure, shared food or water dishes and toys.

There is no cure for canine distemper, which is why it is vital to protect your puppy at an early age. Treatment consists of supportive care. Owners and vets will work to prevent secondary illnesses and to control your dog’s vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. If your animal survives the symptoms, there is a chance your dog’s immune system can fight off the disease. 

Infected dogs can transmit the virus for months, so be sure to keep them away from other animals, including racoons and skunks. 

Canine Hepatitis

Canine Hepatitis is unrelated to the human form of the disease. This viral infection targets your dog’s liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs and eyes.It can cause fevers, congestion, vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement and pain around the liver. 

Most dogs overcome the disease if it is mild, but severe forms can be fatal. There is no cure, but vets can treat your dog’s symptoms. 

Canine CoronaVirus

Canine coronavirus is highly contagious, but mostly mild. It affects the small intestine and local lymph nodes. It can cause symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, but most dogs experience no symptoms at all. Treatment is used to subdue the symptoms while your dog’s immune system works to fight off the virus.

Puppies are highly susceptible to this disease, as their immune system is still developing. 


A bacterial infection, leptospirosis is asymptomatic and can be spread from animals to people. When symptoms do appear, they come in the form of a fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weakness, lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle pain, infertility, and kidney failure. 

It can be treated with antibiotics. Due to the severe nature of symptoms, the sooner you get your puppy vaccinated and/or treated, the better. 


Puppies younger than four months old are highly susceptible to parvovirus (parvo). All ages can get infected, however. The symptoms, which are a loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and often severe, bloody diarrhea, can cause extreme dehydration.

There is no cure, so keeping the dog hydrated throughout their bout of the disease is a must. Vets can control the symptoms of this gastrointestinal disease until your dog’s immune system kicks in to fight off the disease.


We’ve all heard of the dangers of rabies and your dog is far from safe if they’re not vaccinated. Rabies is a viral disease that invades the central nervous system and causes headaches, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis and death. 

All mammals, including humans, can get rabies. If your dog catches it and bites you, it can infect you. Rabies is fatal for both humans and dogs if left untreated.

Check with your vet about rabies vaccination laws in your area.

Choosing a Good Vet

A good vet will be able to diagnose and treat all of the diseases above, but the best vet will ensure your puppy is protected from them. Not all dogs are the same; some require vaccines earlier than others. Acoma Animal Clinic in Tucson is a leading vet clinic that provides full-service care for your puppy. 

Their professional veterinarians can guide you through the process of vaccinating your puppy and raising it to be a healthy dog. Contact them today to set up an appointment or if you have any questions about your dog’s health. 

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