Puppy Shots: Do They Need 3 or 4 Sets?

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Puppy Shots: Do They Need 3 or 4 Sets?Puppy Shots: Do They Need 3 or 4 Sets? 

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an exciting and adorable experience. It’s easy for pet parents to get caught up in playing with the cuddly creature, but it’s essential to remember that puppies require routine medical care as well– and if you rescue adult dogs from situations in which they won’t be vaccinated previously, it’s important to pay attention to this article. Check your dog’s medical history, if there is one available, to learn more about your dog’s existing vaccine schedule.

One of the most important things to schedule for your new dog is proper vaccination, ideally within the first year and mostly within the first few months of life. The first thing that often comes up is, how many sets of shots do puppies need? In this article, we’ll discuss the puppy vaccination schedule, whether puppies need 3 or 4 sets of shots, what vaccinations are required, and why they are necessary (hint: to protect against fatal diseases!).

Why Are Vaccines Important?

Puppy vaccines are a critical aspect of dog care that helps to prevent young puppies and dogs from getting preventable diseases. The first shots in the vaccine series should typically be given at six to eight weeks of age or as early as possible. Puppies receive their first vaccines before they acquire maternal antibodies from their mothers, and these vaccines are a combination vaccine that protects against multiple diseases, including canine hepatitis, distemper, and parvovirus. The first vaccine helps protect your puppy’s nervous system and internal organs against infectious diseases and is an essential puppy need.

What Vaccines Are Important?

Puppy vaccinations are also designed to protect your pet against contagious illnesses and deadly diseases such as kennel cough, canine influenza, and Bordetella. These vaccinations are considered non-core vaccines because not all puppies will require them. If you plan to take your new puppy on a lot of walks, to dog parks, or socialize with other dogs, you should consider administering these vaccines.


One of the most important vaccines a puppy needs is the rabies vaccination. Rabies is a contagious disease that affects the nervous system of humans and animals, and it can be fatal if left untreated. In most states, puppies are required to have their rabies vaccine at four months of age or older. Your veterinarian will advise you on the specific timeline and dosages of the vaccine, but typically, it requires one or two booster shots after the initial vaccination.


Another important vaccine is the Bordetella vaccine, also known as the kennel cough vaccine, which helps protect your puppy against a highly contagious respiratory infection. Young dogs are more susceptible to kennel cough, which can lead to other infections and cause severe health issues. Additionally, some kennels and dog parks require the Bordetella vaccine for your dog to stay and play.

Location-specific Vaccinations

Although several essential vaccinations are considered “core” and essential in protecting your puppy, there are “non-core” vaccinations, depending on your geographic location or lifestyle. For example, Lyme disease and canine influenza require non-core vaccinations. These may be necessary if you reside in a high-risk area or frequently visit dog parks.

Puppies require three sets of shots for proper vaccination. The second set should be given at twelve weeks of age, while the third round should be complete when the dog reaches eighteen to twenty weeks of age. The complete set of vaccinations means your pup is protected against pesky and concerning issues that can come up from indirect or direct exposure. 

Three is the Magic Number

Finally, after a puppy receives three sets of shots, it will need additional booster shots every year, especially if your dog is at high risk. Additional vaccinations are necessary to maintain your dog’s immunity against preventable diseases and should not be skipped. As a responsible pet owner, ensuring your puppy receives routine medical care is the best way to promote good health and well-being. Always remember to consult with your veterinarian regarding the schedule, dosage, and type of vaccine required for your puppy. Your vet will help you determine the right schedule of vaccinations for your dog to ensure that they are kept healthy and happy for years to come.