These Vaccinations Are A Must-Have For Dogs In The US

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
What are essential vaccinations for dogs across the States? Read on and discover what are core and non-core vaccines that your dog can benefit from.

When it comes to keeping your dog healthy and safe, vaccination comes first.

Are you worried that a dangerous disease could hurt your dog? If your dog is vaccinated you should have no fears of this kind.

You cannot calm your mind on thinking if a disease can be fatal? If your dog is properly vaccinated you should have no worries.

Vaccinating Your Dog

Vaccination is a trusted and mandatory process that keeps your dog healthy and strong.

If you manage to keep essential vaccinations up-to-date you can expect to keep contagious disease away from your Fido.

Should you vaccinate your dog even if he is more of a couch potato? Simply said, yes.

Did you know that many contagious diseases are airborne? Therefore, opening a window may be a simple task for you, but it may be a health challenge for your canine.

Can you protect your dog from getting a disease? Unless you vaccinate your dog, you cannot do much.

A simple walk to a dog park, spending hours in boarding kennels, or using grooming services can lead to more serious exposure to different diseases. That being said, make sure that you stay on top of the vaccination schedule and provide the right vaccine.

Let’s check which pet vaccinations are a must-have for dogs in the US.

First thing first: To understand fully how vaccination works and what is the timeline when it comes to dog vaccination talk to your veterinarian first.

Vaccinations for Your Dog

Where do you live? Always start from there – law and regulations may vary from state to state, but when it comes to a vaccine, major vaccination differences should be non-existing. That being said, there are core vaccinations that every dog across the States must-have.

Core Vaccinations For Dogs

Core vaccinations are what keep both you and your dog healthy and safe.

Their primary purpose is to keep dangerous and rare diseases rare.

Core vaccinations have been successfully fighting canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus/hepatitis, and canine parvovirus for years. Did you know that humans can transfer parvo to dogs?

Depending on where you live, your veterinarian may suggest different vaccines, but you can expect to hear about two main dog vaccinations, DAPP/DHPP, and rabies vaccine – as these vaccines fight strong viruses and contagious infections.


Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus, or shortly DAPP/DHPP stands for a group of dangerous viruses and both strong and infections.

This is a core vaccination for all dogs regardless of how small, or big they might be.

Do you have a small size dog who doesn’t shed much and spends the majority of his time indoors? Your Fido still needs a shot.

In fact, DAPP/DHPP is given to puppies 3 or 4 times during their puppy vaccination and depending on their age.

A booster shot is something that is expected to be performed annually, or once in three years in case your Fido isn’t exposed to other pets and is healthy. But… Taking your dog to a dog park goes under interaction with other dogs.

When you give your dog DAPP/DHPP, what are you achieving? This vaccine protects dogs from viruses and severe organ damage.

Average price for DAPP/DHPP vaccine: $25 – $50 (dose)
Vaccination Effectiveness: 3 years


Another core vaccine that is mandatory across the States is a vaccine against rabies.

As you may know already, rabies is a life-threatening disease that can be easily transmitted from an animal to a human. All that it takes for this transition to happen is the smaller bite.

Important: Rabies can transmit from the animal’s saliva when it gets directly into a person’s eye, mouth, nose, or any kind of open wound. Can a scratch be enough for saliva to transmit rabies? Simply said, yes.

Now, you may ask – Can I get rabies from a dog lick? As mentioned above, saliva will always transmit rabies to humans if an animal is infected.

Diagnosing rabies is a bit tricky because a dog could carry it within 12 weeks before a dog shows any signs of being infected.

Since rabies can only be treated before symptoms occur, the vaccine is a perfect tool to keep rabies away.

Vaccine against rabies is the best prevention when it comes to rabies.

When affected with rabies, a dog will become aggressive or paralyzed before passing away in as little as two days.

This is a yearly vaccine for more energetic dogs who love adventures and follow you on every hike or mountain jogging.
For other pups, who are more of a ‘couch potato’ way, vaccination every three years should be enough.

Average price for rabies vaccine: $15-$50 (dose)
Vaccination Effectiveness: 3 years

Non-Core Vaccines

Opposite to core vaccinations are recommended vaccinations, also known as non-core vaccinations.

Are they mandatory? In most states, they are merely recommended, as their role is to protect dogs who might be exposed to various infectious diseases, such as:

  • Bordetella
  • Canine Influenza (dog flu)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme vaccine

Let’s elaborate on these diseases further, to understand better how they might affect your dog’s health.


Bordetella, also known as the kennel cough, is an airborne bacteria that can easily be spread through physical exposure. Bordetella can easily be transmitted from shared bowls and cages.

Pro tip: If you are leaving your puppy in doggy daycare or similar, for the first time, make sure that you bring your own bowls – just in case.

Bordetella is known as a highly infectious bacteria that causes severe symptoms such as:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Depression

In some rare cases, Bordetella can even lead to pneumonia.

When it comes to Bordetella veterinarians are pretty loud when it comes to getting this vaccine, although it’s a non-core shot.

Note: If you want to register your puppy for training classes and speed up the training process, proof of the Bordetella vaccine is a must-have.

Bordetella vaccine can be taken as an injection, orally, or even as a nasal spray. One-shot every 12 months should keep your dog safe.

Average price for Bordetella vaccine: $15 – $90 (dose)
Vaccination Effectiveness: 1 year

Canine Influenza (dog flu)

Is your dog outgoing and social? Do you enjoy long playtime sessions at the dog park? If the answer is yes, you should think about protecting your Fido from dog flu.

Canine influenza is something that shouldn’t be ignored and is in fact a highly contagious disease.

Some of the symptoms that may appear in dogs affected with dog flue are:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • The poor immune system, and of course
  • Severe cough

When taken annually, after two initial puppy doses, this shot should keep your dog protected and pneumonia-free.

Average price for Canine Influenza (dog flu) vaccine: $30 – $50 (dose)
Vaccination Effectiveness: 1 year


Leptospirosis is commonly found in wildlife and rodents. This disease can be found in every corner of the world.

How can a dog get it? It may sound unusual, but the most common way for leptospirosis to appear in dogs is by drinking water that is contaminated by urine.

Some of the symptoms that may appear include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Important: Dogs can expose people to Leptospirosis.

This disease is manageable and antibiotics are a common treatment option.

Any treatment with antibiotics can be long and time-consuming, which is why this non-core vaccine is highly recommended.

Are you an outdoor person who takes your dog to frequent hikes and swimming, and you overall love exploring rural areas?

If so, you should think about this non-core vaccine as an effective way to keep your Fido healthy.

Pro tip: Learn how to hike with your dog safely before you hit exploring the wilderness together.

Average price for Canine Leptospirosis vaccine: $30 – $50 (dose)
Vaccination Effectiveness: 1 year

Lyme vaccine

Did you know that both dogs and humans can be affected by Lyme disease? This common disease is carried by small ticks that are often found in grass, and wooded areas located near lakes and rivers.

There is no state without ticks, but some areas are more ‘richer’ in these small troublemakers.

If you are based in one of the five following states, make sure that you put extra focus on ticks protections.

The states listed below are most often seen having the highest number of tick-borne disease cases in the US:

  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut

If your home is located in any of these areas, make sure that you do extra research on Lyme disease and talk with your veterinarian about the Lyme disease shot.

Don’t forget to think about other tick-preventive products such as drops and collars.

Average price for Lyme vaccine: $30 – $50 (dose)
Vaccination Effectiveness: 1 year

What About 7-in-1 Vaccines For Dogs?

A one-stop solution/vaccine sounds like the best option when it comes to effective dog protection, right?

Is it possible to combine all vaccines and make it a one-shot? It is, but this isn’t something that is often seen or recommended.

Veterinarians will explain to you the vaccination timeline, how puppy vaccination is distributed, and usually advise you to avoid giving all the protection at once.

Too much protection can lead to strong vaccine reactions, including, but not be limited to:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrheav
  • Facial Swelling
  • Anaphylactic Reactions

Will Vaccination Break The Bank?

Simply said, no. The average price for vaccination per year is affordable.

After all, owning a dog comes with many expenses, and planning that should be completed before you get a dog.

Are you just thinking about getting a dog? If so, you are probably thinking about expenses as well. That being said, learn the cost of owning a dog – this way you will prepare better and think about finance in advance.

If you still want to be extra cautious when it comes to expenses, you can always think about pet health insurance.

In a case of an emergency, this is a great way to provide your dog with needed care stress-free.

Why Does My Dog Need To Be Revaccinated?

This is something that dog owners and those who are just thinking about getting a dog often think about.

As you may get so far, when a shot is given a certain level of immunity is created.

In most cases, this immunity should last for around a year of minimum and often several years. However, immunity will decline over time, and its intensity may vary from dog to dog.

This is why revaccination is needed. Your veterinarian should explain the frequency and need of booster vaccination based on your dog’s age, activity, exercise needs, and overall lifestyle.

Are There Any Downsides Related to Dog Vaccinations?

Vaccination comes with so many benefits that outweigh any risks. In fact, the side effects of dog vaccines are lower than rare.

Yet, as with any medication you can expect some side effects, that again – may vary from case to case.

Carefully monitor your dog before and after vaccination so you can react if you notice anything unusual. That being said, if your dog experiences any reaction to vaccinations, you can expect the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial or paw swelling and/or hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain or swelling around the injection site
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures of different intensity and endurance

Make sure that you talk with your veterinarian on what to do if you notice any of the listed symptoms and beyond.

Schedule An Appointment

Do your best to create a healthy veterinarian routine.

What does this mean in practice? In practice, this means that your dog is fine with visiting the vet’s office, being handled and that you have a regular vaccine schedule.

From the first puppy shots to the dog’s senior years, your biggest supporter will be your veterinarian.

By providing regular veterinarian check-ups you are actually supporting your dog’s health in the long run.

Plus, just like in humans, there is no better medicine than prevention. Prevention is the key when it comes to having a healthy and happy dog.

Once you get a dog your first responsibility is to take your Fido for a full check-up.

Your first veterinarian visit will be packed with information, including vaccination-related info.

Even if you are getting an adult dog your veterinarian will inform you of coming vaccinations steps.

To guarantee the dog’s health and happiness, stay up to date on the dog’s vaccination.

Not sure if your Fido is properly vaccinated? Schedule an appointment today.