What vaccinations does my puppy need?

Discover which diseases your puppy will need to be protected against.

Madra the Border Collie puppy

Getting your new pup vaccinated will protect them from common infectious diseases. Without this protection, your dog could develop serious illnesses which could have lasting effects, and even be life-threatening. So it’s important to get your puppy vaccinated at the right time. 

Core vaccinations are those recommended for all dogs. Your vet may suggest extras, depending on your lifestyle and plans. 

When should my puppy be vaccinated?

Puppies have some protection from disease in their first few weeks of life, from the antibodies in their mother’s milk. These antibodies will fall, so pups need to develop their own immunity through vaccination.

Most puppies should get the first of their core vaccinations from six weeks of age. They should receive a second vaccine two to four weeks later, depending on the puppy’s age and the vaccine brand. Speak to your vet about best timings for your pup. They’ll need to see your puppy’s vaccination paperwork. If you’ve bought your dog from a responsible breeder, they should be able to supply you with this.

If you’re adopting from Dogs Trust, your puppy will already have had their first set of vaccinations. Usually, they'll need to return to us for their second set. If you arrange for this to happen at your own vet, please show them the puppy's paperwork. This is so they can check that they stock a compatible vaccine. 

Vaccinations can take days or weeks to be fully effective – your vet will be able to tell you more. This is also a good time to put in place a flea, tick and worming regime for your pup. Until your puppy’s vaccinations have taken effect, you won’t be able to take them for walks outside. You should also keep them away from lakes, rivers and stagnant water.

It’s important, though, to continue to introduce your pup to the outside world

What do puppy vaccinations protect against?

More about core and additional vaccinations.

Core vaccinations

Vaccinations against the diseases listed below are generally recommended for all dogs.

Canine parvovirus 

A highly-contagious and often-fatal virus that causes severe illness with signs such as vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.

Canine distemper

A viral disease which can cause severe, and often fatal, pneumonia (lung inflammation) and encephalitis (brain inflammation). 

Canine adenovirus type 1 and 2 

These viruses can cause severe and fatal hepatitis (liver inflammation) as well as upper airway inflammation.  


This infection can cause liver and kidney failure. The bacteria live in stagnant and standing water such as lakes, rivers and ponds. 

Additional vaccinations

Bordetella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza (for kennel cough) 

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacteria and parainfluenza is a virus. Both are highly infectious and can contribute to a respiratory condition commonly known as kennel cough.

While rarely serious, kennel cough can be unpleasant for your dog and may cause more serious problems, especially if they have a compromised immune system.  

Talk to your vet about whether it'd be advisable for your dog to have a kennel cough vaccination. Many boarding kennels will only accept dogs who have had one. 


A severe and fatal viral disease. It’s not present in the UK, and vaccination against rabies is not essential for dogs here.

If you want to take your dog abroad, you may need to get them protected against rabies and should speak to your vet well in advance of your trip. 

Booster and top-up vaccinations for your dog

As well as their initial set, your dog will need booster vaccinations every year.

Your vet can tell you what’s needed – it’ll depend on the individual risk to your dog and the brand of vaccines used.

As well as a first-year booster, your pup will typically need:

  • a top-up dose of leptospirosis vaccine every year
  • top-up doses of canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus and canine distemper vaccines every three years.

Checking the cost of puppy vaccinations

To help you budget, you can check the costs of puppy vaccinations (and other routine vet care) with your local vet before starting your search for a dog. Your vet practice may offer care plans (pay monthly or yearly) to spread the cost of essential pet care such as flea and worming treatment, vaccinations and neutering.

These plans may also include (check with your vet) - a yearly booster vaccination, health checks, dental and neutering procedures, and a sample bag of pet food. Some might also send preventative treatment by post. It’s important to note these health plans are not an alternative to insurance, which is recommended in addition.

If you already have a pup, but are struggling to cover costs, charities such as PDSA and Blue Cross may be able to help. This depends on your circumstances and your location. 

Preparing your puppy to be handled at the vet

If your dog feels relaxed at the vet, that’ll make things easier when you take them for their vaccinations. Our vet visit pages are full of tips to make things more pleasant for you and your pup.

And our Dog School video below is all about getting your pooch used to being handled. 

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