What vaccines does my dog need? How often do they need them?

Rabies, and the DHPP (sometimes referred to as the Distemper vaccine), are considered core vaccines and are very important. New York State law requires all dogs to have an up to date Rabies vaccination in order to be licensed. Your dog will need a Rabies vaccination every 3 years, and a DHPP vaccination every year.


Rabies is a 100% fatal disease of mammals. Because there is no effective treatment and the disease can also infect humans, vaccination against the rabies virus is required by law in most states. Typically, the rabies vaccine is administered to pets in a separate injection at the same time as the canine distemper combination vaccine. However, the rabies vaccine can also be given alone (at a separate visit) or at the same time as other vaccines (such as the Lyme disease vaccine).


DHPP vaccine — Otherwise known as the caninedistemper vaccine, stands for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus.

  • Distemper virus — Attacks the lungs and affects the function of the brain and spinal cord; disease can be fatal
  • Hepatitis — Affects the liver and can cause loss of vision
  • Parainfluenza — Respiratory virus that causes coughing
  • Parvovirus — Attacks the lining of the intestinal tract and damages the heart of very young puppies; disease can be fatal

Non-Core Vaccines

You may consider having your dog vaccinated against Leptospirosis, Lyme Disease, and Bordetella (often referred to as Kennel Cough) based on your living circumstances. Most grooming salons, boarding kennels, and dog training classes require a Bordetella vaccine before the dog can be present.

What vaccines does my new puppy need, and when?
Typically, your puppy will be given the DHPP (Distemper/parvo) vaccine at 8, 12, then 16 weeks. At 16 weeks, they will also get their first Rabies vaccination and are ready to be spayed or neutered.