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

Rabies and DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus) are considered the core vaccines for dogs. New York State law requires all dogs to have an up to date Rabies vaccination in order to be licensed, or a valid exemption form. As a puppy, they receive a DHPP vaccine at 8, 12, and 16 weeks. At 16 weeks they also get their first Rabies vaccine. From then on they need a DHPP yearly, and after another yearly Rabies vaccine, it can go every 3 years.


Rabies is a fatal disease. Since there are no effective treatments and the disease can also infect humans, being vaccinated against the rabies virus is required by law in most states.


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

  • Distemper virus — This virus attacks the lungs and affects the function of the brain and spinal cord; this disease can be fatal.
  • Hepatitis —  This virus attacks the liver and is spread through feces.
  • Parainfluenza — This is a respiratory virus that causes coughing and cold-like symptoms.
  • Parvovirus — This virus attacks the lining of the intestinal tract and damages the heart of very young puppies; disease can be fatal especially in puppies.

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 attend.

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.