Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS

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How do vaccinations help my puppy?

Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS
Reading time: 2 minutes

Vaccinating your puppy will provide invaluable protection against several diseases he or she is likely to be exposed to.

This five most serious dog diseases are:

  • Canine distemper Virus – a virus with no known cure.
  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis – which usually affects dogs less than two years old.
  • Leptospirosis – a bacterial disease spread via infected urine or contaminated water.
  • Canine Parvovirus – a highly contagious viral disease that’s especially severe in puppies.
  • Canine Parainfluenza – one of the infectious agents that causes ‘kennel cough’.

Annual vaccinations for the first four illnesses above are required and if your dog will regularly visit boarding kennels, your vet will also recommend they are fully vaccinated against kennel cough.

In addition to these, a rabies vaccination will be needed if you plan to take your puppy abroad, this can be done at any time once your puppy is 12 weeks old. Although you will need to wait at least 21 days after the vaccination before you can travel.

When to get vaccinations done

Puppies usually have their first vaccination at around eight weeks old, followed by a booster vaccination 2-4 later weeks after the initial dose to make sure they are fully protected.

Until your puppy has had all his or her vaccinations, it’s best to avoid them being in contact with other dogs or being walked in public places. A year after your dog’s first vaccination they will be given a booster, which will need to be repeated every year throughout their adult life. If more than 15 months pass between boosters, most vets will recommend restarting the vaccination programme.

Vaccination myths vs reality

Q:  ‘Once I’ve had my puppy injected, they’re immune for life’

A:  Not true. It’s important to have your dog vaccinated every year to maintain his or her immunity against these diseases. While some of these vaccinations last for more than a year, dogs need to be boosted against at least one of the most serious diseases every year.

Q:  ‘My puppy is confined to the house and garden, so they won’t have contact with disease’

A:  Not true. Even if your puppy never sees another dog or never leaves your home, vaccination is important because one of these diseases – leptospirosis – is contracted from water, such as by lapping puddles.

Q:  ‘My puppy will feel poorly after a vaccination’

A:  Not true. Vaccines are a modified form of the disease that they protect from. It is very rare for a puppy to become unwell.  Some may feel a little sleepy for a short period of time – but these symptoms will soon pass.

Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS

Brian graduated from Edinburgh Vet School in 1995 and worked in mixed practice before studying for an MBA at Nottingham Business School in 2000/2001. After setting up and developing numerous veterinary practices in Suffolk in the 2000s, Brian was awarded the Petplan-UK Vet of the Year in 2008 after having been runner-up in 2007. Brian is currently the Petplan Pet Insurance media and PR vet and works in his own small animal veterinary practice 3 days a week. During his 20 year career Brian has worked in over 250 veterinary practices as a clinician, consultant and confidence coach.

Puppy of the week


  1. Loki Loki on 23 October 2019 at 15:37

    My puppy had seizures following his first vacination at 8 weeks – whether this was due to an increased temperature or purely the injection we do not know. However, everything else has been ruled out by other tests. We have therefor been advised by our vet not to have the second injection. Is there anything else we could give him to protect his immunity?

    • on 28 October 2019 at 08:16

      Hi Sarah, Sorry to hear about your puppy sounds like you must have been very worried. I’ve spoken to Brian Faulkner one of the vets we work closely with. He has sent you the following response – All the best Charlotte.

      Sorry to hear about your puppy’s troubles. Unfortunately there is nothing that has any evidenced backing that will reliably protect your puppy against the specific diseases we vaccinate against other than the vaccinations themselves but I understand your reluctance to do this. However, like ourselves, general non-specific immunity is bolstered by good quality nutrition. You will see that food ranges are available with immune-support functionality within their puppy formulations. I hope he recovers well and soon.



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