Your puppy can be vaccinated from 6-8 weeks old and they will need a primary vaccination course to get their protection started.  This primary course consists of two injections given two to four weeks apart with the second injection given at a minimum age of 10 weeks.  

Until your puppy has had their vaccinations it’s really important to make sure that they don’t mix with dogs who may not have been vaccinated.  They also shouldn’t go to places where unvaccinated dogs might have been, like the park.

After the primary vaccination course, your puppy will then need to be vaccinated every year to keep up their protection against the diseases.  We often call this a booster vaccination as it boosts your dog’s immunity.  

How often does my dog need his vaccinations?

As long as your dog has had its initial course (2 vaccinations 2-4 weeks apart) then a repeat injection will be needed annually in most cases. If you have specific worries please call the surgery. There are a number of vaccines not routinely used in Ireland which may be important when travelling overseas.

What am I having my dog vaccinated for?

The vaccinations your dog receives will vary but in the most part cover a combination of serious and common diseases:

  • Parvovirus
  • Parainfluenza
  • Distemper
  • Adenovirus [Hepatitis]
  • Leptospirosis** We now offer the latest Lepto4 vaccines
  • Canine cough [Kennel Cough]
  • Rabies* required for pet-passport


But I’ve never seen these diseases, why bother?

This is a common question and motivates some people not to bother vaccinating.

These diseases are thankfully fairly uncommon these days but this is mainly due to the widespread vaccination regime in operation. In areas of unvaccinated animals these diseases are very common and often fatal. Anecdotally, there is nothing worse than going through the trauma and often expense, of treating then losing your pet to a disease that you could have simply and effectively avoided through vaccinations. We would always advocate that prevention is better than cure.


I’ve read somewhere that annual vaccinations are not required and are just a way for my vet to make money.

There is currently widespread ‘disinformation’ out there from people making these suggestions. It is ultimately for you to decide what to do but here are a few points you’re unlikely to hear from these camps. Before you decide not to go for vaccinations we would urge you to have a good chat with us and allow us an opportunity to put your mind at rest.

  • Your dog is not vaccinated for the same things every year. Depending on the data from the vaccine manufacturer, most animals will receive a ‘full’ booster every 2nd or 3rd year but in the interim years will receive a ‘partial’ booster containing only the vaccines that require annual top ups.
  • Viruses change (think flu) over time and by regularly vaccinating your pet they will be covered for the new emerging strains that may not have been around a few years ago
  • Vaccines are rigorously tested and checked to minimize the risk of them doing ‘harm’ to your pet and so are some of the safest medicines routinely used.
  • Before vaccination, all of the diseases above were commonly found and it is vaccination that has made them ‘disappear’.
  • In areas with low vaccination rates many of these diseases are very common still and demonstrate that these diseases are still out there and not eradicated. It is heartbreaking to see an animal die of a readily preventable disease.

Will my dog be ill after vaccinating?

Firstly, the vast majority of animals will be fine! Whilst modern day vaccines are incredibly safe and reliable, like any vaccine, they can occasionally make your pet feel quite poorly for 24hours or so (bit like the human flu vaccine).

Some dogs will get small ‘nodules’ where they have been vaccinated and it is sometimes sore. These should resolve over a few days.

Very occasionally animals can suffer a hypersensitivity reaction (bit like a human anaphylactic reaction) and these can be serious and need to be treated by the vet urgently.

Again, the best thing is to talk to us, there are many different forms of vaccine and we will be able to advise you best as to the specific formula they are using and any side effects they may see.

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