The vaccination plan that every puppy owner should know

Which vaccinations are compulsory for puppies? A vaccination plan for rabies, canine distemper, etc. and all the answers to your questions about your dog’s immunisation.

Vaccinating your puppy is one of the tasks that await you as a new dog owner. But when is the right time for a rabies vaccination? When should you bring your dog to the vet for the first time? And what about a vaccination against canine distemper, for example? You’ll find all the answers about immunisation against diseases in the following text:

Vaccinating puppies – but against what and when?

Vaccinating your puppy reduces the risk of contracting pathogens. It doesn’t offer 100% protection as most viruses are constantly evolving. However, you can protect your little dog from serious consequences. What is the vaccination plan for puppies?

Vaccinations for puppies in the 8th week

The vet vaccinates your puppy for the first time in the eighth week. Often the breeder takes care of this procedure. If you pick up your puppy later, you should get a certificate of vaccination. These will be listed in your puppy’s EU pet passport or vaccination card. Your puppy should be protected against the following diseases at this time:


Until well into the 20th century, distemper was one of the most common causes of death in dogs. This viral disease affects your dog’s internal organs as well as its nervous system. In addition to severe damage to the spinal cord and brain, the dog’s eyes are also affected, as well as their dentition if they catch the disease before the first tooth change. Since the mandatory vaccination against distemper, these cases are now absolute exceptions.


Also known as the dog plague, this insidious virus particularly affects puppies. It’s often transmitted by excretions by the roadside. Your dog will suffer from bloody diarrhoea. In the worst cases, the loss of fluids can lead to the death of the dog. This disease was only discovered around 40 years ago and can still only be stopped by vaccination or very quick treatment by a vet. 


In the worst case, this disease can lead to serious liver and kidney damage. It’s transmitted by bacteria. Dogs usually catch it from, for example, drinking stagnant water or become infected through contact with the excrement of rodents such as rats and hedgehogs. The bacterium enters the blood via the mucous membrane. Sometimes leptospirosis does not break out directly, but your dog will then be a carrier of the disease and can infect other dogs and even people.


Hepatitis is still often fatal to dogs. They become infected via diseased animals, and the virus then infects the dog’s liver. This can lead to very sudden, severe disease progression, but long-term chronic progression is also not uncommon. Then the liver function steadily decreases. People are also not safe from this viral disease. You can recognise it in your dog by reddened mucus membranes, cloudy eyes, increased bleeding and symptoms of pain in the upper abdomen.

Vaccinations for puppies in the 12th and 15th weeks

Firstly, the vet will update your dog’s above vaccinations in the twelfth and fifteenth weeks. But there’s usually an additional vaccination for your dog:


This virus feels at home in both animal and human bodies. It is particularly feared because it attacks the nerve centre, spinal cord and brain. In Germany, the disease has been considered defeated since 2008. However, dogs still die abroad as a result of severe meningitis. Especially affected are countries in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.

In Germany, a bite from a wild animal can still lead to infection. If you’re wondering if a rabies vaccination is necessary for your dog (it’s not compulsory), these considerations will help:

  1. Do you want to travel with your dog? If so, where?
  2. Does your dog regularly stay in a kennel? A rabies vaccination is obligatory here.
  3. Do you want to go to a dog school or a dog training area? A rabies vaccination is also obligatory.
  4. Could your puppy have come from abroad?
  5. Do you want to participate together in bigger dog events like prize tournaments? Most organisers require a rabies vaccination for dogs.
  6. The vaccinations in the 8th week are obligatory for dog owners in Germany.

Some experts recommend them only in the 9th week. You may also consider voluntarily having your puppy vaccinated against the following diseases, which are very controversial:

  • Kennel Cough
  • Lyme disease
  • Canine Herpes virus

The decision for or against elective vaccines should not only depend on your personal convictions, but also on the age, state of health and future living conditions of your dog. There is no doubt that vaccinating puppies takes a physical toll.

Side effects of vaccinations for puppies

In some cases, the elective vaccinations for dogs can lead to complaints or health issues. For example, vaccination against the herpes virus in female dogs is a constant point of discussion among dog owners, as some associate it with a high puppy mortality rate. However, it’s also undeniable that compulsory vaccinations have greatly reduced the spread of distemper, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and hepatitis. These viruses and bacteria now cause hardly any dogs to die.

Reactions to vaccinations

When you buy a puppy, you take on a responsibility – for its life but also for other animals and people. Many vaccinated animals contribute to the fact that fewer dogs die. However, vaccinations for puppies are also associated with side effects. Just like in people, they feel the entry point of the needle for a while afterwards. You’ll see a small bump, but it will disappear after eight weeks at the most. In addition, you should be prepared for your dog to be more tired than usual for two to three days. Make sure it gets enough rest and don’t overexert the dog with long walks.

Serious complaints such as fever, loss of appetite, swelling of the head, but also vomiting, shortness of breath and weakness occur less frequently, but are not inconceivable. Therefore, good veterinary care is important. A doctor you trust can give you personalised advice about your animal. The prerequisite for vaccinating your puppy is of course that he is completely healthy. If an intolerance to a vaccine nevertheless occurs, a vet can help.

Updating vaccinations for puppies

Your puppy has got through the compulsory vaccinations at weeks eight, twelve and sixteen - but what comes next? Vaccinations for dogs obviously have to be updated regularly. But first your dog can have a rest, because the first update is only necessary in the 15th month.

After that, veterinary medicine only recommends a complete basic immunisation every three years. This applies to hepatitis and parvovirus, as well as distemper. Leptospirosis is the exception. Experts recommend updating the vaccination after a year at the latest, even better every 6 to 9 months. You should update the rabies vaccination before every trip abroad, as your dog’s existing immunity is not pivotal for your entry, but the legislation of the respective country. So, you should find out about the respective legislation beforehand and whether your dog has to be vaccinated for the holiday or not.

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Recklessness versus dog liability insurance

Your puppy infected another dog with rabies? You had carelessly planned the vaccination date for later? In addition to the costs for the veterinary treatment, you’ll probably have other financial demands on you as the owner. You’ll be protected if you’ve taken out dog liability insurance in advance.

Customised insurance packages like those offered by Luko guarantee you and your dog protection in case of an emergency. After all, you never know what your dog is going to get up to next or whether he has secretly encountered the only rabid fox in the whole district. Take a look at the security that dog liability insurance gives you.

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