Here are the vaccines, medicines, and vitamins recommended for your dog throughout the year.

Below is a vaccine schedule and a list of important things to purchase at the annual vet visit so you know what medicines your dog needs throughout the year. Your dog will need shots, preventatives, and potentially supplements throughout the year so remember to stick to the schedule.

Please remember that all dogs are different and talking to a vet about your dog’s health is one of the most important things a dog owner can do. These vaccine’s are based on the most common vaccines ordered by vets and the most common vaccines required for dogs that may be attending things like doggie daycare or that are regularly boarded at pet hotels.


AgeDHPPLeptoRabiesBordetellaLymeInfluenza
8 weeks   
12 weeks  
16 weeks   
1 year
2 years  
4 years

What are these Vaccinations?

DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus): The Distemper combo is an essential core vaccine for dogs, and if you keep to the schedule, your dog will eventually only need it every three years. 

Lepto (Leptospirosis): Many choose to vaccinate their dogs for Leptospirosis, as it used to be in the Distemper combo. After the two initial shots, your dog will need a booster shot to be administered every year. 

Rabies: Rabies is legally required and there is often a record of this through county licenses. Once the first year is over, it will last for three years just like distemper.

Kennel Cough (Bordetella Bronchiseptica): This vaccination is very common, so this vaccine is highly recommended, especially if you board your dog or go to the dog park. Some groomers, daycares, or other dog facilities require this vaccine every six months. 

Lyme (Borrelia burgdorferi): This vaccine is usually only recommended in areas with many ticks, but Lyme disease has become an epidemic in our country and there is still quite a lot of research being done to see how effective this vaccine is. 

Influenza: While it is rare, dogs can get both types of the Flu (H3N8, H3N2). This vaccine is recommended in dogs that travel frequently or have more contact with other dogs. 

White husky getting a treat from owners hand.

Preventatives

Flea and Tick Prevention: Many different kinds of flea and tick prevention exist, but not all of them cover the same parasites. Collars, topical medications, and oral treats are some of the different choices, but unless it is a collar that lasts longer, in general most collars last one month. Pets should be protected all year, even if you live in an area with harsh winters. There is always a small chance they could get other parasites from an animal in the home. Some brands recommended by vets include Bravecto, Nexgard, and Seresto. 

Heartworm Prevention: Prevention for heartworm is important for all dogs and can be administered orally or injected. Shots or pills for prevention need to be given once a month, especially in an area with a high volume of mosquitos. Such medications also covers other parasites, so make sure your dog is protected all year. Some brands recommended by vets include Heartgard and Interceptor. 

What else does your dog need?

Dogs should not need any supplements throughout the year if they are healthy, not pregnant, or participate in high-energy sports. All the vitamins and minerals that a dog needs should be in their daily kibble, but if you do not feed kibble then a veterinarian should recommend vitamins that should be added. 

Gather these items if you want to be prepared throughout the year. DIY a dog kit at home with some of these key medicines your dog needs plus supplements, and vitamins so you can keep your dog healthy all year long:

Man standing with dog between legs while he holds a treat above the dogs head so the dog looks up.

Vitamins and Supplements

Benadryl: If your pet gets stung by a bee or happens to have an allergic reaction at home, dogs can have 1mg of Benadryl per body weight. For example, if a dog is 30 pounds you could try a 25mg tab, which is close to 30mg. It is always good to have on hand, but if you see any signs of labored breathing, go to your emergency vet clinic right away.  

Fish Oil: Fish oils are not all created equally, so do your research before you purchase a bottle. They can be extremely helpful for helping dry skin in a dry climate, and if you have a picky eater on your hands that likes to graze, try a squirt on top of the kibble!

Probiotics: Your dog’s daily kibble should have probiotics, but if they get diarrhea and your vet recommends the chicken and rice diet, sprinkle Flortiflora over their meal. It flavors the bland diet and also has probiotics to strengthen the gut while your pet recovers. 

Anything else?

Calming Treats: If you plan to fly or take a stressful trip with your pup, try some calming treats. These generally do not work for dogs diagnosed with anxiety, but it can calm a dog down to prevent any stress. There are many different options on the market, including some with CBD, but Composure has natural ingredients and is sold at most vet offices and the ones with CBD are not. 

Ear Wash: The best ear washes come straight from the vet’s office. If you see any dirt or wax blocking the ear canal, pour some wash in and massage the dog’s ear and then gently wipe the excess with a cotton ball. Never use cotton swabs! 

All dog owner know that the vet bill can pile up quickly with medicines that your dog needs, and if you are interested, you can look into pet insurance to help pay for your pooch’s needs. It’s always best to be prepared and to keep your dog up to date on vaccines and preventatives, to ensure their health and safety. We want all your dogs to live long and happy lives!

Find more dog health tips here and a recipe to make homemade dog pill pocket treats here.

Author

Caitlin is originally from Vermont and has been working with animals since she can remember. She studied Behavioral Neuroscience and is now Mastering in Animal Shelter Management in Colorado. Her hobbies include horseback riding, fostering animals, and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. She has volunteered at five different animal shelters and worked in three different vet hospitals. Her passions include animal health, behavior, and enrichment. Caitlin also spends time taking high-quality photos of shelter animals to help them get adopted faster.

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