Shots Every Puppy Needs in Wilmington, DE

When you’re thinking of bringing home a new puppy, you want to do what’s best for him. This involves setting up a puppy-proof home, buying the right food, and making sure he gets all his shots, too.

Dog who needs puppy shots in Wilmington, DE

But puppy shots can be confusing, and some vets seem to require more of them than others. Which ones does your puppy really need in Wilmington? Are they all important, or are some more important than others? How do you know when it’s time to get your puppy’s next round of booster shots?

Important Puppy Shots in Wilmington, DE

In this article, we’ll help answer many of the questions new puppy owners have about proper vet care. We’ll guide you through the important shots your puppy needs throughout their first year of life, and we’ll help you recognize which of these shots are required everywhere and which are strongly suggested.

With this information, you’ll be able to plan your puppy’s upcoming vet care with no trouble.

6 to 8 Weeks

Below are common puppy shots that pets in Wilmington need during their first six to eight weeks of life.


Distemper is a contagious virus and causes severe respiratory, neurologic, and digestive symptoms in dogs. It can cause fever, seizures, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, and paralysis. It can even lead to death, especially in puppies.


Puppies are especially prone to parvovirus and it can be fatal to puppies under four months of age. This virus is throughout our environment and can survive outdoors for at least a year. Because of this, the parvovirus vaccination is given as early as possible, and sometimes even before puppies can go to their new family’s home in Wilmington.

Parvovirus causes severe bloody diarrhea and vomiting as well as frequent severe dehydration. This vaccination is given in combination with the distemper vaccination every 3 to 4 weeks during puppyhood.

10 to 12 Weeks and 16 to 18 Weeks

Once your pet reaches ten to twelve weeks of age, the recommendation is to repeat the parvovirus and distemper vaccination. It is recommended that the final parvovirus and distemper vaccination be given between 16 and 18 weeks of age. During this time of vaccination, it is imperative to protect your puppy from exposure to these viruses in Wilmington. 

It is best to keep your puppy in your yard and only allow him to play with other dogs that are healthy and vaccinated.

20 to 22 Weeks

When your puppy is 20 to 22 weeks old, the core vaccination series ends with your puppy’s first rabies shot.


It is required by law in the United States for puppies to have a rabies shot at around this time. Your vet in Wilmington will let you know for sure if it’s time for your puppy’s first rabies shot.

Rabies causes neurologic disease characterized by severe drooling, pain, anxiety, and fear of water. Eventually, dogs who have rabies will die. Rabies is also extremely dangerous to humans as well as other animals.

Non-Care Vaccines to be Discussed with Your Vet

Below are puppy shots that are considered non-core, but should still be discussed with your veterinarian in Wilmington to see if your pet will need to receive them and when.


This is a bacterium that is transmitted through the ingestion of stagnant water and dirt. It causes stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and muscle pain and stiffness. In severe cases, it can cause liver and kidney failure. 

This vaccination requires an initial vaccination and a booster 3 to 4 weeks later. Leptospirosis requires a booster once yearly after the initial booster. Your veterinarian can discuss your dog’s risk for leptospirosis to help you to decide whether he needs this vaccination.


Bordetella is a bacterial infection that causes kennel cough. It most frequently causes coughing, but may also cause vomiting or progress to pneumonia. In severe instances, it may be fatal.

The Bordetella vaccination is a non-core vaccine and your dog’s individual risk will be assessed to determine if he needs this vaccine. Many dog boarding facilities in Wilmington require this shot for puppies who stay with them. 


Canine influenza is a viral illness that causes coughing, nasal discharge, lethargy, and possibly pneumonia. Dogs traveling to shows or utilizing big boarding kennels may be at risk for influenza infection. 

This vaccine requires an initial vaccination and a booster 3 to 4 weeks later. Influenza requires a booster once yearly after the initial booster. Your veterinarian can discuss your dog’s risk for influenza so that you can decide whether he needs this vaccination.

1 Year

Below are a list of puppy shots your pet will usually need once they are one year old. Your vet in Wilmington will help determine which of these shots your puppy will need at this time.

Parvovirus and Distemper Titer or Booster

At your dog’s first annual examination, your vet in Wilmington will discuss performing a blood test called an antibody titer. This test will evaluate your dog’s level of immunity to parvo and distemper viruses from vaccines given during the puppy series. 

Many times, your dog will have adequate immunity from previous vaccination. Another option is to booster parvovirus and distemper vaccination. 


At the first annual examination, your puppy will be required by law to have a booster of his rabies shot. This is the only canine vaccination that is legally required. 

This vaccination will provide protection for 3 years and then will require booster again. 

Find Out the Shots Your Puppy Will Need in Wilmington, DE

Now that you’ve had a chance to read up on some of the more common puppy shots, you should be ready to schedule his vet visits for the foreseeable future. 

Remember, too, that you should always work with your vet in Wilmington to make sure you’re providing the right care at the right time for your dog. Your vet will let you know if there’s any reason to deviate from the norm in terms of your puppy’s shot schedule, and your vet will also tell you if your puppy has any health concerns to be on the lookout for.

Setting up a good rapport with your vet from day one is a great way to make sure your puppy stays healthy and happy throughout his life with you.

At Wilmington Animal Hospital, our veterinarians work to avoid over-vaccination by developing a vaccination plan that fits your pet’s lifestyle. We provide all the shots your puppy needs to remain in the best health possible and only give them the shots they absolutely need.

Introducing New Dogs Into Your Household

Check out our latest blog about Inter-dog Aggression and Ways to Introduce New Dogs into your Household.
Erika Zerebecki, LVT wrote this blog about her experiences with behavior challenges in her dogs. We are sure many multi-dog households can relate.
I have always lived in a multi-dog household. I held dog parties and had foster dogs in and out of my house, regularly. I never had any reservations about inter-dog aggression or thought for a second that the dogs I invited in to my home wouldn’t get along. Until I adopted Watson…
Watson came into my home at a time when I had 4 other dogs. I initially took him in as a foster and tried to introduce him into the house correctly. I started off with some rules and loose boundaries that I slowly let dissolve after I grew more comfortable with him in the house. After about 6 months he started displaying some signs of aggression towards other dogs in the house, and his displays escalated rapidly over a month. He started with food aggression, then aggression over toys or possessions, then territorial aggression as well as redirected aggression during times of excitement. He pretty much covered all of his bases.
When a dog in your home suddenly starts showing signs of aggressive behaviors, pet owners need to act quickly. Rapid progression of aggressive behaviors will force pet owners to make some difficult decisions. The three most common outcomes are: (1) The pet owner decides to live with the dog and manage the behaviors as long as he/she can provide a safe environment for all people and animals involved. (2) The pet owner decides to rehome the dog because he/she cannot provide a safe environment for all involved. (3) The pet owner may be forced to euthanize the dog because he/she cannot keep the dog safely in the home (or alternative placement cannot be found in a timely manner).
I was a happily ignorant dog owner and I can only now look back at all of the signs I missed and ways I may have set Watson up for failure. Dogs don’t naturally welcome strange dogs into their pack, so revolving animals in the house can be extremely stressful for them. Below is a compiled list of guidelines created with recommendations from behaviorists and trainers. These guidelines can be used preventatively when introducing a new dog into a home as well as a tool to work with dogs already showing signs of aggression.
If aggressive behaviors have already been observed:
1: The first step is to seek out professional help, the sooner the better. Rule out any health issues that may be contributing to the aggression. I sought out professional help immediately when I recognized how severe Watson’s reactions were. I took him to a board certified behaviorist first. In addition, a trainer came to the house and I consulted with another non-board certified behaviorist in an in-home consult.
2: Behavioral modification drugs may be recommended by the professionals and can be extremely helpful in managing (not fixing!) aggressive behaviors. Medication is only effective if used in combination with training and routine.
Tips for PREVENTING or working with AGGRESSION in the home:
1. Keep initial introductions short, positive, and conduct them in neutral territories. Dog should never first meet one another with face-to-face interactions.
2: Create rules and boundaries. Example: All dogs have to sit before coming into the house.
3: Learn to read body language and be vigilant with each interaction. Look for signs that either dog is uncomfortable or agitated. It took a long time to learn Watson’s body language. If I notice any warning signs, I separate the two dogs.
4: Create positive social interactions between dogs. Dogs can be trained together and walked together.
5: Toys are only allowed when the dogs are sharing. High value toys, such as bones, are only allowed in each dog’s designated area. Do not allow any opportunity to be possessive.
6: All dogs are fed separately, most in crates. All of the food bowls are pulled up after everybody is done eating to avoid confrontation over such a coveted resource.
I ended up making the decision to keep Watson and continue working with him. I rearranged my entire routine and environment to accommodate him. This was not a simple or inexpensive task. It is important to be realistic. Living with dogs that don’t get along is extremely difficult and unattainable for most people.
I was once at a crossroads where I was faced with the decision to euthanize or re-home Watson. These are the choices that most pet owners face in situations like Watson’s. Like any owner that is bonded with their dog, either decision is heartbreaking. I was lucky in that I was able to invest the time, money, and work needed to give Watson a good quality of life in my home, although separate from my other dogs.
Several years after being separated from the other dogs in my house, I made the careful decision to bring a puppy home to introduce to Watson. I followed all of the above guidelines and so far Watson’s relationship with the puppy has blossomed. My expectations have been exceeded with each interaction they have. He has lived separate from other dogs for several years and it melts my heart to see him have this second chance at bonding with another dog. Although he is still kept separate from the dogs he does not get along with, he now has the opportunity to have the company of another canine friend (something I never thought would be possible).
Erika Zerebecki, LVT

The Fall Itchies

Is your pup or kitty itching more than ever this Fall?  It seems that every year, we see increased numbers of itching dogs and cats and an increased number of ear infections starting at the end of August and extending through November.

There are two main causes for the head-shaking and scratching that seem to develop every year at this time…seasonal allergies and fleas!


Seasonal allergies cause the Fall ear infection your pet has developed.  In our area, there is a definite uptick in cases of foot-licking and chewing, dermatitis, and ear infections right now.  If you find the licking, chewing, and head-shaking to be unbearable, be sure to schedule an appointment for your pet to be examined.  Now, more than ever, there are great non-steroid options to treat itching in dogs.  Although there are fewer new drug options for cats, we are still able to help support our feline friends through allergy season.

The other big cause of itching and dermatitis right now is fleas.  The Fall season is also Flea season.  Many pets (including indoor kitties) can be exposed to fleas and can often be allergic to them.  As the weather cools, many pet owners stop using flea preventatives, but this is actually the time of year that flea protection is increasingly important.  Should your dog or cat have fleas, it is best to treat him or her with flea preventative for 4 months in a row in order to break the flea life cycle.  It is also very important to treat every dog or cat in the household.  If you are caring for outdoor cats, it is also helpful to treat them with flea preventative in order to help your indoor pets to get rid of the fleas more quickly.

Please reach out to us if you need help making your pets more comfortable this Fall season.