The timing, frequency and components of vaccines that dogs should receive are all hotly contested. However, most vets, including Dogster's own Dr. Eric Barchas , agree that dogs don't need vaccines at 0-7 weeks, 21-24 weeks or at six months.

The general consensus at this time is that dogs should receive DHPPs (that's distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) every 3-4 weeks, beginning at 6-8 weeks of age and ending at around 14-16 weeks of age. That basically boils down to shots at 8, 12, and 16 weeks. DHPP should be re-administered at 1 year and then every three years thereafter.

Bordetella vaccines are optional and should be based upon lifestyle. Some vets think Bordetella should be administered every 6 months, others vote for every 12 months.

Leptospirosis vaccines cause lots of controversy. Lepto can spread to people and it is becoming more prevalent, so many vets are now recommending giving it with initial puppy vaccines and boostering every year. This is a marked change from a few months back, when many vets thought lepto shots weren't worth the perceived risk of increased adverse reactions caused by lepto vaccines.

Some states require rabies vaccines annually while others require this to be done every three years, so be sure to check with your vet.

Here's a basic vaccination schedule most vets can agree on:

Download this guide as a printable pdf file.