Vaccine for dogs is important preventive protection for your four-legged friend, and gives you as the owner greater security. In Norway, we are lucky and have a low infection rate of fatal diseases among our dogs. This is partly due to our climate and the country's remote geographical location, but mainly this is thanks to the high vaccination rate among Norwegian dogs. 

Table of contents

Written by our vet

Why is it important to vaccinate dogs?

Dogs are social animals, and are exposed to infection in contact with others - just like us humans. That is why it is particularly important to have the right vaccines for dogs who live close together, or who for other reasons are particularly susceptible to infection. In addition to the fact that the vaccinated dog is protected against disease, the general infection pressure is also lowered when the majority of dogs in society are vaccinated. This makes it easier for dogs that cannot be vaccinated (e.g. very young puppies and dogs with weakened immune systems, etc.) to stay healthy.

What vaccines does the dog need?

There are some vaccines for dogs which are recommended for everyone regardless of where they are, and these are called core vaccines. The core vaccines protect against, among other things, the three diseases distemper, canine distemper (parvovirus) and contagious liver inflammation, of which we see sporadic cases in Norway and which can be fatal.

In addition to the core vaccines, the dog can also receive additional vaccines. The need for additional vaccines will vary based on local conditions, and in Norway a vaccine against kennel cough is recommended in addition to the core vaccines. If you are going to take your dog on a trip abroad, it needs protection against several diseases, such as rabies.

Puppy distemper

Distemper is a serious disease that can affect not only puppies, but also adult dogs. The disease causes an infection that spreads in the blood and is highly contagious, but vaccination fortunately provides good protection. Symptoms of distemper are high fever, rash around the eyes and nose, diarrhoea, vomiting and lethargy.

Canine distemper

Canine distemper, or Parvovirus infection, comes from the parvovirus that attacks the dog's intestinal system. For unvaccinated dogs, the disease can be fatal, and the infection is often characterized by the dog getting bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

Infectious hepatitis

Adenovirus is a virus that causes hepatitis, also called infectious hepatitis. The virus can also lead to a respiratory infection, and can cause life-threatening illness, especially in puppies. Common symptoms are fever, bleeding and pain in the stomach (abdomen).

Kennel cough

Kennel cough vaccine recommended for all dogs in Norway. Kennel cough can be caused by several different types of viruses and bacteria, just like common colds in humans. The vaccine against kennel cough protects against the most common infectious agents, including parainfluenza viruses that cause "usual" cold symptoms with cough and lethargy. In addition, it protects against the bacterium Bordetella bronciseptica, which can worsen the infection and cause serious, and sometimes life-threatening, pneumonia.

If the dog is infected by a different type of virus than the one in the vaccine, it can still get cold symptoms and thus "kennel cough" despite vaccination. However, these other viruses often cause milder symptoms and less serious illness.

Rabies and leptospirosis

Dogs that are going to travel or stay abroad need additional vaccinations. For example, it is required by law to rabies vaccine for dogs before traveling abroad. Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted between animals, but also from animals to humans. The rabies vaccine must be given at least 21 days before departure and can be documented in the passport.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can infect both animals and humans, and is most widespread from Denmark and further south. The disease is mainly transmitted through contact with water containing urine from infected animals. In infected dogs, symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and generally impaired general condition are common, and without treatment the disease can be life-threatening.

Lyme disease

Very few tick bites result in disease, but both dogs and cats do tick bite can become infected with a tick-borne disease, such as Lyme disease. The sooner a tick that has bitten into the animal is removed, the lower the risk of infection being transmitted from the tick.

In Larvik, we receive 3-4 dogs every year with Lyme disease. Some show symptoms such as lameness and others develop kidney failure.

Our veterinarians recommend the use of preventive measures tick agent og Borrelia vaccine to minimize the risk of serious illness.

The vaccine is particularly recommended for working dogs and hunting dogs that spend a lot of time in forests and fields and for family dogs in tick-rich areas. Especially those of you who live or have a cabin in Vestfold and Agder and in southern parts of Sweden should consider vaccination.

The vaccine is approved from 12 weeks of age. Two vaccines must be given three weeks apart. The dog is then given an annual vaccine as long as protection is desired. It is recommended to start the vaccination in late winter/early spring to get the best possible effect before the tick season starts in full.

A dog of the Border Collie breed lies on an examination table at the vet. Vaccination of dogs.
Bonnie lies on the examination table awaiting a health examination and vaccination - Photo by Hans Jacob Beck

When should the puppy be vaccinated?

The vaccine recommendations for dogs have changed a lot over the past decades, and have actually been able to vary from vet to vet. Therefore, a basic vaccination regimen has now been developed which has been put together by the veterinary world's leading immunologists. This ensures comprehensive recommendations and the best possible treatment for the dog, as well as continuous reassessment as new research is presented.

Based on these expert assessments, the course for basic vaccination is set up as follows:

  1. Vaccine: 8 weeks, DHP
  2. Vaccine: 12 weeks, DHP + BbPi/DHPPi
  3. Vaccine: 16 weeks, DHP
  4. Vaccine (1st first booster): 12 months, DHP + BbPi/DHPPi

The background for this program is to be able to provide complete protection to the puppy with vaccines. The maternal antibodies that the puppy receives from its mother in the first days after birth are important for protection against disease. Whether the puppy gets this from its mother is difficult to know and can vary, even in the same litter. At the same time, the vaccination will not have an effect if the puppy nurses for a long time, because it gets these substances naturally. To make sure that the vaccine has the right effect and provides good protection, it is therefore necessary to vaccinate the puppy at both 8 and 16 weeks. 

How often does the dog need a vaccine after basic vaccination? 

Furthermore, the dog must be vaccinated annually, and this is particularly important for older dogs. To give annual vaccination for the dog is a practice that helps to maintain the dog's immunity against certain diseases and protect it against potentially serious health problems.

Side effects of vaccination for dogs

Most dogs usually experience little to no side effects in connection with vaccination. However, it sometimes happens that the dog can become a little extra tired and lethargic for 1-2 days after receiving the vaccine.

Although side effects after dog vaccination are rare, nausea, fever or allergic reactions can sometimes occur. Contact a vet if the dog becomes very lethargic, vomits or has severe diarrhea within the first half hour after receiving the vaccine, then it may have had an allergic reaction that requires treatment.

Vaccine for dogs price

Contact us if you have any questions in connection with the vaccination of your dog or cat. You will find an overview of our vaccine prices here

A lady playing with a dog and giving the dog a high five with her paw.