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Great Dane Vaccination Schedule

Great Dane Vaccination Schedule

Bringing home a new Great Dane puppy? Lucky you! If this is your first Great Dane puppy, there are some important things you should know about the Great Dane vaccination schedule. 

Although Great Danes command attention with their sleek and elegant appearance, it is essential to also remember that their huge frame can also present a handful of health problems when not properly vaccinated.

It is best practice to visit your vet for medical examinations as soon as you bring the puppy home. Along with a general medical examination, one of the first actions to take at the vet is to make sure your new pup is up to date with all of their vaccines.

Great Dane Vaccination Schedule

Below is an outline of the generally accepted puppy vaccination schedule for the core vaccines. Always consult with your veterinarian as they may recommend the addition of some noncore vaccines to accommodate for regional factors.

Detailed descriptions for each vaccine can be found further below.

  • 6 – 8 weeks: Distemper and parainfluenza
  • 10 – 12 weeks: DHPP
  • 12 – 24 weeks: Rabies
  • 14 – 16 weeks: DHPP
  • 12 – 16 months: Rabies, DHPP
  • Every 1 – 2 years: DHPP
  • Every 1 – 3 years: Rabies (as required by law)

Note: DHPP refers to a combination of distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), parainfluenza, and parvovirus

Why Are Vaccines Important?

Just like with humans, vaccinations for dogs help stop the spread of deadly diseases. Vaccines prevent illnesses by introducing a small dose of the disease to the immune system and allowing for the creation of antibodies to fight it off without infecting the host.

They are an important factor in ensuring that your pet is healthy and happy and able to mingle with other dogs without the risk of getting infected or infecting others.

The diseases found in dogs can be very dangerous and potentially deadly. The good news is that many are preventable! It is crucial for pet owners to understand what vaccines are needed and when to get them done.

Generally, it is recommended for all newborn puppies and dogs with an unknown vaccination history to get vaccinated as soon as possible. This ensures relatively good protection from diseases and helps halt illnesses that are considered to be rare from becoming widespread.

Veterinarians typically follow the standard vaccination procedure of vaccinating puppies multiple times and then gradually moving into an annual shot schedule as the puppy matures into adult life.

Puppies and dogs who go unvaccinated are at much greater risk of contracting fatal diseases and continuing the spread of these harmful diseases. Do your pup and the rest of the canine world a favor by doing your part to protect against these illnesses!

What Vaccines Are Commonly Given?

The first thing to know is that there is not a one size fits all puppy vaccination schedule. There are important factors such as the area of the country you live in and your dog’s individual risk that also come into play.

As a rule of thumb, you should always consult with your vet before making any decisions regarding vaccines.

Typically, vaccines are bundled together in what is called core vaccines. These are highly recommended for every puppy regardless of location. Core vaccines can also be applied to any adult dog with an unknown vaccination history.

These shots include prevention for distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and rabies. Other than these core vaccines, there are also noncore vaccine options for puppies depending on their environment and their individual breed risk. 

Here is the list of the most common vaccines that Great Danes receive.


What is it?

  • A viral disease that is highly contagious and has no direct treatment
  • Spreads through airborne exposure (coughing or sneezing) or by shared food or water bowls and equipment
  • It attacks lymph nodes, respiratory system, urogenital, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.
  • Symptoms include:
    • Fever
    • Reddened eyes
    • Watery discharge from nose and eyes
    • Low energy, suddenly lethargic
    • No appetite
    • Coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur
  • In later stages of the disease, the nervous system will start to deteriorate and affect the brain and spinal cord, eventually resulting in seizures, fits, and possibly paralysis.
  • Also known as “hardpad” disease since the illness causes the footpad to thicken and harden over time.

When is it given?

The first dose is at 6-8 weeks old, then with each following dose of DHPP.


What is it?

  • Highly contagious and serious virus that’s referred to as “parvo” for short
  • Puppies 4 months in age or less are at the highest risk for contracting it
  • Digestive and immune system disease
  • Spread through contact with feces of infected dogs, even the soil or grass can harbor the disease for up to 5 month
  • Common symptoms include:
    • Severe diarrhea
    • Secondary infections
    • Dehydration
    • Lethargy
    • Vomiting
    • Endotoxemia
    • Shock

When is it given?

  • As part of core vaccines, usually in DHPP or DHLPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus)
  • The first dose is at 6-8 weeks old
  • Given at 2-4 week intervals until 16 weeks old

Adenovirus (Hepatitis)

What is it?

  • There are two types of the virus: CAV1 and CAV2
  • Type 1 causes canine hepatitis where dogs experience swelling and cell damage in the liver that can result in hemorrhage and death
    • It is spread through feces and urine of infected dogs
    • Symptoms of type 1 include:
      • Abdomen pain
      • Abdominal distension
      • Lack of appetite
      • Pale color
      • Lethargy
      • Fever
      • Tonsillitis
      • Swelling of corneas, resulting in a blue appearance
      • Death is common in severe cases
  • Type 2 is closely related to hepatitis and is one of the leading causes of kennel cough
    • Common symptoms include:
      • Severe hacking cough
      • Inflammation of airways
      • Foamy white discharge
      • Pink eye or eye irritation
      • Nasal discharge

When is it given?

  • The CAV-2 vaccine is provided as it also provides protection against CAV-1 and CAV-2
  • Given at 10-12 weeks, 14-16 weeks, and 12- 16 months
  • Follow-up provided every 1-2 years as part of DHPP


What is it?

  • A viral disease carried by many mammals that attacks central nervous system
  • One of the few diseases that humans can catch from their dogs
  • Transmitted through a bite from an infected animal
  • Once a dog is infected, they will express slight shut down of the nervous system and then progress into either a furious or paralytic stage of infection.
    • Furious rabies is most commonly depicted in media where the dog experiences extreme behavioral changes such as being aggressive and willing to attack.
    • Paralytic rabies shows a slow loss of coordination, weakness, paralysis and eventually, death.
  • Symptoms include:
    • Headaches
    • Seizures
    • Dropped jaw
    • Usual aggression
    • Change in bark tone
    • Anxiety
    • Hallucinations
    • Excessive drooling
    • Thick and frothy saliva
    • Fear of water
    • Paralysis

When is it given?

  • Part of core vaccines, in fact, most states require puppies to be vaccinated for rabies
  • The first dose is given at 12 weeks old
  • A second dose is given one year after the first shot with follow-ups as required by state or local law


What is it?

  • Highly contagious respiratory disease transmitted through coughing and sneezing
  • One of several viruses that can cause kennel cough
  • Common symptoms include:
    • Coughing (dry or wet)
    • Fever
    • Runny nose
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Sneezing
    • Pneumonia
    • Reduced appetite
    • Lethargy
    • Eye inflammation

When is it given?

  • First administered between 6-8 weeks
  • Afterwards it is typically delivered via the DHPP combo
  • This should be administered to puppies who are expected to board, be shown, or be in a kennel within 6 months.


What is it?

  • Primary cause of kennel cough
  • A highly contagious respiratory disease spread through bacteria in the air
  • High risk of infection if there is exposure to infected dogs, transfer of bacteria in food or water bowls, and cages
  • Symptoms include:
    • Severe fits of coughing and whooping
    • Vomiting
    • Retching and gagging
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nasal discharge
    • Depression
    • In rare cases, there have been seizures and death

When is it given?

  • 6-8 weeks old
  • For adult dogs older than 16 weeks, the vaccine should be given twice, two to four weeks apart.
  • These are noncore vaccines so should be given to dogs who are expected to board, be shown, or in a kennel


What is it?

  • Considered a noncore vaccine
  • Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria
  • Often contracted by swimming in or drinking dirty water
  • Can also be transmitted by coming in contact with the urine from another infected animal
  • Fewer cases are seen in winter as the bacteria does not tolerate freezing temperatures well
  • It can also be passed from animals to humans!
  • Not all dogs exhibit symptoms, but when they do it can include:
    • Lethargy
    • Poor appetite
    • Vomiting
    • Fever
    • Jaundice

When is it given?

  • When given, delivery usually coincides with the DHPP schedule

Lyme Disease

What is it?

  • Considered a noncore vaccine
  • Bacterial illness carried by ticks
  • Highest areas of occurrence in the United States are the Northeast, Upper Midwest, and Pacific coast
  • Symptoms include:
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite
    • Lower energy
    • General stiffness and pain
    • Swelling of the joints

When is it given?

  • When given, delivery usually coincides with the final DHPP shot at 14-16 weeks
  • It can can also be included in the DHPP shot, then known as DHLPP
  • A booster is then given 3-4 weeks later

Potential Risk of Vaccine Reactions

Although vaccines are highly recommended and are generally safe for dogs, it is important to note that they do not come without risk.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association “In general, all canine vaccines are quite safe and only a small percentage of vaccinated dogs, regardless of the type of vaccine, develop severe adverse reactions.”

You should be wary of the various reactions before heading to the vet so you can be prepared to act if your puppy begins to act strangely or exhibit any symptoms.

It is common for a dog to become tired and sleepy after a vaccination since it stimulates the immune system. Some dogs will also feel sore at the injection site.

Although rare, allergic reactions to vaccines do happen. If any of the following systems become present in your pup, take them to a vet or animal hospital immediately:

  • Facial swelling
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapsing
  • Seizures

If your puppy seems stable but is still experiencing any of the following, call your vet for further instruction:

  • Fever over 103 degrees
  • Loss of appetite more than a few days
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Continuous diarrhea
  • Severe swelling, redness, or pain at the injection site


In almost all cases, the risks associated with vaccines are very small compared to the risk of your dog developing a harmful disease and spreading it to other pups.

As new vaccines and methods of administration become available, the severe risks of vaccinations will continue to be reduced even more.

Because vaccination protocols continue to evolve over time and Great Danes have a list of hereditary and congenial health conditions, we recommend that a Great Dane vaccination schedule for each individual pet be decided by the owner and veterinarian at routine annual examinations.

Vaccines are just one step in the process of caring for your Great Dane. Before going, make sure to take a look at my full guide on how to take care of a Great Dane.

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