DHPP Vaccine for Dogs - What's In It

DHPP Vaccine for Dogs - What's In It

Author WDF Staff


The importance of vaccination for dogs is long proven. It has helped us nearly eradicate certain diseases that were killing puppies throughout history. Unfortunately, with the popularity of the anti-vaccination movement, some dog owners got infected with that idea. The good news is, puppies that are 6 weeks old get the first DHPP vaccine, and at that time, they are still with their breeders. Here is what you should know about the DHPP vaccine.

What is the DHPP vaccine?

DHPP vaccine is also called the 5-in-1 puppy vaccine. It is a single shot that gives protection against 5 common and fatal diseases. These diseases, the DHPP vaccine shield puppies from have a high mortality rate. Luckily, this vaccine was developed, and these terrible illnesses are taking fewer lives than they used to.

Each letter stands for a disease this vaccine is preventing. The letter D stands for canine distemper virus, H stands for hepatitis and kennel cough, and two letters P stand for parainfluenza and parvovirus. These diseases are all caused by viruses, and they have no known cure. The primary way of “curing” them is by preventing them from happening. Here is what you should know about them;

Canine distemper virus

Canine distemper virus comes from the same family of viruses that cause measles in humans. It is just as dangerous. It is highly contagious and can be transferred through direct or indirect contact and through the air. Dogs infected with distemper often don’t make it, and those that do often end up with severe brain damage.


This disease will affect the dog’s gastrointestinal, respiratory, urogenital, and nervous systems. The symptoms include high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, seizures, pneumonia, paralysis, and death.


The DHPP vaccine will guard your dog against two highly infectious adenoviruses. These viruses are canine hepatitis and kennel cough.


This is the more dangerous of the two. Just like hepatitis in humans, this disease will affect the dog’s liver. Even if it is not fatal, it can cause permanent and severe damage to the liver, kidneys, and eyes. This virus spreads through the urine and feces of an infected animal. The best way to battle it is with the DHPP vaccine.

Kennel cough

This might not be a virus as dangerous as hepatitis, but it can end up with severe consequences and permanent damage. Kennel cough can lead to secondary health issues, which will cause more problems for the dog. This virus is spread through direct contact and is usually associated with places that have many dogs in one place.

You can read more about this disease here - Kennel cough in dogs.

Canine parainfluenza

Canine parainfluenza is different from the canine influenza virus. They cause different diseases and require different shots. Canine parainfluenza is the virus responsible for kennel cough. This is a highly infectious virus that is quickly transmitted through the air and direct contact between dogs. It is connected to places with a high frequency of dogs.

Canine parvovirus

Canine parvovirus is one of the deadliest puppy diseases out there. Mind you, all unvaccinated dogs can get it, but unvaccinated puppies are highly susceptible to it. This virus will attack the puppy’s gastrointestinal tract and will include fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, protein, and fluid loss. Puppies that get infected will require hospitalization and very intensive care.

You can read more about parvovirus here - Parvo in dogs.

Why should you get your dog a DHPP vaccine?

There are many advantages this vaccine can offer our dogs. The first thing is - your dog only has to get vaccinated once each time. That is a lot less discomforting than getting five different shots. Plus, it is a lot cheaper. The second and most important thing is - the DHPP vaccine is safe. Puppies can have mild side effects. The shot area will remain sore for a couple of days.

How long does the DHPP vaccine last?

When puppies are at least six weeks, they will get their first DHPP vaccine. The other dosages will be administered every 2 - 4 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. Dogs that haven’t been vaccinated and are older than 16 weeks can receive only one or two dosages. The vet will let you know what will be necessary for your dog specifically.

After the first dosages at the beginning of the puppy’s life, the DHPP vaccine is administered once every 1 - 3 years. The protection can last differently for individual dogs, and different manufacturers have different “strength” vaccinations. Make sure your vet gives you all the information you need about the type of DHPP vaccination your dog is receiving. Make sure you stick to the vaccination schedule. If you want to know more about the full puppy vaccination schedule, check out this article - Puppy shot schedule.

World Dog Finder team

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