What is the 5-in-1 Vaccine for Dogs?

When it comes to canine care, there are so many things to stay on top of: feeding, watering, exercising, socializing, and regular health checkups are all essential components of keeping a dog healthy and happy. Part of a dog's wellness routine also includes vaccinations, which are given at regular intervals over time. Once such vaccine is called the 5-in-1 vaccine, which combats a number of potential infectious diseases. So, what exactly is the 5-in-1 vaccine for dogs? And, does my dog need it?

Veterinarian giving injection of a dog - veterinary concept
credit: andriano_cz/iStock/GettyImages

What is the 5-in-1 vaccine?

The 5-in-1 vaccine is a core vaccination that treats a number of possible illnesses. The 5-in-1 vaccine is also known as DA2PP or the DHPP vaccine, according the SPCA. This combination vaccination protects dogs against Distemper virus, which is very contagious and often fatal when contracted, as well as Adenovirus 1 and 2, which can lead to hepatitis and kennel cough, respectively. Additionally, the 5-in-1 vaccine covers Parainfluenza, which can also lead to kennel cough, and Parvovirus, which is incredibly dangerous to dogs, even fatal, and can be easy to contract.

Why vaccinate?

The short answer? Vaccines save lives. According to the ASPCA, vaccines work by introducing antigens resembling specific diseases into your dog's immune system. Now that your dog's system has been exposed to this foreign substance it knows what to look out for, so if and when the real thing comes into contact with your dog, her immune system can recognize it for what it is and fight it off before it leads to illness or other issues.

Portrait of a dog looking up expecting something with red collar
credit: WireStock/iStock/GettyImages

Vaccines are classified into two types: core and non-core vaccinations. Core vaccines are given to fight off diseases that dogs are commonly exposed to, and include Parvo, Distemper, Adenovirus-2 (or, Canine Hepatitis,) and Rabies, according to The American Veterinary Medical Association. Non-core vaccinations aren't always given to all dogs and are recommended depending on specific factors that might expose your dog to certain infectious diseases, like what part of the world she lives in or how social she is. Non-core vaccinations include Bordetella, Lepto, Lyme disease, kennel cough, and dog flu. Often, non-core vaccines are required for dogs who come into contact with other dogs, like before boarding, attending a puppy class, or leaving and entering the country.

Vaccination tips

To make sure your puppy or dog is healthy and happy, it's not only important to vaccinate, but to vaccinate properly. Vaccinations for puppies are given on a schedule which is spaced apart over their first five or six months of age. VCA Hospitals states that puppies are recommended to begin their first round of core vaccinations between six and eight weeks of age, with additional rounds following at 12 weeks, and 16 weeks. An additional booster shot is sometimes given around 20 weeks old, and elected non-core vaccines are given amid this schedule. In order to keep your puppy in his best health, all shots should be given on time over the course of the vaccination schedule.

Sleeping poppy dogs
credit: MANORANJAN MISHRA/iStock/GettyImages

In addition to vaccinations, there are some measures you can take to keep your dog from contracting infectious diseases. If you have a puppy who is in the months-long vaccination process, you'll want to be careful who he is socializing with, and where. The RSPCA states that puppies who have received their first set of vaccines are safe to meet and play with other puppies and dogs as long as those canines have been fully vaccinated. Because some diseases, like parvovirus, can live in the ground for up to a full year, it's best to play it safe and hold off on public spaces like dog parks and boarding kennels until after your puppy has undergone his full round of vaccinations. As your dog ages, some vaccinations will need readministering at various intervals, so be sure to keep annual appointments with your veterinarian to keep your canine friend updated on his shots.