The DHPP vaccine protects your dog against five potentially fatal diseases, all with one shot. Here's what you need to know about this life-saving vaccine.
happy dog receiving a vaccine
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Getting vaccinated as kids wasn't exactly the most pleasant experience for many of us. But those vaccinations protected us from serious, preventable diseases that could have made us quite sick.

Vaccinations are as crucial for our dogs as they are for us. Ideally, vaccinations start in puppyhood to continue providing disease protection after protective antibodies from mom's breastmilk fade from a puppy's system.

The DHPP vaccine for dogs in particular protects dogs from multiple diseases at a time with just one shot.

What is the DHPP Vaccine for Dogs?

The DHPP vaccine, also known as the 5-in-1 vaccine, protects dogs against five highly contagious viral diseases that cause severe illness and may be fatal: distemper, canine adenovirus-1 (CAV-1), canine adenovirus-2 (CAV-2), parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Other abbreviations for the vaccine are DA2PP and DAPP.

The vaccine contains weakened versions of the viruses and stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies without causing actual illness.

Here is a brief rundown of the five viruses in the DHPP vaccine:

  • Distemper: The distemper virus is spread via respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces, such as food bowls. It affects multiple body systems, including the respiratory and digestive systems. Dogs with distemper have symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Distemper, if left untreated, is rapidly fatal, especially in puppies and older dogs with weak immune systems.
  • CAV-1: CAV-1 causes infectious canine hepatitis, which is progressive and rapidly fatal. It is spread through the urine and feces and primarily targets the liver, potentially causing permanent organ damage.
  • CAV-2: CAV-2 is less severe than the other viruses in the DHPP vaccine. It is associated with kennel cough, causing such symptoms as a hacking cough, fever, and nasal discharge. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets.
  • Parainfluenza: Parainfluenza is spread through respiratory droplets and causes flu-like symptoms (coughing, fever, nasal discharge). However, it is not related to the canine influenza virus.
  • Parvovirus: The parvovirus attacks the delicate lining of the digestive system, causing vomiting, foul-smelling and bloody diarrhea, and life-threatening dehydration from fluid loss. Puppies are especially susceptible to parvo, which is fatal if left untreated. The virus is hardy and stubbornly resistant to disinfectants.

Do All Dogs Need the DHPP Vaccine?

Yes! The DHPP vaccine is a core vaccine, meaning that it is recommended for all dogs, regardless of age, health condition, or lifestyle. It is especially critical for puppies and dogs with weakened immune systems.

How Effective Is the DHPP Vaccine for Dogs?

Studies have demonstrated that the DHPP vaccine remains protective for approximately 3 to 4 years, with a 90 percent level of protection.

What Are the Side Effects of the DHPP Vaccine for Dogs?

All vaccines can cause side effects, which are frequently mild and go away within 1 to 2 days of the vaccination. These mild side effects include:

Serious side effects are rare and indicate an allergic reaction requiring immediate medical attention. If your dog experiences any of the side effects listed below, contact your veterinarian immediately.

DHPP Vaccine Schedule for Dogs and Puppies

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) publishes vaccination guidelines for dogs and cats. Here is the AAHA-recommended DHPP vaccination schedule for initial doses:


  • First vaccination at 6 weeks of age
  • Sequential doses every 2 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age

Dogs (older than 16 weeks of age):

  • 1 or 2 doses

A booster is given 1 year after the initial vaccination series, then every 3 years after that.

Before giving the vaccine, your veterinarian will examine your dog to ensure they are healthy. Sick dogs should not be vaccinated because their immune system will not be able to respond appropriately to the vaccine.

How Much Does the DHPP Vaccine Cost?

The cost of the DHPP vaccine depends on several factors, including where you live. Fortunately, as a combination vaccine, the DHPP vaccine is less expensive than vaccinating for each of the five diseases individually.

The DHPP vaccine cost can range from about $40 to $100. Pet insurance can help defray the cost. Also, some veterinary practices offer wellness programs that include the cost of vaccinations and there are pet organizations that have low-cost vaccination clinics for pet owners.

The DHPP vaccine provides crucial, life-saving disease protection for dogs. Keeping your dog up-to-date on this vaccine will help them live a long, happy life, right by your side.