Founded in 1986, PetSmart Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of solutions and services for the lifetime needs of pets. Their mantra, “love pets to make better people,” is a reflection of the work they do — to help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything they do: from their customers to the way they support their associates and to how they give back to the community. 

Expert veterinarian care is available at many of its stores, where Banfield Pet Hospital operates full-service pet hospitals. These in-store pet hospitals operate independently of PetSmart and employ veterinarians who provide a full range of health care and emergency services. 

The First Shots

Puppies need their first vaccinations at six to eight weeks old. Whether you adopt a puppy or buy one, make sure you get any medical records. In their first year, fur-babies will need to visit the vet a few times for immunizations and regular booster shots.

Vaccines are only useful once a puppy has been weaned. Your vet will advise you on the immunizations that are the best for your dog, which depends on many factors, including where you live and how many other pets are in your home.

Most states require that all dogs be vaccinated against rabies. Be sure to keep proof that your dog’s shots are up-to-date. 

Must-have shots

All puppies should be immunized against parvovirus, distemper, rabies, and hepatitis. Puppies need to get their vaccinations every two to four weeks until they are at least 14 weeks old. Some vaccinations are given as a combination, such as the DHLPPC, which helps to protect against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvo, and corona. Other vaccinations are administered one at a time. 

If your dog is over 16 weeks old and isn’t up-to-date on shots, or if you’re not sure, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your vet may recommend starting your puppy’s vaccination process again. Use this chart to help you keep track of your puppy’s progress when taking shots: 


First vaccination: 6 to 8 weeks

Second vaccination: 9 to 11 weeks

Third vaccination: 12 to 14 weeks

Fourth vaccination: 16 to 17 weeks

Booster shots: 12 months


First vaccination: 14 weeks

Booster shots: 6 months


First vaccination: 16 weeks (varies by state)

Booster shots: 12-36 months


First vaccination: 14 weeks

Second vaccination: 17 weeks

Booster shots: 12 months


First vaccination: 14 weeks

Second vaccination: 17 weeks

Booster shots: 12 months


Vaccinations are essential, especially for a growing puppy. To keep your fur baby happy and healthy, it is best to give them the care they deserve. Looking for pet insurance is the first step towards giving your dog a good life and towards being a responsible pet parent. If you’re considering looking for great options on getting your pet vaccinated, some pet insurance companies offer preventative care that can be added to their policies. For a list of the best pet insurance providers, along with those that allow for added benefits like vaccinations, visit our list of the best pet insurance companies.