Administering Canine 6way Single Dose Puppy Vaccine

Updated November 19, 2018
Puppy receiving vaccination

A canine 6-way single dose syringe puppy vaccine can offer your young pet protection against a number of diseases. Properly vaccinating your new puppy can keep him healthy as well as reduce the incidence of disease around other puppies.

The Canine 6-Way Single Dose Syringe Puppy Vaccine

Vaccinating your dog is the surest way to protect him from some of the most prevalent canine diseases. A pup receives initial immunities from his mother, but after that, he's on his own, and that's where vaccinations come in.

Vaccines are available in a variety of combinations, but a 6-way puppy vaccine covers nearly all the bases. Let's take a closer look.

A 6-way puppy shot provides protection against:

Recommended 6-Way Vaccination Schedule

It's generally recommended that puppies begin receiving the 6 in 1 vaccination between six and eight weeks of age, just about the time that they are being weaned away from mom's milk and the immunities it provides. After the initial vaccination, follow up vaccinations should be given at two to four-week intervals until the pup reaches eighteen weeks old. These follow up boosters provoke a quicker immune response with each injection, so if your pup is ever exposed to the full-blown illness, he'll be able to fight it off without suffering any ill effects.

Purchasing 6-Way Puppy Vaccines

Several companies produce a 6-way single dose vaccine for puppies. When purchasing vaccines, remember to buy needles and syringes, as well as these packs only, include the vials of vaccine:

Canine Spectra 6
  • Canine Spectra 6 is available from Tractor Supply and can be purchased online or in store, although not all locations are eligible for online purchases and delivery. A single dose pack is about $12.00.
  • Solo-Jec 6 can be purchased online from Lambert Vet Supply. A single dose pack is about $8.00. Depending on the time of year you order, you may have to pay for extra overnight or 2-day shipping because it is a perishable item.

There are other companies such as Vanguard that sell a kit with a single dose for 5 vaccines plus a vial for Coronavirus. These, however, are not "single dose" as you need to give the dog both vials.

Ways to Give Vaccinations

Every 6-way vaccine comes with directions on how to administer it, but there are basically two methods of delivery.

  • Subcutaneously: This method of injection involves delivering the vaccine into the fatty tissue just below the skin's surface.
  • Intramuscularly: This type of injection is delivered into the muscle tissue, typically in the fleshy part of a dog's thigh.

In most cases, a 6-way puppy vaccine can be injected subcutaneously into the fleshy excess skin on the back of a pup's neck. This is the least painful method, and if done correctly most pups won't even flinch.

Convenience of Single Doses

If you're a breeder vaccinating several litters a year, then purchasing your vaccines in a bulk pack of 25 makes sense. However, if you're the average pet owner, you only need enough for your pup's initial series of shots and an annual booster.

Since shots have expiration dates, buying in bulk just doesn't make good financial sense in this case. That's when the ability to purchase a canine 6-way single dose syringe puppy vaccine comes in handy.

Other Single Dose Puppy Vaccinations

Pomeranian dog sitting on floor

The 6-way single dose shot isn't the only option when vaccinating a puppy. Some other vaccine formulations that are available are:

  • 5 in 1 puppy shot (and schedule) - The 5-way shot covers the five "core" vaccines that are vital for a puppy's healthy development. These cover distemper, Adenovirus 1 and 2, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus. The 5 in 1 puppy vaccine schedule is to administer each dose three to four weeks apart, with the first dose ideally given between six and eight weeks.
  • 7-way puppy shot - The 7 in 1 puppy shot includes all of the vaccines from the 5-way but adds in a vaccine for Lepto, which is usually given for dogs that will be spending a great deal of time in the woods, such as hunting dogs, or dogs that live in more rural areas with a lot of wildlife such as mice, rats, and rabbits. You will also sometimes see a 9-way vaccine which is the 5-way plus more than one strain of Lepto.
  • 10 in 1 puppy shot - The 10-way shot is everything included in a 6-way vaccine plus four strains of Lepto.

Which formulation you use depends on which diseases you want to vaccinate for. For example, people who live in wooded areas, as well as urban areas with lots of rats, may be more inclined to use the 7- or 10-way shots in order to protect against Lepto, whereas people who live in areas where it's not a concern would not find these necessary.

Giving Your Own Shots

Although it is safest to rely on your veterinarian to deliver your puppy's injections, the high cost of dog health care has prompted many of us to look for ways to save money. Learning to give your own shots is one way to do this while still providing your puppy with the essentials to maintain good health.

  • First, make yourself aware of your local laws. Check to make sure there's no legal reason you can't vaccinate your own dog, but be aware that vaccinating someone else's dog can get you in hot water for practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
  • Second, be aware that most states require your dog's annual or tri-annual rabies booster be administered by your vet, and that paperwork to this effect is provided along with a rabies tag for your dog's collar.
  • Third, purchase your vaccines from a reputable company that provides step by step directions on how to give them.


You should always read the manufacturer's guidelines for any vaccine that you buy in order to ensure you're not doing more harm than good. Most 6-way vaccines come with the following recommendations.

  • Do not vaccinate pregnant bitches.
  • Do not vaccinate puppies that are less than six weeks old.
  • Store vaccines in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Do not store vaccines in the freezer.
  • Always use a fresh needle and syringe for each puppy.
  • Only vaccinate healthy dogs.
  • Do not mix a prepared vaccine with additional vaccines.
  • Always properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

About Vaccination Reactions

Although 6-way vaccines are largely safe to use, some puppies do have an immediate reaction after the shot has been given. An anaphylactic reaction can cause a puppy to collapse and go into distress. This can adversely affect the heart and lungs, so immediate measures must be taken to stop the reaction in its tracks. This is most easily accomplished by giving an injection of epinephrine. The dosage needed varies by your dog's weight, so it's very important to follow the directions on the label. Dog supply catalogs and websites that sell vaccines also carry epinephrine, syringes, and needles, so if you're going to give your own vaccinations it a good idea to keep these supplies on hand as well.

Using the 6-Way Vaccines

The 6-way single dose vaccination for puppies is an excellent choice for covering the major diseases they are at risk for, including Coronavirus. Make sure you confirm state law allows you to administer vaccinations and your veterinarian gets a copy for his or her records.

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Administering Canine 6way Single Dose Puppy Vaccine