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11 Clinical Reasons to Get the Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs

The Bordetella vaccine for dogs isn’t considered to be part of the core vaccine schedule.

It’s important to remember, however, the dogs can pick up viruses and bacteria at a variety of places including doggie daycare centers, boarding kennels, training classes, and from professional groomers.

This post will cover the dangers of bacteria and viruses, particularly as they relate to parainfluenza and kennel cough. The reasons for keeping up on the Bordetella vaccine far outweigh the risks.

Common Side-Effects of the Bordetella Vaccine

Common, short-term, side-effects of the Bordetella vaccine could include the following:

Nasal Discharge

Dogs who were given an intranasal vaccine may develop a short-term runny nose.

Mild pain at the Injection Site

Vaccines are administered into the muscle and often leave the spot feeling tender for a few days after.

This is normal and is not considered a serious risk.

Low-Grade Fever

Many dogs who develop a low-grade fever show no symptoms and will continue to eat, sleep, and maintain activity levels as normal.


It’s not unusual to feel a little tired for a day or two after being administered a vaccine.

No Appetite

If your dog happens to develop a fever or is sore at the injection site, he/she may feel a little under-the-weather.

Lack of appetite for the first day after an injection isn’t abnormal.

If any of the side-effects listed above continue more than a couple of days, it’s always best to play it safe and contact the veterinarian.

the bordetella vaccine is optional

Are Bordetella Vaccinations are Safe?

The industry manufacturing these vaccines subject their product to quality assurance monitoring protocols to meet their own, internal expectations, but also to satisfy government requirements.

Currently, the only feedback available to study the effects of the bordetella vaccine for dogs comes from voluntary disclosure by veterinarians who are encouraged to report adverse effects to the US Food & Drug Administration.

The results reported can represent any number of side-effects from mild and common to severe and possibly life-threatening. Important factors to consider when interpreting the results include:

  • dogs age
  • dogs underlying health
  • dogs weight
  • the number of vaccines being offered in one visit.

To get a better understanding on how the reporting process works, read the information at the link below.

READ: How to Report Animal Drug Side Effects

Types of Vaccines Available For Dogs

1. Inactivated injectables

Inactivated injectables do not have the same power as the live attenuated ones which indicates a need for regular boosters to keep immunity at peak. The Bordetella vaccine is also available as an oral or nasal vaccine.

2. Live attenuated for intranasal administration

Live attenuated vaccines are stronger and longer lasting. These vaccines are created by passing the virus or bacteria through cells and/or other mediums multiple times during the development phase. In doing this, it forces a random mutation which, hopefully, delivers a non-virulent agent.

The good thing about this type of vaccine is that it doesn’t require certain additives, like aluminum. In addition, the strength of the dose is typically enough to provide long-term immunity without the need for frequent boosters.

Live attenuated vaccines are the closest to the real virus without actually causing the virus to develop in the body.

3. Live attenuated oral vaccines

Live attenuated oral vaccines are created much the same way as detailed above. The difference is in the way it is administered. In this case, the vaccine is given orally by mouth.

11 Clinical Reasons to Get the Bordetella Vaccine for Puppies

1. Veterinarian Knowledge

Scheduling your puppy for his/her first vaccinations is the first step in establishing a working relationship with your veterinarian. The better your veterinarian knows you dog, the better he/she will be able to diagnose/treat in the future.

2. Alternative or Homeopathic “Vaccines” Are Not Considered Effective

There are many articles and posts on “nosodes” for dogs. Nosodes are a scientifically unproven alternative to regular vaccines. For more information on nosodes for dogs, read this: Nosodes are no substitute for vaccines

3. Possibly Reduce the Risk of Covid-19

Covid-19 is still considered a new virus with many unanswered questions. Although the Bordetella vaccine is not designed to protect against Covid-19, it’s fair to say that keeping your dog’s respiratory system as healthy as possible is a good idea. Kennel Cough is not considered serious; however, secondary infections like Covid-19 could be.

REMINDER: Always Check Reliable Sources like the CDC for information on Covid-19.

4. Kennel Cough Can Lead to Fatal Bronchopneumonia in Puppies

Healthy dogs who contract kennel cough will recover with a little rest and TLC. Unfortunately, some dogs with weakened immune systems (puppies, seniors, or dogs with other underlying conditions) could end up with complications like pneumonia which is life-threatening in an immune compromised dog.

5. Protect Your Other Pets

  • Any other animals in your home can easily succumb to viruses like Kennel Cough. Kennel Cough (also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is highly infectious and can be passed back and forth from animal to animal.

6. Protect the Pets of Family & Friends

As mentioned above, Kennel Cough is highly contagious. If you ever visit family and friends with your animals in tow, or vise-versa, this should be a consideration.

7. Peace of Mind

Kennel Cough produces a loud, honking cough, runny nose, sneezing, loss of appetite, fatigue and even a low grade fever. Why even risk putting your dog through that when you can opt for the Bordetella vaccine?

8. Avoid the Risk of More Serious Disease

Even if you think your dog is otherwise healthy, there could be underlying conditions lurking. If your dog happens to get Kennel Cough, it might be that much harder to fight because of an already weakened immune system.

9. Save Your Dog From Unnecessary Suffering

Bordetella bronchiseptica creates inflammation in the dog’s upper respiratory system. As a result, it produces a harsh cough. Although it tends to sound worse than it is, it certainly affects how the dog feels. It’s difficult to eat and drink properly when your sick.

10. Get Your Dog into Doggy Daycare

These days, doggy daycare is a reality for many people. The problem is that most doggy daycares require proof of vaccination. In addition to the main core vaccines like rabies, they will also want to see that your dog has had the Bordetella vaccine. This is to avoid an outbreak of Kennel Cough among the dogs in their care.

Although unlikely, there is always the possibility of passing on a virus to a puppy or another dog with a severely weakened immune system. Those dogs may not be able to safely get certain vaccines which leave him/her at high risk of infection.

Knowingly putting your dog at risk automatically puts others at risk. Nobody wants to see harm come to another dog. Unfortunately, the risks are real and you could find yourself facing legal action.

Before you make the decision, it’s important to clear up some myths. Have a look at the following and feel free to leave me comments at:

The canine bordetella vaccine protects dogs from contracting kennel cough. While kennel cough isn’t particularly dangerous to dogs, it can lead to serious complications much like the flu can in people.

Have You Made a Decision Yet?

At the end of the day, non-core Bordetella vaccines for dogs are optional. A healthy adult dog with no underlying risk factors will likely survive kennel cough. However, listening to your dog honk-cough, lose sleep, suffer with nasal discharge and general malaise is no fun for you and no fun for your dog.

It’s natural to have concerns which is why it’s important to discuss these with the veterinarian. Some people prefer tittered vaccinations or feel more comfortable with homeopathic “vaccines”. Always take into account whether sound scientific studies have been found and talk to your vet before making a decision.

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