Does Your Dog Really Need the Kennel Cough Vaccine – Bordetella Vaccine

The Bordetella Vaccine. Does Your Dog Really Need the Kennel Cough Vaccine?

Before you can board your dog in most facilities a number of vaccinations are required.  These undoubtedly include rabies and distemper, as well as the Bordetella (Kennel Cough) vaccine.  However, does your dog actually need to be immunized against Kennel Cough?  The reasons the Bordetella vaccine might not be necessary for your pet are described here.

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is a contagious respiratory disease that occurs when dogs are in close contact in poorly ventilated areas.  It is spread via airborne contaminants or contact with infected surfaces, such as food or water bowls.  Symptoms include coughing, a runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and a fever.  Kennel Cough is highly treatable, but young puppies and dogs with compromised immune symptoms may develop worsened symptoms.

Problems with the Kennel Cough Vaccine

Many pet owners are troubled by the concept of over-vaccinating their dogs, particularly when side effects of the vaccine are more serious than the disease itself.  The Bordetella vaccination can produce troubling side effects for 3 – 10 days after the vaccination has been administered, such as coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge.  A rare, but serious, side effect is anaphylactoid reaction, which is an allergic reaction that can result in death.  

Why is the Bordetella Vaccine Unnecessary?

While it is true that Kennel Cough can be transmitted between animals in a boarding or grooming facility, safe and hygienic practices makes the contraction of this disease rare.  If the kennel has good ventilation and sanitation, the spread of Kennel Cough is unlikely.  Additionally, dogs that primarily play in outdoor areas such as backyards or dog parks are highly unlikely to contract this disease.  In most dogs, Kennel Cough is no worse than the common cold in humans, and can be treated with the canine equivalent of cough syrup.   Vaccination specialists such as Dr. Ronald Schultz maintain that there are too many variables at play in the contraction of kennel cough, including stress, which makes this disease unable to be prevented, thus making the vaccination unnecessary.  

How Can I Avoid the Kennel Cough Vaccine?

Many boarding facilities and groomers are no longer requiring the vaccine, so the first step is to ask your service provider.  If he or she insists on the vaccine in order to protect your dog, offer to sign a liability waiver stating you understand the risk and will not hold the facility liable if your pet contracts Kennel Cough.  If the person refuses, seek a facility that does not require the vaccine, instead.  If you do choose to vaccinate your dog, ask for the nasal form of the vaccine, instead of the injectable version.

Bull Valley Retrievers and Dog Boarding Kennel does require Kennel Cough vaccinations not only for your dogs protection, but for the protection of both their client and personal dogs that are housed or are near the kennel. Remember that this is an airborne disease that is very contagious.


We feed a recommend Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Formula Dog Food to all our clients.

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