The Bordetella Vaccine: Does My Dog Need It?

July 14, 2023

As responsible dog owners, we often strive to ensure the health and well-being of our furry friends. One common concern among dog owners is whether or not their furry friend needs the Bordetella vaccine. In this article, we will explore the subject in detail to help you decide whether your dog needs the Bordetella vaccine.

What is Bordetella?

Bordetella is a bacterium known for causing respiratory infections in dogs. It is highly contagious and spreads through airborne droplets. Commonly called kennel cough, Bordetella infections can range from mild coughing to severe respiratory distress. The symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and lethargy.

The Bordetella vaccine is designed to provide protection against the bacterium and reduce the severity of symptoms if a dog becomes infected. Different types of Bordetella vaccines are available, including injectable and intranasal formulations. The vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies against Bordetella.

Dogs are generally recommended to receive the Bordetella vaccine, especially if they are at higher risk of exposure. Boarding kennels, doggy daycares, grooming facilities, and training classes often require the vaccine. However, the decision to vaccinate your dog should be based on various factors, including lifestyle, age, overall health, and potential exposure risks.

Golden retriever dog getting injection with vaccine

Assessing the Need for the Bordetella Vaccine

Certain risk factors may increase a dog's susceptibility to Bordetella infections. For instance, dogs that frequently come into contact with other dogs in crowded places, such as dog parks or dog shows, are at a higher risk. Additionally, dogs with compromised immune systems or those living in multi-dog households are more susceptible to disease.

While the Bordetella vaccine can be beneficial in preventing and reducing the severity of infections, there are differing opinions on vaccinating healthy dogs. Some argue that healthy adult dogs may have sufficient natural immunity or may not be at significant risk if they do contract the infection. However, it's essential to consider that even healthy dogs can develop severe symptoms, and in some cases, the infection can progress to pneumonia.

vet vaccination for spitz dog

Ready to schedule your Bordetella vaccination?

Bordetella Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian

When deciding about your dog's health, consulting a veterinarian is crucial. They can assess your dog's risk factors and provide personalized recommendations. A veterinarian can also advise you on the appropriate vaccination protocol based on your dog's needs.

During your veterinary consultation, consider asking questions such as:

  • What are the local Bordetella infection rates in our area?
  • Does my dog have any underlying health conditions that may increase their susceptibility to Bordetella infections?
  • Are there any potential side effects or risks associated with the Bordetella vaccine?

In addition to vaccination, you can take other preventive measures to reduce the risk of Bordetella infections. Good hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing and disinfection of shared toys and water bowls, can help minimize the bacterium's spread.

veterinarian vaccinating German Shepherd dog in clinic

Ways to Avoid Bordetella Infections

Avoiding crowded dog spaces during peak infection seasons and ensuring your dog's socialization and training are up to date can also contribute to their overall health and well-being. By taking a proactive approach to your dog's health, including considering the Bordetella vaccine, you can help protect them from respiratory infections and ensure they lead a vibrant and active life. Your veterinarian is your best resource for guidance, so don't hesitate to reach out and discuss your concerns.

Deciding whether your dog needs the Bordetella vaccine requires careful consideration of various factors, including their lifestyle, risk factors, and the prevalence of Bordetella in your area. However, it is generally recommended for all healthy dogs to prevent serious illness. While the vaccine can be beneficial, consulting a veterinarian is essential for personalized advice.

Ultimately, our dog owners aim to keep our beloved pets healthy and happy. By weighing the risks and benefits, consulting with professionals, and considering the specific circumstances of your dog's life, you can make an informed decision about their vaccination needs. Remember, the Bordetella vaccine is just one aspect of preventive care for your dog. Prioritize their overall health through regular veterinary check-ups, proper nutrition, exercise, and a loving environment.

Taking the Next Steps: Scheduling Your Bordetella Vaccination

Now that you have gathered information about the Bordetella vaccine and considered the factors involved in planning, it's time to take the next steps toward scheduling your dog's Bordetella vaccination. Here are some important considerations:

Step 1: Consult Your Veterinarian

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the Bordetella vaccine and your dog's needs. To provide personalized recommendations, your veterinarian will assess your dog's health, lifestyle, and potential exposure risks. They can address any concerns or questions and help you make an informed decision.

Step 2: Determining a Vaccination Schedule

Your veterinarian will guide you on the appropriate vaccination schedule for your dog. The frequency of vaccinations may vary depending on factors such as age, overall health, and exposure risks. Puppies and adult dogs may require different vaccination protocols. Follow your veterinarian's recommendations to ensure optimal protection for your dog.

Step 3: Exploring Combination Vaccines

In some cases, the Bordetella vaccine may be combined with other vaccines, such as those for parainfluenza, adenovirus, or distemper. This can provide broader protection against multiple respiratory diseases. Your veterinarian will discuss the options and help you determine the most suitable combination vaccine for your dog.

Step 4: Vaccine Administration

The Bordetella vaccine can be administered via different methods, including injection or intranasal application. Your veterinarian will decide the appropriate method based on your dog's age, health, and specific circumstances. Intranasal administration involves applying the vaccine into the nostrils, stimulating a local immune response. It's important to follow the veterinarian's instructions for vaccine administration carefully.

Step 5: Monitoring for Side Effects

Like any vaccine, the Bordetella vaccine can have potential side effects. Most dogs tolerate the vaccine well, but some may experience mild reactions such as soreness at the injection site or temporary nasal discharge. Rarely, more severe reactions may occur. After vaccination, monitor your dog for unusual signs or symptoms and promptly report them to your veterinarian.

Step 6: Maintaining Vaccine Booster Shots

To ensure continued protection, your veterinarian may recommend periodic booster shots for the Bordetella vaccine. Booster shots help to maintain your dog's immunity against Bordetella over time. Follow the recommended vaccination schedule and keep track of your dog's vaccine history to stay up to date with booster shots.


veterinarian doctor with stethoscope holding black german shepherd

Remember, while the Bordetella vaccine can reduce the risk and severity of respiratory infections, it may not provide complete immunity. Additionally, no vaccine is without risks. Therefore, discussing the Bordetella vaccine and its specific benefits and risks with your veterinarian is essential.

Why Choose Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital?

When it comes to your pet's healthcare and preventative care, there's no better choice than Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital. We understand the deep bond you share with your furry companions and are dedicated to providing them with the highest veterinary expertise, compassion, and personalized care they deserve.