Bordetella Vaccine For Dogs: How it works and Side Effects

Bordetella Vaccine For Dogs: Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterial pathogen that commonly causes respiratory disease in dogs, known as kennel cough. The Bordetella vaccine helps protect against this infection.

How It Spreads

Bordetella spreads from direct contact with the bacteria, often from dog to dog in areas where many dogs are together such as kennels, shelters, groomers, and dog parks. The bacteria can survive for several weeks in the environment. Coughing and sneezing release Bordetella into the air, allowing it to infect other dogs.


The most common symptoms of Bordetella are a harsh, hacking cough, often called “kennel cough,” that can last for up to several weeks. Other signs include nasal discharge, fever, and lack of appetite. In severe cases, pneumonia can develop. The cough tends to worsen at night or when the dog is excited.


Vaccination is the best way to prevent Bordetella infection. The intranasal Bordetella vaccine is very effective and provides immunity within 72 hours. The vaccine may cause minor side effects such as sneezing, nasal discharge, and coughing for a few days. The Bordetella vaccine should be boostered annually or according to your vet’s recommendation.

Keeping your dog current on the Bordetella vaccine, especially before boarding or visiting high-traffic dog areas, is the best way to reduce the risk of this highly contagious respiratory infection in your canine companion. Be sure to also practice good hygiene like picking up after your dog and washing hands regularly when around other dogs.

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Bordetella Vaccine For Dogs

The Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria can cause kennel cough in dogs, an infectious respiratory disease. The Bordetella vaccine is commonly given to prevent this infection and the associated symptoms. When to Vaccinate

It is recommended that puppies receive their first Bordetella vaccine between 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by a booster 2 to 4 weeks later. For maximum protection, the initial vaccine should be administered at least 7 days before your puppy will be exposed to other dogs in places like boarding facilities, dog parks, grooming salons or veterinary clinics.

How the Vaccine Works

The Bordetella vaccine exposes your puppy’s immune system to an inactivated or weakened form of the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. This helps the body develop antibodies against the disease without actually causing an infection. After receiving the vaccine, it typically takes 7 to 14 days for your puppy to build up immunity against kennel cough. Annual or biennial boosters are needed to maintain protection.

Possible Side Effects

The Bordetella vaccine is very safe, but some dogs may experience mild side effects such as fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and soreness at the injection site. Severe allergic reactions are rare but possible. Seek immediate veterinary care if your puppy shows symptoms like facial swelling, hives, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing after receiving the vaccine.

Benefits of Vaccination

The main benefit of the Bordetella vaccine is that it helps prevent your puppy from contracting kennel cough, an unpleasant and highly contagious respiratory infection. It also reduces the severity and duration of the disease if your puppy is exposed to the bacteria. Vaccination may be required for dogs attending boarding facilities, grooming salons, training classes, dog shows, and other places where dogs congregate. The Bordetella vaccine, when given properly, is very effective at protecting your puppy and reducing the spread of kennel cough.

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What is Bordetella bronchiseptica?

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterial infection that causes kennel cough in dogs. It is highly contagious and spread through airborne droplets from infected dogs. The Bordetella vaccine helps prevent your dog from contracting this infection.

Why should I vaccinate my dog against Bordetella?

Vaccinating your dog against Bordetella bronchiseptica is important for several reasons:

  • It prevents your dog from getting kennel cough, which can lead to pneumonia or other respiratory infections if left untreated. Kennel cough causes coughing, gagging, and nasal discharge in dogs.
  • It ensures your dog will not spread the infection to other animals. As Bordetella is highly contagious, an infected dog can spread it to other dogs in places like grooming salons, pet stores, dog parks, and kennels.
  • It allows your dog to visit places where vaccination is required, such as boarding kennels, doggy daycares, grooming salons, vet clinics, etc. These facilities require dogs to be vaccinated against Bordetella before entering.
  • It provides immunity against the bacteria for 6-12 months. Getting your dog revaccinated annually or biannually will ensure continuous protection.

At what age should puppies get the Bordetella vaccine?

Puppies can get their first Bordetella vaccine as early as 6 weeks of age. Most veterinarians recommend vaccinating puppies with a combination vaccine like DHPPV along with the Bordetella component at 8-9 weeks of age. Puppies require a booster shot 2-4 weeks after the initial vaccine to provide maximum immunity. Thereafter, annual or biannual revaccination is needed to maintain protection.

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Are there any side effects to the Bordetella vaccine?

The Bordetella vaccine is considered very safe for dogs. However, some dogs may experience mild side effects such as:

  • Soreness or redness at the injection site for a few days
  • Mild fever
  • Lethargy or loss of appetite for a day or two
  • Sneezing or coughing for a couple of days after vaccination

Severe side effects are extremely rare. If your dog shows unusual symptoms or symptoms last more than a few days, consult your vet.

The benefits of vaccination far outweigh any risks. Protecting your dog against kennel cough is worth the unlikely possibility of side effects. By vaccinating your dog and minimizing illness, you are promoting a long, healthy, and happy life for your canine companion.