Side Effects of the Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs

Side Effects of the Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs | Canna-Pet®

Vaccines introduce your dog’s body to a virus or bacteria so he will be able to build immunities to fight it off should he encounters it again in the future. And while vaccines, especially the Bordetella vaccine, have their fair share of detractors within the veterinary community, many still support its use.

Much of the reason for any opposition to the Bordetella vaccine stems from its tendency to produce side effects. In this post, we’re going to go over the Bordetella vaccine for dogs side effects to help you decide whether or not you should have it done for your dog.

What Is Bordetella?

Side Effects of the Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs | Canna-Pet®Bordetella bronchiseptica, also known as kennel cough, is a bacterium that can cause upper respiratory tract disease in dogs. It has even been known to affect humans in rare cases but is the most common bacterial infection in canines. It is highly contagious, able to be transmitted via air or direct contact.  

While it is not a major health concern for healthy adult dogs, puppies or dogs that have underlying health issues can encounter severe illnesses or even death, due to a compromised immune system.

Kennel cough in puppies and adult dogs will typically manifest as dry coughing, which can take up to four weeks to clear up. Often, the condition can be treated with simple, over-the-counter medications. However, since it can be fatal in puppies, it might be best to have the Bordetella vaccine administered on your dog.

The Bordetella Vaccine

Dogs that spend time in doggy daycare, shelters, or training classes should get the Bordetella vaccine to protect themselves against the spread of infection. Many training companies and kennels will ask for proof of vaccinations before they will accept dogs because of how easily the virus can spread. The vaccine is administered along with the other core vaccinations puppies receive during their first stage of life.  

Does My Dog Need the Bordetella Vaccine?

This question is why there is controversy surrounding the Bordetella vaccine in the first place. Many believe that the vaccine isn’t necessary, as most cases of kennel cough can be easily treated with simple cold medication, while others may go away on their own.

Those dogs who are frequently in contact with other dogs at dog parks, in classes, doggy daycare, and boarding facilities will be most likely to be exposed to kennel cough and could benefit from the vaccination. However, you should speak with your veterinarian to see whether or not the vaccine is necessary for your dog.

Puppies can receive the vaccination as early as three weeks old, with additional vaccines following.

Controversy Surrounding The Bordetella Vaccine

Much of the controversy surrounding the Bordetella vaccine stems from the fact that many veterinarians do not think it is necessary, especially since the vaccine has the risk of causing some potential side effects. These side effects include weakened defense system. Many dogs will receive the Bordetella vaccine even though they are not put in “high risk” situations, such as multi-night boarding or training classes.

Others find kennel cough to be more of a common cold for dogs, caused by elements in their environment rather than Bordetella. However, the vaccine can prevent certain respiratory infections including kennel cough. It will ultimately be up to the owner whether or not the potential risks outweigh the risk of contracting kennel cough.

Side Effects Of The Bordetella Vaccine

Side Effects of the Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs | Canna-Pet®The side effects of the Bordetella vaccine can be rather difficult in some cases. Your dog may experience some sneezing right after the nose drops have been administered, followed by persistent periods of coughing and nasal discharge that can last between three to 10 days. The drops can also cause serious anaphylactoid reactions in some dogs as well.

Others may experience bouts of nausea, swelling, and canine diarrhea. Since the vaccination involves introducing a small dose of bacteria to the dog, they may actually become infected with kennel cough, although this is quite rare.

Other dogs may have some soreness at the injection site (after the initial nasal drops, subsequent rounds of the vaccination involve booster shots), a loss of appetite, and a general fatigue or malaise. While these symptoms are common for any vaccination, it is worth giving your vet a call if they persist for longer than a few days.


While these side effects are ultimately not very serious, they can be uncomfortable for your dog, and since many would argue that the vaccination is unnecessary in the first place, it will be up to you and your veterinarian to decide whether or not it would be a good idea to give to your dog. This will depend entirely on your individual circumstances, such as how much time the dog will be spending in the company of other dogs, especially in overnight situations in kennels.


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