Dog Ownership

Pros and Cons of the Kennel Cough Vaccine


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Pros and Cons of the Kennel Cough Vaccine

As a dog owner, you want to do everything you can to keep your furry friend healthy and happy. One way to do that is by vaccinating your dog against various diseases, including kennel cough. However, before making a decision, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of the kennel cough vaccine. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and risks of this non-core vaccine, so you can make an informed decision about your dog’s health.

The Pros and Cons of the Kennel Cough Vaccine

Before making a decision on whether or not to give your pup the kennel cough vaccine, be sure to review all of the pros and cons. It can be easy to jump to a conclusion without considering all factors, so we wanted to point that out.

Let’s get started with the pros of the kennel cough vaccine.

pros of the kennel cough vaccine

The Pros of the Kennel Cough Vaccine

Kennel Cough is caused by the bacteria called Bordetella Bacterium. It is an airborne bacteria that spreads from dog to dog. When dogs are in close proximity to one another, they are at higher risk of becoming infected.

An infected dog can end up suffering from viruses, such as:

  • Adenovirus
  • Parainfluenza
  • Canine Distemper
  • Upper Respiratory Infection

The above viruses can be quite severe and life-threatening if not treated.

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The kennel cough vaccine also called the Bordetella vaccine can keep a dog from suffering from the above bacterial and viral infections.

Obviously, that is the most important pro of the kennel cough vaccine. There are others, though.

Prevents Tracheobronchitis Pneumonia

A consequence of Kennel Cough is infectious tracheobronchitis Pneumonia. This is a life-threatening infection that could cost dog owners a lot of money in treatment to save their pup’s life.

Three Types of Administration

Dogs can receive the bordetella vaccine in one of three ways:

  1. Intranasal Vaccine (into the nose)
  2. Oral Vaccine
  3. Injectable Vaccine

Since some dogs can’t tolerate all of the above ways of administering the vaccination, dog owners have options. Unfortunately, not all vets offer all three, so it may involve some searching around on the pet owners’ part to find a vet that has the one best suited for their dogs.

Annual Vaccination

The Bordetella vaccine lasts an entire year. Since it’s a non-core vaccine, it’s important to remember to ask your vet about it every year if your vet doesn’t beat you to it.

This is especially true if your dog goes to dog parks, doggy daycare, boarding facilities, or anywhere else there are many dogs.

Boosts Immune System

The Bordetella vaccine boosts the immune system, which is how it can decrease the risk of contracting Kennel Cough. When the immune system is confronted with bordetella bronchiseptica, it’s prepared to fight it off successfully.

Appropriate for All Dogs

Healthy dogs and dogs with medical issues can benefit from the bordetella vaccine. Dogs of all ages as well: puppies, adult dogs, and older dogs are also encouraged to have it.

Access to Dog Communities

Many boarding facilities and doggy daycares require the rabies vaccine AND bordetella vaccination. They do not want to end up with pet owners who are upset over their dog becoming sick while playing with other puppies.

Also, since the bordetella bronchiseptica is passed from dog to dog in the air, it makes sense that they would want all dogs vaccinated for it.

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Safe for Puppies

Many veterinarians recommend the intranasal vaccine for young puppies because it’s easier for them to withstand. They also have so many core vaccines as young puppies that another injection is not something they love.

Saves Money

While you have to pay for the bordetella vaccination, it can save you money in the long run. If your dog becomes ill from not having it, that could lead to more vet bills to treat the consequences of bordetella bronchiseptica.

Most cases of kennel cough are mild and resolve on their own. The issue is when other medical issues result from it that are much more severe and require intensive treatment to save your dog’s life.

You’ve made it through all of the pros of the kennel cough vaccine, but wait, before you run to schedule the vet visit for the vaccine, let’s cover the cons.

Boarding Kennels and Dog Daycares Require It

The kennel cough vaccine is required by most boarding kennels and dog daycares. A benefit of the kennel cough vaccine is that it lets dogs be among other dogs in certain facilities.

ons of the kennel cough vaccine

The Cons of the Kennel Cough Vaccine

The kennel cough vaccination is a beneficial non-core vaccine to get if your pup is around other dogs regularly. It doesn’t come without risks, though.

Nasal Discharge

Pet owners who decide on the intranasal vaccination may experience nasal discharge up to 3-10 days after it. This can sometimes lead to snoring and congestion, which you can read more about in this article: My Dog Snores and Sounds Congested


Intranasal vaccinations can also cause coughing for about 3 to 10 days. If the coughing doesn’t stop, contact your vet.

Contract Kennel Cough

To empower your dog’s immune system to fight the kennel cough bacteria, the vaccine includes a small amount of the bacteria in it. There are rare cases, of dogs suffering from kennel cough from the vaccine. Again, this is extremely rare but has happened.

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If your dog suffers from any of the following signs of kennel cough, contact your veterinarian:

  • Runny Nose
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty Breathing

Appetite Loss

This is a common result of any type of vaccination, but many dogs have suffered this after receiving their bordetella vaccine.

Sidenote: CBD for dogs can help with appetite. You read more about that here: CBD for Dog Appetite


Soreness is a common side effect of the injectable vaccine. Most dogs don’t even notice the sore feeling, but others will likely try to lick or won’t let you touch them in the area for a few days.

Annual Booster Vaccination

The vaccination is only good for one year. This means you will have to pay for it every year for the booster vaccination. The good news is that you can add it to other core vaccines like the rabies vaccination.

Compromises Immune System

If dogs receive a lot of vaccines all at once, the immune system may end up being bombarded with too much decreasing its effectiveness in fighting off bacteria and viruses.

Many dog owners prevent this from happening by choosing to separate annual boosters, especially non-core vaccines such as the kennel cough and Lyme disease vaccine. Waiting a few weeks between them can help the immune system adapt to what it’s receiving from each vaccine.

Read: Lyme Vaccine for Dogs: Pros and Cons

The Pros and Cons of the Kennel Cough Vaccine

You have now read the pros and cons of the kennel cough vaccine. We know the decision can be a difficult one at times, so be sure to discuss all of your thoughts with your veterinarian. Your pet’s vet knows your pup’s medical history and common reactions to previous annual vaccinations, so you’ll be able to gain additional perspective.

In the comment below, let other dog owners know what you’re thinking about the pros and cons of the kennel cough vaccine!

Want to read more about non-core vaccines? Read: Pros and Cons of Dog Flu Vaccine

Have some questions this article hasn’t covered? You can get them answered by a vet online. YES! Click here.



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