As responsible and caring dog owners, we want to protect our pups from the dangers that lurk in the world that can cause them harm. This is why so many owners seek out yearly vaccinations from their veterinarian to continue providing their pets a shield against communicable and preventable diseases. However, one vaccination seems to have hit a fork in the road – Bordetella, or kennel cough vaccinations are now a hot topic of debate for breeders, rescuers, shelters and pet lovers.

The Vaccine

The Bordetella vaccination is a high priority requirement, just as much as the rabies vaccine, for boarding kennel owners and doggy daycare centers. It is conventionally believed that a vaccination is a safe guard against the illness, which acts much like the common cold in humans and rarely dangerous, and through vaccination the spread of it can be prevented all together.

There are two types of the vaccine available of which you should be able to choose which you would rather have for your dog. There is the intranasal, which is a liquid that get put into the dog’s nose and is considered the safest and the other choice is injection. More and more dogs have been reported to have reactions to injectable vaccinations, which is why the intranasal is so highly recommended.

Not just Bordetella

The Bordetella is not the one and only thing that causes kennel cough, however, and this fact has become a great cause for concern as to why, when, and if a vaccination should take place at all to begin with. Bordetella is a bacteria that is one part of a mixture with para-influenza in a dog that creates the illness. This means your dog must be vaccinated for both for protection, but even then the protection is very limited.

Many of the Bordetella vaccines, including the intranasal type, are also paired with the para-influenza vaccine within the same mixture. This can cause problems, as most dogs receive a separate vaccination mixture that also has para-influenza. This can create havoc on your dog’s body as he is forced to process more modified live vaccines than he really needs.

Bacterial Vaccinations

The Bordetella vaccination, being one of bacterial origin, can cause other problems not including its mix with para-influenza. According to Dogs4Dogs, the bacteria can lie dormant in your dog, or even outright give him kennel cough from the get go. It is not unheard of for a dog to come down with the illness he was just vaccinated for, but due to the incubation period of 3 to 4 days or longer it sometimes is not considered related to the vaccination. The vaccine will activate histamines that naturally occur in the body, making your dog feel unwell and can lead to more problems such as infections.

Unfortunately, there are more than just a few strains of the Bordetella bacteria that makes our pets sick with kennel cough, and a vaccine only protects them from a small few of them. This reason alone is one that many dog owners are now opting out from giving their dog this inoculation and instead choosing to find boarding kennel, groomers, and doggy daycares that do not enforce the requirement for such a vaccine.

When your dog needs it

The Bordetella vaccination may not be 100% effective, but it still does offer protection to an extent. If your dog does need to be boarded you can opt to have this vaccination done for your canine companion or dive in and research the cleanliness and ventilation within the facility you intend to board your dog. Better yet, finding a pet sitter, friend or family member to care for your dog in his own home may be a better choice.

When in doubt, always consult your veterinarian or seek second or third opinions on the matter. It is up to you how you wish to protect your dog.