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Choosing the Right Kennel Cough Vaccine: Injectable, Intranasal, or Oral?

Kennel Cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs, is caused by bacteria and viruses and spreads easily through airborne particles when dogs are in close contact. It is crucial for dogs that are boarded, groomed, or frequent dog parks and daycares to be regularly vaccinated. While not usually life-threatening, Kennel Cough can lead to a persistent, loud, hacking cough, and in rare cases, more serious pneumonia.

Understanding Kennel Cough and Its Vaccines

There are three main types of Kennel Cough vaccines: injectable, intranasal, and oral. Each type provides protection but works differently.

Injectable Kennel Cough Vaccine

  • Administration: Given under the skin using a needle and syringe.

  • Mechanism: Stimulates an immune response that produces antibodies circulating in the blood, ready to combat the infection if it occurs.

  • Benefits: Effective systemic immunity, suitable for dogs that may be sensitive to nasal administration.

Intranasal Kennel Cough Vaccine

  • Administration: Administered by dripping or squirting the vaccine into the dog's nose.

  • Mechanism: Directly targets the respiratory tract where the infection begins, producing local antibodies that attack germs before they can enter the body.

  • Benefits: Provides quick immunity and is highly effective since it targets the primary entry point of the bacteria and viruses.

  • Considerations: Some dogs, particularly English Bulldogs, may not respond well to intranasal vaccines.

Oral Kennel Cough Vaccine

  • Administration: Administered orally.

  • Mechanism: Creates local immunity in the mouth and upper respiratory tract, targeting Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine adenovirus.

  • Benefits: Non-invasive and easy to administer.

  • Limitations: Does not cover all agents responsible for Kennel Cough, such as canine parainfluenza virus.

Which Kennel Cough Vaccine is Best?

Studies indicate that all three vaccines are effective. The choice of vaccine can depend on several factors:

  • Intranasal Vaccine: Works faster and is non-invasive, making it an excellent choice for immediate protection. Ideal for situations where dogs need to be quickly protected, such as before boarding or attending dog parks.

  • Injectable Vaccine: Suitable if there is enough time before potential exposure. This method is beneficial for dogs that are not comfortable with nasal administration.

  • Oral Vaccine: Convenient and easy to administer but may not provide as comprehensive protection as the other two methods.

Important Considerations

Regardless of the type of vaccine chosen, it is crucial to follow the administration instructions carefully:

  • Proper Administration: Ensure that injectable vaccines are never administered intranasally and vice versa, as incorrect administration can lead to serious adverse effects.

  • Follow Up: Regularly update your dog's vaccination as recommended by your veterinarian to maintain protection against Kennel Cough.

The Bottom Line

No matter which vaccine you prefer, the key is to ensure your dog is protected against Kennel Cough on a regular basis. Each type of vaccine offers its own advantages, and the best choice will depend on your dog's specific needs and circumstances. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate vaccine for your pet.

For more detailed information on Kennel Cough vaccines and other pet health topics, visit or call us at 800-658-5308. We're here to support you with expert advice and high-quality products to keep your pets healthy and happy.



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