Things to know about Bordetella

Happy Dogs Maui gate entrance
Happy Dogs Maui rules of the road
April 10, 2023
crate training dog puppy why and how
The importance of Crate Training your dog
September 22, 2023

Just a few weeks ago we had our first close Bordetella call when 3 little dogs (all from the same household) got diagnosed with Bordetella just a few days after staying with us. With the incubation time being 2-14 days it was unclear if these pups had gotten it here, had brought it here or had gotten it before or after their 3 day stay and potentially passed it on to some of the pups here. The best we could do was to consult with our vet(s) of trust for best practices, disinfect everything, notify everyone who could have gotten in contact with it and separate all dogs that were arriving going forward from the ones that were already here to prevent any spread and break a possible cycle. Since we did a deep dive into Bordetella we thought we would put it all into a blog post for future needs or anyone of you that might have questions about it. Read on for all you need to know. 

Bordetella is a type of bacteria that can cause respiratory infections in dogs. It is highly contagious and spreads through airborne droplets, close contact and contaminated objects.


  • a dry, honking cough
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

In most cases the illness and symptoms are mild and most dogs will recover within a week or two.


Bordetella is typically treated with rest. Most cases of kennel cough from Bordetella will subside on their own as long as your dog has access to clean water and food and can get enough rest to help their body fight the infection. However, senior dogs. Puppies and dogs with a weakened immune system may develop secondary infections which should be treated with antibiotics. Cough suppressants can help treat mild kennel cough by reducing the uncomfortable symptoms for your dog. However, these are not generally recommended because coughing is necessary to remove bacteria and phlegm in the respiratory tract.

Incubation time and spread:

The incubation time of Bordetella is 2-14 days which can make it difficult to pinpoint where a dog might have gotten in contact with the bacteria. Dogs can spread the disease to other dogs even before symptoms appear, throughout the illness and bacteria can still shed after a dog starts showing symptoms.

To prevent the spread of Bordetella it is best to isolate  infected dogs from healthy ones until they have fully recovered and to follow proper hygiene practices such as regular hand washing, disinfecting shared objects and surfaces and ensuring proper airflow.


A Bordetella vaccine is available for dogs from puppyhood through adulthood. Once a puppy has received their initial vaccines, they can receive a booster every six to twelve months. The Bordetella vaccine is optional, such like the Flu vaccine in humans, and just like the Flu vaccine in humans it also can not protect against all strains of Bordetella. Talk to your vet to discuss your pet’s risk of Bordetella in order to determine whether they’re a good candidate for the vaccine. 

Here at Happy Dogs Maui we do not require the Bordetalla Vaccine either, however, if your dog is a senior or has a weak immune system we advise for the vaccine. We do require any Bordetella vaccine to be given a minimum of 2 weeks before a dog comes to stay with us - for effectiveness but also because there is a possibility for Bordetella to be shed through freshly vaccinated dogs to other dogs and we want to be sure to keep our dog guests as safe as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *