Skip to main content

Bordetella at home: Can you vaccinate your dog yourself?

There’s a lot you can make at home for your dog, DIY dog treats, homemade toys, etc. But what about vaccinations? It’s true! Bordetella vaccine administration can be performed right from your own living room, and it’s not as scary as you’d think.

Still, it’s important to know and take all of the necessary precautions before jumping in. This ensures your dog’s safety in more ways than one, and it saves you the trouble of having to run to the vet if anything seems off. Still, side effects and mistakes are rare when all instructions are followed. Many pet parents are more capable of administering the vaccine than they realize, though whether they decide to or not is up to them.

Here’s how to give the Bordetella vaccine at home.

Someone holds a vaccine syringe as a black dog waits in the background

Where to buy Bordetella vaccines

Though it’s not recommended by veterinarians, you can administer the Bordetella vaccine to your dog right at home. Some vets even sell the vaccines from their own offices, though sometimes only to registered breeders (via PetMD). In order to purchase these vaccine doses, you’ll need to fill out and submit a release form that relinquishes all of the vet’s responsibility for the safety of the shot.

If your vet’s office doesn’t sell supplies to pet parents who want to vaccinate their dogs at home, you can purchase Kenne-Jec 2 Kennel Cough Dog Vaccine at a number of trusted stores and sites. You will likely need a prescription to complete the purchase, so you’ll still need to talk to your vet. This particular formula can be given to dogs as young as three weeks old, so you can start vaccinating your puppy right away. Want to know the best news? There are no needles involved!

Please read through Pet MD’s sample Vaccine Release Form to understand the importance of properly handling and administering your dog’s vaccine. From handling the syringes to the way you dispose of the used medical items, you’ll need to make smart choices for your dog, yourself, and the environment.

Is it safe to DIY my dog’s Bordetella vaccine?

Administering your dog’s own Bordetella vaccine can be safe and sanitary, but you’ll need to follow strict instructions. Make sure to follow any storage or handling suggestions listed on the packaging to give your pup the most effective vaccine. Double-check the packaging and expiration dates on the labels of your products too.

If you have any lingering concerns about the safety or efficacy of Bordetella vaccines—intranasal or injectable—talk to your vet before proceeding. If you like, they will happily show you how to administer the Bordetella vaccine to your dog for the first time, so then you’ll be a pro when their booster doses are due.

Someone in latex gloves pulls a vaccine into a syringe while a Pug waits in the background
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do I administer my dog’s Bordetella vaccine?

  • To give your dog the intranasal Kenne-Jec 2 vaccine for kennel cough, you’ll want to unwrap and remove the stoppers from both vials in the package.
  • Use the included dropper to drop 1 mL of liquid diluent into the vaccine vial, then shake well to mix.
  • Next, draw the vaccine mixture back into the dropper and gently drop it into your buddy’s nostril.

It may not be the most comfortable experience for your pup, but it’s easier than using a needle to inject the medication.

Veterinarian Donald Bramlage, DVM, uploaded a helpful video about the process of mixing and administering intranasal vaccines—take a look! Sometimes a visual example can make the steps even clearer. As you can see, he also has an assistant to help hold the dog still as he gently drips the medication into the pup’s nose, so it may be helpful to have someone help you when it’s time to administer the vaccine. Don’t forget to give your buddy a treat when you’re all done!

One of the most important steps in vaccinating your dog is keeping an eye on them afterward. In the vast majority of cases, there are zero problems from intranasal vaccinations, but anaphylaxis is a remote possibility. Veterinarian T.J. Dunn, Jr., DVM, has administered about 200,000 vaccines in his career and has only seen an anaphylactic reaction three times. Each time, quick medical intervention was able to save the dogs’ lives. Think of this as just one more reason to consult your veterinary team before giving your dog the Bordetella vaccine.

Now that you know what’s involved, how do you feel about vaccinating your dog at home? It will surely save you money versus going to the vet, but only you can decide whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
5 interesting things you might not know about the German shorthaired pointer dog breed
These are interesting facts to know about your pointer
a dark german shorthaired pointer adult in the park in the fall

With floppy ears, deep eyes, and a proud stance, the German shorthaired pointer is a stunning (and adorable) dog breed. These pups have won over human companions for their friendly nature and high intelligence. Bred to hunt in Germany (hence the name) in the 1800s, German shorthaired pointer dogs are now most commonly loving family pets. Knowing key facts about a breed before you welcome a dog into your home can help ensure you can be that pet's forever family. Of course, the learning never stops. Understanding more about a breed's personality can help you troubleshoot issues and ensure the pet is getting all their needs met, keeping them healthy and happy and your sofa intact. If you're considering a German shorthaired pointer dog or already call one your best friend, these facts will help.

German shorthaired pointers are loving
Think "larger dog" means scary? Think again. German shorthaired pointers are a medium-sized breed with loads of love to give. These dogs are considered highly affectionate with family members and generally good with small children. Human and dog parents will always want to monitor interactions between children and dogs, as even the most loving animal can grow tired of a toddler poking their eyes and pulling their floppy ears.

Read more
What to expect when your dog’s expecting: A dog pregnancy guide
Weekly guide to your dog's pregnancy stages
a pregnant brown American pit bull mix with a bow around her stomach poses standing on a wooden crate with flowers

Jodi Jacobson/Getty Images Jodi Jacobson / Getty Images
Whether or not you’re planning on breeding your dog, there’s a lot of value in learning about dog pregnancy stages and how to care for a dog who’s expecting. Especially if you're the kind of person who would rescue a dog in need, you never know when you (or someone around you) might benefit from this knowledge. As adorable and exciting as puppies are, do you know how to handle what comes first?
If you look at dog pregnancy week by week, it’s much simpler to understand. You’ll be able to break down the tasks and to-do’s so you’ll always be able to give your expectant pup the love and care she deserves. Nothing is better than a healthy and happy mama and babies! Here’s what you need to know:

How long is a dog pregnant?
Although there is an answer, the reality of every pregnancy will vary. The American Kennel Club reports that the average gestation period for a dog is 63 days from conception to birth. This can vary because it can be nearly impossible to tell exactly when conception occurs in canines. Once mating occurs, sperm can stay alive inside the female for up to a few days. Puppies are fully developed around day 58, so labor can begin as early as then.

Read more
Why do dogs cough? What you need to know
The reasons behind your coughing pooch
A small brown dog lying on the back of a sofa in mid-yawn

As a dog owner, it can be easy to worry whenever your furry friend starts exhibiting symptoms of ill health. From reverse sneezing to a loss of appetite, just about any new change could make a pet parent keep an eye out. We all want the best for our furry friends, of course, but we don't always know what it means when a new symptom comes up.
For example, you may be asking yourself, 'Why is my dog coughing?' It's no secret that there are lots of causes behind canine coughing (not to be confused with reverse sneezing), but it's not always clear what to look for. Fortunately, we're here to explain several of the most common causes of dog coughing and what each case may look like. Hopefully, you'll have more answers soon!

Why is my dog coughing like something is stuck in his throat?
If your dog's persistent cough sounds dry and hacking, or even like a spasm or wheeze, your pooch might be suffering from tracheal collapse. This happens when a dog's trachea, or windpipe, becomes "soft and floppy." It's more common among flat-faced dog breeds like boxers, Shih Tzus, and pugs, but it can also occur in dogs who are overweight or who suffer from allergies. It worsens in hot temperatures or during exercise,

Read more