Boarding your dog might be detrimental to your dog’s health, especially if you use a facility that requires the Bordetella or Distemper vaccines.

Bordetella, better known as “kennel cough” is not a disease that is preventable by vaccination. This upper respiratory infection is not much different from a human cold. You cannot protect your dog from kennel cough with this vaccine any more than you can protect yourself from the common cold with a vaccine. In fact, subjecting your dog to this vaccine actually suppresses the dog’s immune system. We learned this the hard way at Save A Dog. When we’ve had kennel cough in our shelter the vaccinated dogs got sicker and took longer to recover. The few dogs that developed pneumonia were dogs that had recently been vaccinated with the bordetalla vaccine.

Distemper is part of a combination vaccine called distemper/parvo, or DA2PP. This is a booster given to puppies in a series, or once if your dog is over six months. Once your dog is a year old, it does not need to be repeated again. In fact, all 27 Veterinary teaching hospitals changed their protocol for the distemper vaccine. Studies show that this vaccine not only does NOT provide additional protection after a year, but that it can cause damage to your dog’s health. Don’t be pressured into giving this potentially dangerous vaccine if your dog has already had it as an adult. Vaccine expert, Dr. Ronald Schultz, says that the vaccine is 98% effective at 15 weeks of age and that your dog’s immune system has a memory for vaccines, so one vaccine affords lifetime protection. He has tested this vaccine on many dogs with subsequent blood work (titers) and has not had to revaccinate any of his test dogs again. Ask for a titer test during your dog’s wellness visit and bring the results with you when you board your dog.

Subjecting your dog to any vaccine prior to boarding is a huge mistake, in my opinion. Vaccines suppress the immune system for approximately two weeks, so if your dog is vaccinated just before boarding, your dog might be going into a stressful situation in a compromised state of health. Stress breaks down the immune system even without a vaccine, so it makes no sense to have your dog subjected to these extra vaccines that aren’t even required by law. Pet owners might not be aware that vaccines contain cancer-causing ingredients such as aluminum hydroxide, formaldehyde, and mercury. Is it worth risking your dog to cancer for the convenience of using one of these boarding kennels?

So if your boarding kennel or doggy daycare requires these vaccines, run the other way. There are plenty of places and even in-home pet sitters who would love your business and your dog will thank you for it.

Read Vaccine Expert Dr. Jean Dodd’s Warning about the Distemper Vaccine:

Dogs’ and cats’ immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus (MLV) vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet (ie: canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper).

If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not “boosted” nor are more memory cells induced.

Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines.”


“Puppies receive antibodies through their mother’s milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies & kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced.

Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system.

A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year, 4 mo) will provide lifetime immunity.”

How to Prepare Your Dog for Boarding

The best way to prepare your dog for boarding is to strengthen your dog’s immune system.

  • Make sure you feed a healthy diet that will provide your dog with real nutrition. You can keep track of the best pet food and check up on the pet food recalls by going to the Web site: http://truthaboutpetfood2.com and sign up on their email blog.
  • Certain vitamins like the B vitamins, serve to calm nerves and act as de-stressors for your dog. Vitamin C helps to fight kennel cough. At Save A Dog we use Dr. Harvey’s Multi-vitamin powder. In addition to the basic vitamins, it contains bee pollen, spirulina, lecithin, and many other ingredients that boost the immune system to fight kennel cough and other diseases. We carry this in our shelter store.
  • Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a popular treatment for gastro-intestinal disorders and a host of other ills. We’ve used it to shorten the duration of kennel cough and we’ve seen the symptoms disappear in as little as 3 days. GSE is also an effective treatment of giardia, another disease often seen in kennels.
  • Probiotics and digestive enzymes will protect your dog’s intestinal tract to lessen your dog’s chance of intestinal distress and resulting diarrhea, which kenneled dogs are prone to get. We carry the NaturVet Digestive Enzymes with Prebiotics and Probiotics. You can also get probiotics at your local health food store.

Vote with your Feet!

Boarding kennel vaccine requirements are not based on science at all. The more pet owners speak up for against these vaccination requirements, the more the trend will change and more boarding kennels will opt for a more holistic protocol. You can offer to sign a waiver that you choose not to vaccinate. If your boarding kennel, day care, or groomer requires these vaccines, vote with your feet. If your boarding kennel or doggy day care does not require these vaccines, send me their name and I will recommend them.

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