Excessive barking can strain a dog’s vocal cords, leading to hoarseness or a raspy voice. Over time, this strain can result in vocal cord damage or inflammation. Like in humans, voice overuse can wear out the vocal mechanisms, potentially causing long-term changes to the dog’s bark.
Common Causes a Dog May Loose Voice
Just as shouting can cause humans to lose their voice, dogs that bark excessively might end up with a hoarse or non-existent bark. For instance, a dog might bark continuously during fireworks or thunderstorms and later sound raspy.
This is the inflammation of the larynx, often due to infections, irritants, or excessive barking. For example, a dog with kennel cough may develop laryngitis and lose its voice as part of the symptoms.
Trauma to the neck or throat, like from a too-tight collar or a choking incident, can affect the vocal cords. For instance, a dog that pulls hard on a leash might injure its throat over time.
Dogs are curious creatures and might swallow or get foreign objects lodged in their throats. A dog that has tried to swallow a small toy and got it stuck might end up with a strained voice.
Tumors or Growths
Neoplastic growths around the throat or larynx can affect a dog’s voice. For example, an older dog that starts to sound hoarse without a clear reason might have a growth affecting its vocal cords.
Conditions like kennel cough, bronchitis, or pneumonia can affect a dog’s respiratory system and voice. For instance, a dog with a persistent cough might soon sound hoarse or lose its voice entirely.
Paralysis of the Larynx
Laryngeal paralysis is a condition where the larynx muscles do not function properly. This condition, often seen in older, larger breeds like Labradors, can lead to a change in bark tone or loss of voice.
How to Treat Hoarse Bark or Voice Issues in Dogs?
If your dog has a hoarse bark or voice issues, the treatment approach will largely depend on the underlying cause. Here’s a general guideline for addressing such issues:
- Rest the Voice: Dogs can benefit from reduced barking just as humans need to rest their voices when hoarse. Keeping the environment calm and reducing stimuli that cause barking (e.g., covering windows if outdoor activity triggers the barking) can help.
- Provide Moisture: Using a humidifier in the room can help soothe and hydrate the dog’s throat, especially if the hoarseness is due to excessive dryness or minor irritation.
- Keep up-to-date with Vaccinations: Respiratory infections like kennel cough can be prevented with regular vaccinations.
- Avoid Irritants: Exposure to smoke, chemicals, or certain plants can irritate a dog’s throat. Make sure your dog’s environment is free from such irritants.
- Anti-inflammatory Medications: Vets may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids if the hoarseness is due to inflammation. For example, a dog with laryngitis may be given these to reduce swelling.
- Remove Foreign Bodies or Tumors: Surgical intervention might be necessary if the hoarseness is due to a foreign object lodged in the throat or tumors. A dog that has swallowed a toy, for instance, might need it surgically removed.
- Weight Management: Overweight dogs are more prone to respiratory and throat issues. Maintaining a healthy weight can alleviate strain on the respiratory system.
- Surgery for Laryngeal Paralysis: In cases of laryngeal paralysis, surgery may be recommended to allow easier breathing and to prevent further voice issues.
- Antibiotics or Antiviral Medications: The vet may prescribe appropriate medications if the voice issue is due to a bacterial or viral infection.
- Avoidance of Neck Strain: Using a harness instead of a neck collar can reduce strain on the dog’s neck, especially if the dog has a habit of pulling on the leash.
- Regular Vet Check-ups: Regular vet visits can help identify potential issues early on and provide appropriate guidance and treatment
Signs of Dog Losing Voice
- Hoarseness in bark
- Reduced bark volume
- Difficulty swallowing
- Gagging or retching
- Breathing difficulties
- Increased or labored panting
- Change in bark tone
- Complete absence of barking when attempting to vocalize
- Frequent throat-clearing or swallowing motions
- Restlessness or anxiety due to the inability to bark
Will my Dog’s Hoarseness go away on its own?
Hoarseness in dogs can sometimes resolve independently, especially if it’s due to temporary factors like excessive barking or minor throat irritations. However, if the hoarseness persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it could indicate a more serious underlying condition that requires veterinary attention. Always monitor your dog’s health and seek professional advice if in doubt.
Do old Dogs lose Voice?
Yes, older dogs can experience changes in their bark, including reduced volume or hoarseness. This can be due to age-related weakening of the vocal cords, laryngeal paralysis, or other age-associated health issues. Just like humans may have a weaker voice in old age, dogs can exhibit similar changes as they age.