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Can Dogs Lose Their Bark?

Most dogs are normally vocal creatures and let their presence be known with a bark or two. You may have trained your dog not to bark indoors or wish that they wouldn’t, but when a dog stops barking or is trying to bark but nothing is coming out; it’s time for a trip to the vet to determine the cause.

Here are some of the reasons your dog may have lost his bark:


Just like humans, dogs can become hoarse when they overuse their vocal cords barking. If your dog has been barking for a long period of time and starts to sound hoarse, this is most likely just normal hoarseness. You should still consult your vet, but the required treatment will most likely be vocal rest.

Laryngeal Paralysis

Dogs can also develop a condition called laryngeal paralysis which is very serious and will most likely require surgery. Symptoms include raspy breathing and a weak or silent bark. Laryngeal paralysis is caused by nerve damage to the dog’s voice box (larynx) which causes it to stop working properly. The condition causes the dogs vocal cords to become swollen which will weaken their bark and compromise their breathing.

Laryngeal Collapse

Laryngeal collapse is a severe, life-threatening condition where the dog’s laryngeal cartilage collapses and blocks his airway. Since your dog can’t tell you what they are feeling, if you notice that your dog is having a hard time breathing, seek immediate vet care. Surgery will most likely be required to treat the condition.

Throat Injury or Obstruction

If your dog is having trouble barking or breathing, check their throat to see if they have an object caught that may be causing them to choke. Symptoms may include continuous coughing, panting, and visible signs of heavy breathing. Dogs can also injure themselves by pulling on their leash during a walk or on their choke chain if they are tied up. Consult your vet if you find something caught in your dog’s throat or if they injury their throat pulling on their leash or chain as medication may be required to avoid infections.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Just like humans, dogs can contract an upper respiratory infection that can lead to laryngitis which causes them to lose their bark or to sound hoarse. Common symptoms of the infection include lack of appetite, reddening of the ears and laryngitis. If your dog has these symptoms but is eating and acting normal, your vet will probably recommend just keeping an eye on him. However, if your dog stops eating or shows a lack of appetite, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or some other medications.

Do you have questions about your dog? While our professional dog walkers are not vets, they are very knowledgeable about dogs and can help assist you with your questions. We can also direct you to a vet to help you get your dog the treatments that he needs if he is experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this article. TAILored Pet Services is here to help you! Give us a call at 425-923-7791 or visit our services page to learn more about our dog walking and boarding services.