Most puppies are not quiet. In addition to barking for attention, they bark because they're bored, lonely, frustrated and hungry, as well as yapping at just about anything that moves. All this noise-making can temporarily hurt your puppy's voice box, but there are other potential causes as well. If you suspect a problem or don't know why his voice sounds hoarse, seek veterinary treatment immediately.
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A puppy can bring on laryngitis by constantly barking, whining and making noise. His larynx, or voice box, becomes tired and strained from too much use, and his bark will start to sound hoarse. Most puppies don't lose their voice entirely from too much barking, but lose the ability to project their voice or bark loudly. Instead, the sound comes out as a strange scratchy sound or honking.
Puppies born with a malformed or weak trachea, or windpipe, may suffer from a collapsed trachea at a young age. Miniature and toy breeds, such as the Yorkshire terrier are especially prone to this condition. It is a serious medical condition, since the puppy cannot breathe properly. This lack of air will cause his bark to sound unusual, either high pitched and weak or hoarse since he cannot draw or expel enough air to make a regular barking sound.
Upper Respiratory Infection
Bordetella bronchiseptica, commonly called kennel cough, is a pneumonia-like upper respiratory infection that causes a deep, hacking cough. This constant coughing strains the vocal chords in much the same way as continuous barking and can make it sound as thought he puppy has lost his voice. Any other upper respiratory or throat infection can have the same effect.
Choking and Vomiting
Young puppies are known to chew on, and swallow, all sorts of things that are not meant to be eaten. If a foreign object becomes lodged in your puppy's throat for any length of time, it may cause swelling that affects the voice box and in turn makes the puppy's bark sound hoarse. A bout of vomiting can have the same effect as acid irritates and inflames the larynx.
Many of the other causes of a hoarse or lost voice usually occur in older dogs rather than puppies, but are not necessarily exclusive to dogs. Severe allergies, hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, throat tumors and infection after surgery can all cause a puppy to lose his voice. Your puppy should receive veterinary treatment if you suspect any of these causes.
By Carlye Jones
About the Author
Carlye Jones is a journalist, writer, photographer, novelist and artisan jeweler with more than 20 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, photography, crafting, business and travel. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.