Can Dogs Damage Their Vocal Cords by Barking?

Your dog's incessant barking is more than just a nuisance. Over time, it can actually cause damage to his voice box, or larynx. If your noisy pal becomes hoarse, take him to the vet for an examination. Your vet must rule out other more serious causes of canine hoarseness, such as kennel cough or throat cancer.


While other triggers can cause laryngitis, such as respiratory tract infections, smoke or dust, constant barking can result in voice box inflammation. Brachycephalic barkers -- short-headed breeds like the boxer or Lhasa apso -- are particularly vulnerable. Besides hoarseness, symptoms include coughing and difficulty breathing and swallowing. Fluids may accumulate and the larynx will swell -- bad news for Fido!


Your vet might prescribe steroids for swelling reduction, along with anti-inflammatory medication and cough suppressants. Not only do you need to keep your dog calm while he recuperates, you'll need to do your best to keep him quiet. We know that this is easier said than done, but you can take steps to reduce his barking by keeping him away from windows and other areas where he might get a glimpse of (or hear) people, other animals, and other stimuli that may cause him to bark.

By Jane Meggitt


About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.