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Help! My Senior Dog’s Bark Sounds Hoarse

Dachshund barking outdoors

Most dog owners can notice a change in their pet’s bark. This is because you are hearing the same sound daily and your mind gets used to it. Hence, you would immediately observe the variation if your senior dog’s bark sounds hoarse.

If you own an excessive barker, nothing’s wrong if his/her bark changes for a short interval. However, if this condition persists for more than 24 hours, you must visit a vet for a detailed examination. Keep reading to know more about the causes that can make your senior dog hoarse and the ways to counter this situation.

Why Does My Senior Dog’s Bark Sound Hoarse?

Just like humans, the vocal cords of canines are located in their larynx. This sound-producing organ is kept in its place by some ligaments, and any damage to them can be troublesome. For instance, it can change the tone and volume of a pup’s bark. In extreme cases, the dog may have to lose his/her voice completely. Let’s discuss some reasons that can make your senior dog hoarse.

Trauma

Boxer dog chewing a stick laying outdoors in dirst and pinestraw

Any physical damage to the throat can cause an injury to the vocal cords of your dog. It is one of the easiest problems to identify because you know that your pooch was hurt. For example, if your canine friend has an awkward fall on the neck, you would know that he/she is becoming hoarse due to trauma.

Likewise, your dog may have ingested a damaging object, such as a piece of plastic, and it’s causing the problem. In this case, breathing issues are also very common and will require immediate veterinary help.

GI Issues

Boxer dog layihng on a blanket on a floor with its tongue stuck out.

It’s true that vomiting and diarrhea won’t change the bark of your dog. However, serious gastrointestinal problems, like acid reflux and canine gastritis, can damage the larynx. This is because they can make your pooch vomit gastric acid. This acid can also reach the vocal cords of an affected dog and will make him/her hoarse.

Hypothyroidism

Grey faced cocker spaniel laying on a rug

Thyroid glands play an important role in keeping your dog healthy. They secrete different hormones to regulate several vital processes. If anything’s wrong with these glands, the production of these hormones is affected that can cause bad effects. The change in your dog’s bark is one of them.

In some cases, dry skin and loss of fur are also noticed, alongside the weakening of a canine’s bark. This can be an indication of a serious medical problem and a visit to the vet becomes necessary. Fortunately, most cases of hypothyroidism can be treated.

Laryngitis

Senior german shepherd laying in a field of purple tulips

This is a condition in which the internal lining of the larynx becomes inflamed and swollen. Although several reasons can be responsible for laryngitis, acute infections are the most common culprits. For example, kennel cough is one such infection that can affect your pooch. This disease is a form of bronchitis and is considered easily transmissible. Hence, it can be a serious threat if you have multiple canines.  

Laryngeal Paralysis

Grey faced brown senior dog with his mouth open standing outdoors

If your senior dog’s bark sounds hoarse without sustained vocalizations, this can be a likely cause. Laryngeal paralysis is more common among larger breeds, like Labrador Retriever, Saint Bernard, and Siberian Husky. If your canine friend is suffering from this disorder, you will notice labored breathing, especially after exercise. This can even become noisy if proper treatment is not provided.  

Cancer

Chocolate Lab with a greying face laying on the floor

The development of tumors around the throat region of your dog can also change his/her barking sound. Throat cancer is not the only problem because cancers in other parts of the body can also result in these tumors. The exact effect of this problem and its possible treatment is dependent on the type of cancer and its spread.  

What to Do If My Senior Dog’s Bark Sounds Hoarse?

Old red and white dog laying on a blanket.,

If you own an excessive barker, your senior dog’s bark will often sound hoarse. This is because too much barking can stiff the muscles and ligaments around the larynx. Soothing your pup’s throat with ice and keeping him/her calm will resolve this problem. Long walks and interactive dog toys are excellent alternatives to keep your dog occupied.

However, if you feel that your dog’s hoarse bark is due to an underlying medical problem, visit your vet. He/she will perform a detailed examination to rule out all the possible causes. The vet may also ask you some questions that can help him/her in the diagnosis. For example, you may be asked for any other signs that are complementing the change in the bark.

If a problem is identified, the veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate medications. For instance, antibiotics will be given for a bacterial infection in the throat while anti-inflammatory drugs are needed for inflammation. Likewise, bronchodilators can also be used for respiratory troubles of your pup. In case of laryngeal paralysis, most canines are recommended to have surgery.

My Senior Dog No Longer Barks. What Should I Do?

Woman rubbing the face of an old black lab with greying face

The very first thing that you need to do is to take the dog to the vet. Be prepared to tell him/her about the last time your pooch barked. Although it’s not possible to remember the exact details in most cases, you can give a rough estimate. This will help the vet to make a diagnosis.

Once the vet has determined the underlying problem, he/she will come up with a suitable plan of action. For instance, he may provide an anti-inflammatory drug to reverse the effects of excessive barking. Similarly, surgery is also a common alternative, especially if the trachea of a canine is being interrupted.

Stress and anxiety can also be responsible for making a dog quiet. If your senior dog no longer barks, he/she may have lost the energy or motivation to express his/her emotions.    

Most dog owners can notice a change in their pet’s bark. This is because you are hearing the same sound daily and your mind gets used to it. Hence, you would immediately observe the variation if your senior dog’s bark sounds hoarse.

If you own an excessive barker, nothing’s wrong if his/her bark changes for a short interval. However, if this condition persists for more than 24 hours, you must visit a vet for a detailed examination. Keep reading to know more about the causes that can make your senior dog hoarse and the ways to counter this situation.

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