Many of us know how it feels to lose our voices. Whether this is down to an illness such as the flu or whether it is because we have been talking too much or too loud, it can be very frustrating. Trying to talk to others and make yourself heard when your voice is on its way out or gone altogether can be annoying and challenging.
However, over time, our voice returns, which always comes as a relief. When it comes to your dog, you may have noticed that sometimes they sound a little hoarse. Well, this is because dogs can also lose their voices!
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Signs of Voice Loss in Dogs
When dogs lose their voices, it can be for the same reasons as humans – either due to an illness such as a cold or because of excessive barking. It can also be the cause of a range of conditions such as respiratory disorders.
If your dog has had a cold, you may notice that during the period of the illness or shortly after the other symptoms have disappeared, its voice starts to sound hoarse and strained. Likewise, if your dog has been barking incessantly for a pretty lengthy period, you may find that it puts so much strain on the voice box that it loses its voice.
So, what are the signs that your dog has lost its voice? Well, it may stay completely quiet for far longer periods than usual. However, if your dog is the type that barks at anything, it won’t be able to resist. When it tries to bark you may notice a rasping sound and the bark will sound much weaker than usual.
Your dog may also show signs of distress when it loses is voice, which could include tail ticking and acting in a subdued manner, whining if it is able to get its voice out, and a loss of appetite. However, the signs can vary based on the cause of the voice loss.
Looking at your dog’s body language is important because it can provide you with a better idea of the cause of the voice loss. While excessive barking and the effects of a cold are common reasons behind loss of voice, there could be more sinister causes that you have to consider.
If your dog shows signs of labored breathing, coughs a lot, or makes squeaking noises, it could be a sign of obstruction. If it is caused by a respiratory problem, your dog may be wheezing or turning away from food because of swallowing difficulties. It may also spend time trying to hide somewhere quiet, as dogs often do when they are unwell.
Signs your pooch may have lost their voice include:
- Lip licking
- Head turning
- Raspy panting
- Tail tucking
More signs you should watch for if you think your dog has lost their voice are:
- Pawing at mouth or nose
- Labored breathing
- Swallowing difficulties
The History of Dogs Losing Their Voice
Studies that have been carried out into canine health over the years have concluded that a dog can lose its voice for a variety of different reasons in the same way as humans can. This includes overuse of the vocal chords, which is a common reason for short-term voice loss.
However, there are also other conditions that can cause longer-term issues, which is why experts state that dogs should receive medical attention quickly if they lose their voice in case the root cause is something more serious. Some of the causes that have been identified through years of study into canine voice loss include laryngeal collapse, obstruction of the airway, injury to the vocal chords, infections, and respiratory problems.
For dog owners, it is important not to dismiss loss of voice and assume that it is down to something simple, because this may not be the case. Some causes of voice loss can be very serious, which is something that has been discovered through historical research into canine health. This makes it all the more important to get your dog checked out by the vet if it does lose its voice, particularly if the voice loss continues over a longer period.
The Science Behind Voice Loss in Dogs
As with humans, voice loss in canines is common and can be caused by various different things. Some of the root causes of voice loss are pretty simple and will sort themselves out, such as overusing the vocal chords by barking incessantly.
Other causes are not obvious at all and could prove to be dangerous, such as an infection or an obstruction in the throat. By making sure you get your dog seen by a vet, you can make sure that it does not suffer and that it is treated for the problem that has caused the voice loss.
Determining the Cause of Voice Loss
Making sure you pay attention if your dog loses its voice is very important, as you need to ensure that there is nothing sinister afoot. If your dog has been barking a lot and then loses its voice for a short period, the chances are that it has put too much pressure on the vocal chords.
However, sometimes there is no obvious reason for the voice loss, so it is important to determine the cause. It is best to take your dog in sooner rather than later, as if it is something more serious, it could result in dire consequences if not addressed and treated quickly.
You can check your dog’s mouth to see whether there is any inflammation toward the back of the throat or any obvious obstruction that can be seen when you look inside the mouth. If you cannot see anything or if there are inflammation and redness, you need to take your pooch to be seen by the vet.
Likewise, even if there is no redness or inflammation, you still need to take your dog in so that the vet can check to see what has caused the voice loss. Sometimes, the cause of the problem will not be obvious, so a detailed examination is necessary.
Once the vet has checked your dog and determined the cause of the voice loss, appropriate treatment can then be sorted out. However, the treatment will depend on the cause – for instance, if it is something such as kennel cough, your dog may have to be out on a course of antibiotics and canine elixir.
It is important to ensure you continue the treatment as advised by your vet even if your dog’s voice returns, as often the full course of treatment is necessary to ensure that the problem does not reoccur.
How to React to Your Dog's Voice Loss:
Administer treatment as advised by the vet.
Get your dog to the vet to be seen.
Check for obstructions in the airways.
Check your dog to see if there is inflammation or redness.