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What is Not Barking?

While it may sound pleasant for your dog to stop barking, you want to be sure that his lack of noise is not a result of a medical issue. He may try to bark and no sound comes out, or he may just be uninterested in doing so. There is more than one reason that your dog may not bark to include:

  • He is hoarse as a result of over-barking
  • Breed
  • Personality
  • Health condition

How serious it is that your dog is not barking will depend on the reason why he is not doing so. Should he be hoarse as a result of over-barking or has a relaxed temperament, his not barking won’t be a health concern. If his lack of barking is due to a health condition, how serious it is will depend upon the health condition, which can be relatively minor or more serious.

Why Not Barking Occurs in Dogs

Why your dog is not barking will depend upon its cause. For example:

He is Hoarse as a Result of Over-barking

Your dog may have been barking for a while and have overused his vocal cords. A lot of barking can lead to inflammation of your dog’s vocal cords and cause him to have laryngitis. After giving his voice a rest, his bark will be back.

Breed

Certain breeds of dogs tend not to bark much, if at all. For example, Basenjis and Beagles make a sound that is more like a humming noise than a bark. 

Personality

Each dog has his or her own personality. Some dogs may not like the sound they make when barking or he may prefer to whine or make whimpering sounds. Your dog may be laid-back and easy-going and feel no need to bark.

Health Condition

There are conditions that can lead to your dog not barking. These include laryngeal paralysis and a tumor. In laryngeal paralysis, the structure of your dog’s larynx or voice box will be altered and/or the function will be impaired. In laryngeal paralysis, the laryngeal muscles become weak or paralyzed and the cartilage that is usually supported by those muscles collapses in. In the case of a tumor, one can grow in the larynx or trachea of your dog. The tumor is called Chondrosarcoma, which is a slow growing malignant cancer. The tumor can get in the way of your dog’s ability to eat and breathe and can impact his voice.

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What to do if your Dog is Not Barking

If you find that your dog is not barking, there are a few things to consider. First, think about whether he has ever barked much. Perhaps he was never much of a barker, whether as a result of his personality or breed. Also, think about the last few days and whether your dog was barking more than usual. If he was barking more than he normally does, he may have laryngitis. 

If your dog usually does bark, however has not been barking more than usual, it is a good idea to have him examined by your veterinarian. A full physical examination of your dog will be conducted and your veterinarian will ask you about what symptoms you have noticed in your dog (aside from his not barking), when you first noticed them and any changes that you have observed. You will want to let your veterinarian know if your dog has experienced any physical trauma and let him know if your dog has any prior or current health conditions. During the physical examination, your veterinarian will feel your dog’s throat to see if he can feel any abnormalities. 

Your veterinarian will conduct a complete blood count (CBC) which will show abnormal levels of red and white blood cells and your dog’s hormone levels will be measured through a chemical blood profile. A urinalysis will also likely be conducted in order to measure your dog’s calcium and phosphate levels. The results of these tests will show if your dog has an underlying condition that is leading to laryngeal disease. If your veterinarian has concerns about aspiration pneumonia, he may recommend an x-ray, fluoroscopy and/or bronchoscopy. A chest x-ray may be considered to view your dog’s larynx. Should your veterinarian feel a laryngoscopy (where the larynx will be examined with an endoscope) is necessary to confirm the presence of a mass or determine the level of function, your dog will be sedated before the procedure.

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Prevention of Not Barking

If you notice that your dog is barking excessively, you will want to see what is bothering him and leading to his ongoing barking. If, say, there is something in the yard that is bothering your dog, moving him to a different part of the house may help calm him down and reduce his barking, ultimately leading to his not losing his voice.

As far as preventing health conditions that can lead to his losing his voice, you will want to take your dog to the veterinarian for regular examinations so that any potential issues can be caught early before becoming more severe. You can also speak with your veterinarian about your dog’s diet to be sure that it is meeting his nutritional needs. Regular exercise is also important for your dog’s overall health.

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Cost of Not Barking

The cost of treatment for your dog not barking will depend upon its cause. Should it be the result of over-barking, there will be no cost involved in treatment; after resting his voice his bark should be back. If his not barking is the result of a tumor or laryngeal paralysis, the cost of treatment can range from $1200 to $6,000 depending on the severity of his condition. Regardless of the condition, the cost of treatment will vary based on the location you are seeking treatment and its cost of living.

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Not Barking Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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German Shepard mix with pit bull

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Thirteen Years

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Unknown severity

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Not Barking

My dog has a heat stroke about 2 weeks ago now and he’s doing well he’s eating good and drinking plenty of water, and he still wants to be petted and shown love so everything is normal besides the fact he has only barked 3 times since he’s had the stroke should I be worried

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If he is hoarse and cannot bark, that would concern me, bu tif he just hasn't barked but is doing well otherwise, he may be a little quieter than normal after that occurrence. If he isn't eating or seems lethargic, then it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, but otherwise, I think he should be okay.

July 31, 2020

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Roxy

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Labrador Retriever

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5 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Not Barking

I have a 5 month old blank lab who literally has not barked once. She is not deaf, we have heard her whimper, hack when grass is stuck in her throat and yelp when my son stepped on her paw. Is it normal that she has nor barked one time? She eats, sleeps and plays great and she is very healthy.

June 10, 2018

Roxy's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Some dogs just don’t really bark whilst you cannot shut others up, many times it is down to the personality of the dog; however in some cases it may be a sign of an issue with the larynx or another cause but without examining Roxy I cannot say for certain. If you don’t notice any other symptoms you should keep an eye on her and bring it up with your Veterinarian at her next checkup. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 11, 2018

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Skittles

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pit bull terrier

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

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No Bark

Hello! I just recently adopted a dog who’s previous owners used a shock collar so much they fried her vocal cords and I haven’t heard her bark once since I’ve got her. Is there anything I can do to help improve the strength in her vocal cords? Thanks in advance!!

May 23, 2018

Skittles' Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Thankfully more and more countries are banning them; a shock collar is not a substitute for poor or no training. I cannot think of anything to help Skittles in this case, it is already enough that she is away from her previous owners. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 24, 2018

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Gunther

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German Shepherd Dog

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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I have a two year old German Shepherd/Harrier Hound that I just adopted from a Rescue Shelter. Sweet and friendly - but I've never heard him bark yet. AND he doesn't chase the turkeys or deer on our property. Isn't that odd? Your thoughts?

May 16, 2018

Gunther's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I feel that you may have gotten lucky in your adoption of Gunther, as those are qualities that many would want! I hope that everything continues to go well for him!

May 16, 2018

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Zoey

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Shih Tzu mix

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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Lethargic
Not Eating
Not Barking

Zoey is 10 years old and all of sudden stopped barking. One minute she was barking when someone left (which is normal for her) and then all of a sudden she stopped. She stopped barking, she stopped eating, she got very lethargic, had no energy, didn't want to play. I did take her to the Vet, no temp and they attempted to give her some type of soft food she took a couple of bites but has since refused. No other tests were run. It was only last night that we noticed she was trying to bark and nothing was coming out. She looks so sad and is getting weak. She is drinking water and is having bowel movements and urinating. What do I do?

April 11, 2018

Zoey's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm not sure why blood tests weren't run when you were at your veterinarian, but it seems that she needs further diagnostics. A blood panel would be a good place to start to assess her systemic function and see if she has an underlying problem causing this. I hope that she is okay.

April 12, 2018

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Sally

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Terrier mix

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14 Years

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Moderate severity

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Slight Anemia
High Liver Enzymes
No Barking,

I recently found this thread and I am curious. I have a 14 year old terrier mix. She recently had 2 procedures for a collapsed trachea (she had 2 stents put in). Doctor recommended low to little activity or stress during the first 6 weeks after each procedure. After the first procedure in May 2019 we were very strict with her activity and we would stop her from barking. After the second (Dec 2019) she has not barked at all. She used to bark a lot before her May procedure, she has never been a whiner, if it is of any help I heard her yelp a couple of weeks ago after accidentally stepping on her. Her last lab work did shown high liver enzymes, an infection for which she received antibiotics, and a low anemia. Other than that she eats normally and coughs for attention.

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Brownstone

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Dachshund

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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No Barking
Stopped Barking

Last night my dog stopped barking which unusual for him. He is 6 year old dachshund Pomeranian mix. He usually sleeps in the same bed as my husband and I but he didn’t last night. He still eating and drinking.

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Bailey

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Labrador Retriever

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6 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Not Barking

My 6 mo old lab was just spayed 2 days ago and has not barked since coming home. Could the vet have damaged her vocal cord/ voice box during intubation? Before surgery she would bark if she wanted ice or to play after she would bring me her ball and drop it? If it’s common for dogs to not feel like barking after surgery, how long typically would it take for her to want to bark?

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Codie

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Non Barking Dog

My dog has only barked twice in 5 years, and that was like a bark that surprised her herself that she barked. Even when I moved her from Australia to Holland, she whines at the airport but did not even bark when she saw me in real life picking her up. In her dreams however she growls and barks. Very Cute. My dog is a rescue dow, she used to be an outside dog, owner said she was pure bread American Staffy but DNA says she is English staffy cross German pointer and bullterrier. Sh eloooooves sniffing everything and hunting for squirls or birds and chases deer in the forest. She is abou 5-6 she also never plays with towys. In Australia she was the submissive pack member of a pack of 2 dogs, the other one was the leader and barked to protect the yard. Codie always backed off and did her own laidback aussie thing, nothing. She did get jealous when I patted the alpha dog, butting in. Unfortunately I had to give away the other dog cos I only had $5000 left to fly one dog. Codie loves everyone in the family, she is very easy to get along with. She is a bit overweight we both are since moving to holland, we exercise less, because I am ill. But she loves being off leash and when I say GET she goes out and hunting/exploring the woods, running around. Very nice to see.

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Naomi

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Shih Tzu Yorkie

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3 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Silence
Small Whimpers
No Attempt Of Barking

I got my puppy on February 3rd and she would attempt barking every night because she did not like being alone in her cage. We began to let her sleep in my bed with me and she hasn't barked in the night time since then and stays asleep all night. When she used to bark it was as if she was yelping but her yelping was a mix of a cat if you step on its tail, a puppy attempting to bark, and a pig snorting. During the day she barks when we are playing with her with a toy or come home. Today she took a nap with me on the couch, and then I went to an event and my mom says that during the event she was completely silently even after she woke up and simply wouldn't bark. When I came into the house it was completely silent and even when I walked up to her cage (which is 4 times her size; she's 3.3 lb) she didn't say anything except for a small whimper. When I opened the cage and tried playing with her she still didn't bark. I'm worried because though we yell at her for barking after we put her in the cage for doing something wrong, it's weird to not hear her barking.

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