When your dog suddenly cannot bark like it normally did, you may wonder if there is a problem. If this hoarseness does not go away within a couple days, it might be a good idea to take it to an animal hospital. There are two main issues that can cause a dog to lose its bark, and both issues can require medical treatment.
Your dog's larynx is the part that allows it to have a voice. Unfortunately, some dogs can develop paralysis in this area, and this condition is more common with large dogs. When this first occurs, your dog's bark might sound raspy. Over time, the dog may not be able to bark at all if the condition worsens. This condition is typically inherited; however, a dog with this may not show any symptoms for the first few years of life.
A vet can determine whether this is the cause of your dog's problem by examining it and running tests, such as x-rays. The worst part about laryngeal paralysis is that it can lead to breathing problems. When this area of a dog is paralyzed, it can create an obstruction in the breathing passageway. Your vet may treat this with a tracheotomy.
The second reason your dog may have lost its bark is most likely due to a growth in the dog's neck somewhere. This could be a tumor or any other type of growth that is near the dog's larynx. To find out if this is the problem, your vet is likely to take x-rays of the dog. The x-rays can reveal if there is something growing inside the dog. If so, the vet will recommend removing the growth.
If there is a growth, the vet will most likely want to test the tissue in it to determine if it is cancerous. If it is, there is a chance the dog may have cancer throughout other parts of its body. If it is not cancerous, removing the growth is still the best form of treatment, but nothing else will typically need to be done.
In some cases, growths will not need to be removed. This is only the case if they are non-cancerous and if they are not causing any issues.
Your dog is an important part of your family. If you are worried about it for any reason, you should contact an animal hospital in your area. For emergency care, check out places like Gwynedd Veterinary Hospital.