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My Senior Dog No Longer Barks – Reasons & Solutions

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Nothing remains the way it is. You will find that your dog may start acting differently with old age. If your old or senior dog no longer barks, it’s important to evaluate the situation: the root cause may be a serious underlying medical condition.

It may seem nice at first when your older dog no longer barks – this means less noise in the household. However, you must be sure that there is no medical issue that prevents your dog from barking.

How Breed and Personality Come Into Play

Before we dwelve into the details to understand why your dog is no longer barking, it is important to consider that every dog has a different personality and that different breeds have different barking habits. Some dogs do not like to bark loudly, while some do (some dogs even dislike their barks, and produce whimpering-like sounds). Some breeds such as Beagles and Fox Terriers bark a lot. Other breeds such as French bulldogs do not bark much.

If your dog no longer barks, it could be simply because he/she is easy-going and no longer feels the need to bark. However, if your dog used to bark a lot and suddenly stops barking at an old age, it is important to find the root causes of this change.

Reasons Why Your Old Dog May No Longer Bark

Over-barking

If your dog has barked more than usual, he may have over-used his vocal cords. Consequently, his vocal cords might have swollen. Laryngitis is a condition that develops when the vocal cords and larynx swell. Laryngitis does not only swell because of over-barking; it could also be due to an infection. In either case, your dog should be able to bark after some rest. In the case of an infection, your vet might prescribe an anti-biotic to help with the inflammation.

Stress

In many ways, dogs are like humans. In this busy world, dogs can be stressed and feel anxious due to many reasons, such as the feeling of being abandoned, a loud environment, or the presence of strangers and other animals. Stress can lead to many abnormal changes in behavior. One of which can be acting strange or not barking. If your dog has stopped barking, could it be due to a change in environment or living conditions?

Health conditions

Health conditions can affect the larynx or voice box of your old dog. There are two conditions in particular that might explain why your old or senior dog is no longer barking:

1) laryngeal paralysis in which the larynx or voice box loses its structure. In this case, the muscle that supports the vocal cords collapses. As a result, its function is altered or impaired. The cords become weak or paralyzed.

2) a tumor that grows in the trachea or larynx of your dog could also result in your dog no longer barking. Cancer, or chondrosarcoma can grow slowly in the trachea or larynx and has characteristics of a malignant tumor. Your dog might be unable to eat or drink, and it can impact barking.

These two conditions can be serious and impact your dog’s barking, and it is important to find the cause to implement an effective treatment.

What should I do when my old dog no longer barks?

Whenever you observe your dog no longer barking, there are few things you can do.

First of all, you should try to remember the last time your dog barked and how often your dog barked. It might be hard to remember the details, but it will be helpful information for your veterinarian.

Second, you should try to remember whether your dog has barked more than usual in recent days. If your dog has barked more than usual, a laryngeal inflammation or laryngitis could be preventing your dog from barking normally.

However, if you believe that your dog has not barked more than average in the past few days, it is best to let the veterinarian examine your dog. The veterinarian will do a thorough examination of your dog, starting from the head and ending at the tail to find any abnormality that can be causing a problem.

Your vet will ask you when you first observed the abnormal behavior and observed the changes. Therefore, you must carefully observe your pet to provide helpful information to your veterinarian.

At the same time, if stress is the reason why your old dog no longer barks, you may try engaging your dog in different activities to relieve anxiety. Older dogs enjoy their daily routines and activities. They prefer sticking to that routine. If there is too much change or stress-inducing factors in their environment, they may get restless and change their behaviors – including barking.

How can you prevent this problem in the first place?

To prevent this situation from happening, you should do the following.

First of all, you must let your dog eat healthy (see our information on nutrition for older dogs). You must review your dog’s diet to ensure that it meets the needs of an older dog.

Second, you should make sure that your dog has a physical exercise routine. Regular physical training can prevent abnormalities from occurring. Following a proper diet schedule and exercise schedule will help increase chances that your dog does not suffer from this condition (Read our page on The Importance Of Exercising Older Dogs.)


WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]


Third, you must visit your vet regularly so that a thorough examination can help spot abnormalities before they become issues.

Author

  • Dr. Winnie earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa.She has been an animal lover and owner all her life, having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! She is a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, 2 kids and Big G.


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