Ask the Veterinarian/Hoarse voice


QUESTION: On May 6th-13th my mom, brothers, and I went on vacation and we left our 6 year old Brittany Spaniel dog, Dixie with my dad for the week. My dad worked that week from like 6 am to 9 am so Dixie wasn't supervised very well. She was in our house but I'm sure she barked at everything that was in her sight as that is what she usually does when we are home but of course we tell her to stop barking. The day after we got back I noticed her voice was hoarse and it sounded like she was loosing it. It's been about a week and her voice isn't getting any better. I have a cold right now so do u think her voice is hoarse because she is sick? Or because she might have barked so much the week we were gone? Also, is there anything I can do to help her get it back?  And is this a normal thing to happen to dogs or should I be concerned?

ANSWER: It is normal for a dog to be hoarse from barking too much. Without taking her to the vets about the only thing you can do is give her a buffered aspirin with her food twice a day for a few days and see if that helps. Do NOT use TYLENOL OR IBUPROFEN. These are fatal to dogs. READ the labels before you give them to her. One buffered aspirin twice a day WITH food.

If not, she needs to see the vet and get some prednisone for the inflammation in her throat.
Then once she is better, you need to do some behavioral modification with her because constant barking is a sign of an untrained dog that has bad manners. "Telling" her to stop barking isn't training her. And if she does this when you are home then she is probably 10 times worse when you are not home.
So get her into some obedience training or look online about clicker training. She really needs to have something done before she hurts herself seriously.

I would also have to wonder about your dad working 27 hour days himself. Seems like a bit too much....

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank u for answering my questions. I just wanted to clarify a few things you answered rudely about. First, my dad works 6 am - 9 pm so that is a 12 hour day. Second, when I said "we tell her to stop barking" I meant we discipline her. We have tried lightly tapping her head, firmly but not yelling telling her "quiet", lightly squirting her with water but nothing seems to work. We don't want to get a bark collar because I feel that is abusive but we are trying to train her not to bark. I just wanted to clarify those few things as I felt you answered a little rudely. Thank you though for the advice, and I will train my crazy dog before she hurts herself SERIOUSLY ;)

HI Kylie,
I'm sorry if I sounded rude, that was not at all my intention. You yourself stated that your father was working, and I quote, "My dad worked that week from like 6 am to 9 am." If you re-read your answer that is what you stated. I was just concerned is all!

It's very, very hard to train a dog out of barking all the time. One of the hardest things to un-train but it's doable. Some breeds of dogs are just notorious for barking constantly.

One suggestion that Uncle Matty has ( to use an empty soda can, fill it with pennies, then rattle it or throw it near the dog when they start to do an undesirable behavior. We don't want to call it a bad behavior, but something that is undesirable for the dog to engage in (like running away from you).

That breaks the dogs concentration on whatever she is barking at, and then you praise her for stopping.

Uncle Matty has a whole section (in the link) on DIY training. I said that about "hurting herself seriously" because incessant barking is a form of separation anxiety in dogs. Some dogs will go so far as to dig them selves out of a room right through the flooring, the doors or break windows to get out and look for their owners. It's happened, believe me.

You can look up many websites on separation anxiety or even just on the barking and see if you can find something to incorporate into your training routine. I agree with you on bark collars, and besides they never seem to work.

So forgive me for sounding rude when I wasn't trying to be. I was kidding about your dad but you did say he was working 27 hour days...:-)

Let me know how the training goes and so I can pass on any useful tips you come up with to others.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 35 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 550 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

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Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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