Dog Debarking Considerations

If you are thinking about bark softening surgery (dog debarking) for your pet, here are some final considerations to help you choose.

If you have learned the facts about bark softening surgery and are considering the procedure for your own dog, it's important to know the risks and disadvantages in order to make the best choice for your pet, your neighbors, your family, and you.

What Are Disadvantages of Bark Softening?

There are several disadvantages to bark softening surgery, which need to be considered by anyone who is thinking of having the procedure done:
  • As in any surgery, there are risks and possible complications. These include a negative reaction to the anesthesia, swelling, infection, and pain. (Choosing a competent veterinarian and carefully following instructions for post-operative care will minimize these risks.)
  • After debarking, the dog will no longer be able to bark loudly to ward off an intruder or to warn you of trouble.
  • Although the dog's softer bark may be less annoying to the neighbors, some owners find the dog's new sound to be more annoying than before. The dog's new bark usually sounds hoarse, husky, or raspy, or possibly squeaky or wheezy, and some owners find the new sound unpleasant.
  • Scar tissue can develop over time, necessitating further surgeries later in life. (Choosing a skilled and experienced veterinarian to perform the procedure will reduce this risk.)

Next Steps in Bark Softening

If you decide bark softening surgery may be right for you and your dog:
  • First, find out whether the procedure is restricted where you live. The surgery is legal in nearly all parts of the US and Canada, but it is prohibited in the UK, and regulated in Australia.
  • Find a veterinarian who is experienced in debarking dogs. If your regular vet is not qualified, ask for a referral.
  • Be prepared for the veterinarian to ask you questions about what other measures you have tried to control the barking. He or she may recommend consulting a professional dog trainer before performing the surgery.
  • Ask the veterinarian which technique will be used (oral or laryngotomy), and discuss the pros and cons with him or her.
  • Ask the veterinarian for post-operative care instructions for your dog, and follow them carefully and diligently.

See also:
Facts about Bark Softening Surgery

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