Is Debarking Surgery Effective for Stopping Dog Barking?

Pet owners often consider debarking surgery as an effective means to stopping dog barking. Often debarking surgery is a last resort measure to quiet the bark of dogs with loud barks. It is also a procedure that causes a dog some pain while he recovers.

If you decide the surgical procedure is a necessary step in stopping dog barking, remember that your dog will still make some noise. Debarking surgery does not quiet a dog completely.

What Is Debarking Surgery

In a dog debarking surgery, a vocal cordectomy is given. A small incision is made either through the dog's mouth or through the front of the neck. Once the vocal cords are located, the folds of tissue that create the sound around the vocal cords are removed. Blood vessels are cauterized, the area is stitched up and then the veterinarian and owners must make sure the healing incision is kept clean to prevent infection.

Post-operative care involves keeping your dog from being too active or trying to bark while the area is still healing. If swelling occurs, your dog may need to take anti-inflammatory medications.

Debarking surgery does come with risks. If scar tissue develops, it can block a dog's airways leading to the potential for suffocation. If scar tissue does occur, additional surgeries are required to remove the tissue. Often, this pattern repeats throughout the remainder of the dog's life. If the scar tissue does not block the airways, it will eventually cause the dog's bark to return.

After debarking surgery, most dogs still bark, but at a much softer level.

How Long Will a Debarking Surgery Remain Effective

In some dogs, a debarking surgery is effective for much of the dog's lifetime. If enough scar tissue fills in the gap where the tissue was removed, the dog's bark will return. Some pet owners see this happen within three years and then request a new surgery for stopping dog barking.

Devocalization Surgery Helps Quiet Dogs

Pet owners who opt to have their dog's vocal cords surgically altered do so as a last resort. They live in apartment buildings, condos or communities where barking annoys neighbors. They are often told to quiet their pet or get rid of him.

However, there are other places where the person owns more dogs than is allowed by housing bylaws or town regulations that use debarking surgery to keep it hidden that they are housing too many dogs. This is an area of concern to authorities.

Check Your State Laws

Stopping dog barking through surgery is considered inhumane by many groups. New Jersey and California tried to pass laws making debarking surgeries illegal. Neither attempt worked.

Ohio banned debarking surgeries on dog breeds considered vicious. In this case, Ohio officials felt that debarking surgeries on vicious animals removes any warning someone would receive before passing a property with an attack dog.

Massachusetts is currently deciding on Logan's Law that would outlaw devocalization of any cat or dog.

In the United Kingdom, debarking surgery is prohibited in any dog or cat.

Make sure debarking surgery for stopping dog barking is legal in your state or you could face hefty fines.