Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
How to treat and prevent laryngeal paralysis in dogs naturally

How to treat and prevent laryngeal paralysis in dogs naturally

Why choke collars and excessive vaccination should be avoided

Laryngeal paralysis is an uncomfortable condition with several possible causes.

It is preventable with some lifestyle changes. Contrary to the belief in conventional medicine that surgery is the only treatment option, there are natural treatment options that can resolve the disease.

Laryngeal paralysis can be one of the most distressing conditions for the affected dog and his or her guardian. Common symptoms are loud and raspy breath and difficulty breathing. In more advanced cases, severe respiratory distress and coughing are also frequent. This medical condition results from an absence or lack of laryngeal muscle tone due to either the muscles’ inability to respond to nerve impulses or an absence of nerve stimulation.

Conventional medicine usually considers laryngeal paralysis congenital or idiopathic (of unknown origin). The purpose of this article is to show you that from the holistic point of view, laryngeal paralysis is relatively easy to understand and prevent. While the treatment itself is never easy, a holistic approach can yield surprisingly positive results in many cases.

Larynx anatomy

The larynx is located at the top end of the trachea and the rear of the mouth. The larynx consists of the laryngeal cartilages, the vocal cords and the laryngeal muscles as per Figure 1 below. 

The larynx has three main functions:

1. It controls the process of swallowing and prevents aspiration of food and liquid.

2. The laryngeal cartilages provide a framework for the attachment of laryngeal muscles and prevent the airway from collapsing.

3. The larynx provides 'a safe haven' for the vocal cords, which have a key role in vocalization. 

I like to see the larynx as a really sophisticated, anatomically complex and neurologically intertwined system of air and water locks that are in charge of swallowing, breathing and vocalization. Voluntary and involuntary reflexes and nerves control the larynx.

The definition of paralysis

When paralysis is mentioned, most of us usually imagine a leg, arm or face that cannot move due to a spinal injury or degeneration, or an interruption of the nerve impulse flow.

Laryngeal paralysis is a condition that causes the laryngeal muscles to become flaccid due to an interruption of nerve impulses from the cranial nerves originating from the brainstem. This results in a collapse of the laryngeal cartilages, which causes a mild to severe form of respiratory distress, abnormal swallowing and a change in the voice tone. Some past studies have attempted to make the connection between a systemic nervous system degeneration, or even hypothyroidism and laryngeal paralysis, but the cause in most dogs is much simpler.


Before we dive into the most common causes of laryngeal paralysis, I would like to dedicate a few lines to the diagnosis.

Laryngeal paralysis is usually diagnosed under light sedation, during which the larynx is evaluated for the position and movement of the laryngeal cartilages. Healthy laryngeal cartilages open and close with each breath cycle. A paralyzed larynx usually moves less or not at all.

An intranasal endoscopic examination can be performed without sedation, but canine noses are very sensitive and dogs do not tolerate it well. Therefore, I recommend sedation and the more traditional laryngeal exam whenever possible.

Common causes

While I believe that hypothyroidism is not a primary cause of laryngeal paralysis, it makes complete sense that dogs suffering from hypothyroidism may be more prone to laryngeal dysfunction.

When you a have a good understanding of the laryngeal anatomy, it should not surprise you that the use of traditional collars and leashes can cause severe laryngeal injuries. Considering the harmful effects of choke, martingale, prong and shock collars, especially with large dogs that pull on the leash, the effects on their general health can be catastrophic. This is definitely not an exaggeration. Collar injuries can cause severe disruption of energy flow in the body and lead to laryngeal paralysis, skin problems, neck joint injuries, organ and hormonal disease and even cancer.

The use of retractable leashes with a stop mechanism can also cause repeated injury to the larynx, which can lead to paralysis. Even play can be harmful. For example, tug-of-war with a stronger human counterpart, or hanging a dog up in the air while it’s holding a toy or a stick can also cause nerve and energy flow disturbances to the larynx. Similar to humans, most holistic practitioners agree that the health of the patient depends on the health of the spine - the main energy channel in the body.

Of course, it's logical that poor diet and high toxin levels can worsen any medical condition, however, they are not the primary factors in laryngeal paralysis. In summary, injuries, restrictions or constrictions of the upper neck region increases the risk of laryngeal paralysis. There is one more possible cause worth mentioning - rabies vaccine side effects.

Rabies vaccine side effects

In my other articles on vaccines and their side effects, I mention that killed vaccines such as rabies, distemper or parvovirus cannot cause the actual disease, but they appear to cause symptoms similar to the disease itself. From the homeopathic perspective, even killed vaccines carry an energy imprint of the actual disease and this disease energy 'recording' can 'replay' in the form of disease-like symptoms.

For example, the parvovirus vaccine can ignite the symptoms of diarrhea and I have seen the rabies vaccine cause changes in behaviour and make dogs more prone to laryngeal paralysis.

Interestingly, the actual live rabies virus affects the brain and impedes the function of cranial nerves, which also leads to larynx paralysis. Typical symptoms of rabies are the inability to swallow and gagging and choking as if there was something in the throat. Logically, it makes sense that dogs that are repeatedly and unnecessarily vaccinated against rabies may be prone to laryngeal paralysis.

Treatment and prevention

Laryngeal paralysis prevention is much simpler than the treatment. Here is what I suggest:

Use a well-fitted harness where the leash is attached to the front of the chest and the back. Do not attach the leash to a collar especially if your dog pulls - even occasionally.

Never use a martingale, prong, choke or electric collars.

Use a shock-absorbing leash and avoid using a retractable leash because the tension of the spring can be harsh enough to cause serious damage to your dog’s larynx.

Be very careful about playing tug of war with your dog. Let the leash or toy slide through your hand easily and never lift your dog in the air by an object held in his or her mouth.

Have your dog checked by an experienced physical therapist, chiropractor or osteopath every three months, or monthly if your dog is eight years or older. Ask other dog lovers for references and pay attention to the treatment results. If your dog becomes increasingly worse after several treatments, find another practitioner.

If you need to give a rabies vaccine, administer homeopathic remedy Lyssin 200 C after the vaccination as a preventive measure. Consult a holistic vet if you see any changes in your dog’s health or behaviour.

Of course, it goes without saying that a proper natural diet, without kibble or grain, and natural, high-quality supplements are the key to any disease prevention.

If your dog has been diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis, apply all the steps as mentioned above, but increase the frequency and intensity of physical therapy or chiropractic treatment. Be patient and do not let yourself be discouraged with slow progress. It has taken years for the symptoms of this chronic condition to appear and will take at least the same time for it to get better.

If your dog experiences respiratory distress, make sure his or her sleeping area is cool and well-aired. If your dog pants at night, consider a fan or air-conditioner, especially if you live in a hot or humid area. I find that many older dogs have this tendency, which may be due to liver weakness and toxin build-up. Every dog with laryngeal paralysis will benefit from a semi-annual liver cleanse. I also suggest feeding in the late afternoon as opposed to the evening. The digestion process generates a lot of heat, so if you feed early, you can reduce the chances of laboured breathing at night.

Homeopathic treatment can also reduce the symptoms of laryngeal paralysis. However, each case should be individually assessed and I recommend you consult with an experienced veterinary homeopath.

Reactive versus proactive medicine

If your dog has been affected by laryngeal paralysis, you now know how to address this condition. However, if he or she has been lucky enough to not be affected by this condition, I hope this information will help you prevent it. Please pass this article on to your friends and thank you for interest in keeping your dog healthy and happy naturally.

 © Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM


About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.



Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping