Thursday, November 20, 2014

Never Surrender Your Voice..

My first contribution to Everyday Health..

Debarking: Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Dogs

Published Nov 18, 2014
IMG_5843By Krista Magnifico, DVM, Special to Everyday Health
(Abbreviated blog)
In case you’ve never heard of it, debarking used to be considered a permissible and reasonable practice for vets. If a client complained of an incessantly disruptive pet, the vet would surgically remove, or damage, the dog’s vocal chords. A muffled, throaty whisper of a woof would result, like a lifelong case of laryngitis.
Why am I so opposed to debarking dogs? If it is important for us to remember that we each have our own voice and must be true to it, why isn’t the same true for the rest of our family members?
Dogs bark for many reasons, and they only bark for reasons they believe are completely justified. It’s not like singing in the shower, humming a little tune to make ourselves happy, or whistling on a sunny day. Dogs only talk with purpose and intent.
There are no stupid dogs, there are only dogs trying to tell us something. Like “beware,” “intruder,” “far-off dog barking,” “I hear a storm coming,” or “I’m bored/lonely.” Dogs talk when they need to tell us something. Muffling that voice is denying them their purpose, their protection, and their voice.

We all have a lot to say..
For my entire article on debarking please visit Everyday Health here.

Post script;
I received a few comments to this blog from veterinarians. Overwhelmingly they all felt as if they did not want to perform this procedure but thought it was an acceptable option when elected as a last resort to surrender or euthanasia. I hear the same thing from the vets who believe that declawing is acceptable if it will save a life and place a pet in a home. Do I think that anything is acceptable in the face of death? Well, I suppose that life is always more valuable than death, but I also hold all of us to a higher standard of compassion and humanity and I still see parenting as an elective choice fraught with responsibility and an expectation that you will be a better person if only because someone else depends on you to be. How is expecting someone to conform to what I expect them to be a way to honor the beauty of an individual?

Krista Magnifico, DVM, is the founder and chief creative officer of, overseeing creative vision and user experience. She earned her veterinary degree from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005, and has had her own practice in Northern Maryland since. She has a strong interest in animal welfare and educating and inspiring people to take better care of their companions. Follow her on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.
This article was published on Everyday Health is creating a pet health column for pet health and I am honored and excited to be asked to participate in their quest to provide columns to inspire, educate, and provoke their audience. Their audience is 40 million users, 50 million newsletter subscribers, and 5 million social media followers. They provide helpful, credible content on a wide assortment of health topics. Give them a peek today, check out the recipes!! (and if you find a good one could you bring me a small sample)? Thanks!
Related Blogs; Twitter Trash Talk


  1. I am in full agreement that debarking is cruel and unusual punishment for dogs. Thank you for standing up for dogs. Will share this story.

    1. Thank you for reading and for sharing..and most especially for being a voice for the animals!
      With Love,

  2. How sad. Just the thought of debarking has me tearing up. I have very vocal German shepherds. They bark, whine, sing, howl, talk and groan. It's funny and endearing. I can't imagine then NOT vocalizing.

    As far a "excessive barking" I would hope that could be fixed with training, exercise and environmental changes. When my dogs bark I thank them -- I want them to bark -- and then tell them to hush (a separate trained command). I've noticed that if my dogs are exercised they are too tired for boredom barking, and I fix holes in the fence ASAP so that they're not barking at everything that moves. The neighbors appreciate that!

    I think debarking is barbaric too. Thank you for taking stand against it.

    1. For those of us who truly love, value, and honor our pets the idea of removing their voice, their songs from their soul and our ears the idea is preposterous!
      A barking dog is a dog telling you something. It's our task to understand, identify, and resolve it.

      Many Thanks for reading and voicing your thoughts.

  3. I have a couple patients who were debarked at another facility. Two of them have had aspiration pnuemonia, one just in the face of what seemed otherwise to be a pretty typical episode of vomiting (no regurgitation) and the other after having a seizure while asleep. While I can't completely blame the procedure, it does seem fishy to me that there's such a high frequency of this condition in the only family of dogs I know where all the pets are debarked.

    1. Hello,
      What an interesting observation.. I wouldn't be surprised if they were related. I did a quick search and found many specialists noting laryngeal dysfunction associated with debarking. So sad, Ugh people!

      Thanks for visiting and for leaving your thoughts.