I presume that you’re referring to a vocal cordectormy, or “debarking” a dog, as you can’t remove a dog’s voice box (or at least would be hard pressed to find a vet that would do so). In the vocal cordectomy procedure, the veterinarian makes and incision either by way of the dog’s mouth or in the front of its neck and removes the folds of tissue around the vocal cords that generate the sound of a bark. The procedure is still very controversial in the veterinary world, and on all fronts seems to be a last resort after exhausting all other options to try and teach a dog not to bark. As to whether or not its bad for the dog, I would argue that barking can be an important line of defense if a dog gets into a situation, such as in a confrontation with another dog or animal, much like a cat’s claws help it to escape potential predators or dangerous situations. In addition, there are a number of risk associated with the procedure, including scar tissue that can cause difficulty breathing and will require further surgery to prevent the dog from suffocating.
It might indeed be frustrating for a dog to not be able to bark although I couldn’t find any studies have been done on the emotional health of removing a dog’s voice box. However, a dog will continue to try to bark, making a disturbing raspy sound. I would suggest considering simply every option before you do this unnatural surgery.
How would you like it if someone “removed” your voice? I bet you’d have lower self-esteem around other humans. If you want your dog to feel fearful and ashamed, and unable to express itself with barking or other vocalization, then sure, have a procedure done to silence it. If barking bothers you that much, maybe you should get a cat.
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