MYTH: Ever since my little housedog was a puppy and my kids were teaching her to lead with a collar, she has noisy breathing and or coughing when I take her for a walk and she pulls on the lead. I have never had a Choke Chain on her in her life, so how could her throat have been injured?

FACT: Although most commonly seen with to rough of jerking or pulling with a Choke Chain on, "LARYNGEAL TRAUMA," can and does happen to many dogs, (especially small breeds), when people are teaching them to lead. People do not realize just how delicate the nerves and tissue are in a dogs throat region. Dragging the puppy to get it to learn, allowing it to become entangled on an object or simply tying them up and letting them fight, pull and choke over being tied up results in this type of often permanent injury.

Choke Chain (or collar) injuries can fracture the Hyoid bone and/or cause compression damage to the nerves of the Pharynx and Larynx. Dogs with such injuries often breathe normally at rest but show respiratory distress when they exercise. Of course, any pulling on a collar while being walked just makes it that much worse. Due to the damage to the throat region, such dogs should be switched to a body harness or a head harness (Halti). Properly adjusted, the pressure should be on the dogs muzzle and face, not the throat region.

Any coughing, gagging, choking, noisy labored breathing, intolerance to exercise, wheezing, hoarseness, even fainting from lack of air SHOULD be attended to by a Veterinarian to rule out serious diseases, hereditary defects and trauma to the dog.

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