Idiopathic laryngeal paralysis in dogs is now a frequently recognised disorder, particularly in certain breeds such as the Labrador retriever, Afghan hound and Irish setter. Since it occurs in the older animal, distinguishing the clinical signs and their significance from lower respiratory tract or cardiac disease can be challenging. At present little is known about its aetiology and therefore the treatment is directed at relieving the clinical signs. Recent work indicates that arytenoid cartilage lateralisation achieves the best results as a method of surgically correcting the laryngeal obstruction. However, it should be remembered that the potential benefits of surgery should be assessed for each individual, taking into account the presence of concurrent disease and lifestyle of the dog.