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Caring for a Deaf Dog

Did you know that September 18-24 is Deaf Dog Awareness Week? Pups with hearing disabilities have some special requirements, but with a little extra TLC, they can do just fine! Below, a London, ON vet discusses caring for deaf dogs.

Causes of Deafness

Dogs can be deaf for many different reasons. Some of our canine buddies are born deaf, while others may have lost their hearing due to infections, injuries, or genetic issues. Breed may also play a role: studies show that some breeds, such as Dalmatians, have higher risks of developing hearing problems. It’s also not uncommon for dogs to lose their hearing as they age.

Puppy Hearing Test

If you suspect that your dog is losing his hearing, contact your vet to schedule an exam right away. In the meantime, here’s a quick test you can do at home: wait until Fido is lying down, and isn’t paying attention to you. Then, clap your hands, and see if he reacts.

Hand Signals

Training is just as important for deaf dogs as it is for other pooches. Fortunately, Fido can learn to respond to hand signals just as he would to vocal commands. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are all key. Ask your vet or a professional behaviorist for advice.

Sleepy Time

Deaf dogs often hate being startled when they’re sleeping. (Anyone who hates alarm clocks can sympathize with this.) Avoid jumping your pup when he’s snoozing. It may help to do some desensitization training: wake Fido up, and then immediately give him a yummy treat. This will help him form a good opinion about being awakened unexpectedly.

Safety

Safety is extremely important with deaf dogs. If you have a yard, make sure that your fencing is secure. Keep Fido on a leash whenever he is off your property. We also recommend getting Fido a tag that says ‘Deaf,’ to let strangers know about his hearing problem.

Doggy Comforts

Since Fido won’t hear you if you call him, you may want to put a bell on his collar, so you can tell where he is. Remember to let guests know in advance that your pooch is specially-abled. You may also find it helpful to teach your furry friend to come when you wave a flashlight.

Does your dog have hearing issues? We can help! Contact us, your local London, ON animal clinic, anytime.

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