The last week in September is National Deaf Dog Awareness Week. Here is some information on how to recognize and care for a deaf dog.
What Causes Deafness in Dogs?
Some dogs are born deaf which is known as congenital deafness. Dogs that aren’t born deaf can go deaf from a variety of causes including chronic ear infections, injuries or old age. Some breeds of dogs with higher instances of deafness include Dalmatians, bull terriers, English setters and Australian cattle dogs.
How Can I Tell if My Dog is Deaf?
Signs of a deaf dog include:
- Personality and behavioral changes
- Changes in attentiveness and obedience
- Excessive barking
- Difficulty waking up
- Pain or stinky discharge in ears
If you think your dog is deaf, test their hearing. Wait until they’re asleep or not paying attention to you and make a loud noise behind them. Try different ranges of sound like whistling, clapping your hands and banging on a table. Pet owners who want to be certain can ask their veterinarian for a test called the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response procedure, or BAER. For this test, electrodes are placed under a dog’s scalp to see how their brain responds to clicks directed into their ears.
How to Communicate With and Care for a Deaf Dog
The best way to communicate with a deaf dog is with symbols and physical cues. Use symbolic cues during training so they associate the signals with behavior. A deaf dog can’t hear a car or other dangers coming. For this reason, keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced-in yard whenever they’re outside. For extra protection, put a tag on your dog with the word “deaf” on it and your contact information in case they get lost.
Many pet owners feel clueless about how to care for a deaf dog. Deafness in dogs can be hard to handle at first, but your dog can still live a high-quality life and do all the things other dogs do. Having a deaf dog just means changing your approach in how you care for them. For the best veterinary care in Florida, make an appointment with Regal Animal Hospital today!