Caring for a Deaf Dog

Deaf Pet Awareness Week starts September 23rd. Just like people, dogs can be hearing impaired. Some are born deaf, while others lose their hearing after injuries, infections, genetic issues, or simply old age. Dirt, wax, ear mites, or other objects can also cause deafness, as can certain drugs. Fido can still lead a full and happy life without his hearing. And, while one may think that deaf dogs are extremely challenging to care for, in truth, they just need a little extra TLC. Read on as a Lafayette, LA vet discusses deaf dogs.

Breed

While any pooch can go deaf, it is more common in some breeds. The list of pups most likely to go deaf includes German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Dalmatians, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Jack Russell Terriers, Maltese, Poodles, and West Highland White Terriers.

Color

Interestingly, there is a correlation between Fido’s coloring and his hearing. Many deaf dogs have white coats. That is because dogs’ ‘hearing cells’ start from the same stem cells as the cells that produce pigment. Therefore, pooches that are born without pigmentation in their fur are also missing the cells that help them hear.

Training

Fido can learn to respond to visual cues instead of verbal commands. Deaf dogs are just as smart as other pooches, and can pick up ‘doggy sign language’ quite easily. You may also find it helpful to teach your pup to come when you wave a flashlight. This will help you call your canine pal in at night.

Safety

Your dog won’t hear cars approaching. When you walk Fido on the side of a road, keep him on a short leash. Unless you live in an apartment, a fenced yard is also a must.

Sleeping

Don’t startle your pup by walking up quietly from behind him, especially when he’s asleep. No one likes being jumped! This can make deaf dogs grumpy and a bit snappy. Stomp your foot and make sure Fido sees you before you approach.

Collar

Put a little bell on your furry pal’s collar. That way, you’ll always know where he is. We also recommend putting a small sign on Fido’s neck that says ‘I’m deaf!’ or something similar, to let people know he can’t hear them.

Do you have a deaf dog? Please contact us, your Lafayette, LA vet clinic, for all of your pup’s veterinary care needs.

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