We’ve all experienced it before. We cal and call, but our pooch just does not want to listen. Maybe they are too focused on a treat, or a toy, or maybe they’re just plain ignoring us. However, one ailment that may be hard to determine is hearing loss in dogs.
Some studies show that between 5 and 10% of dogs suffer from some degree of deafness. Whether your senior pup is starting to show signs of deafness, or you’re concerned about your young dog’s hearing, here is what you need to look for and what you can do about it.
What is Deafness?
Deafness refers to the partial or complete loss of hearing. This loss can be temporary or permanent and it can affect one or both ears.
Temporary deafness is most often the cause of a buildup of wax or debris in the ear canals. Fortunately, this can easily be treated by your veterinarian and their hearing should return to normal.
Causes Of Hearing Loss In Dogs
Permanent deafness, on the other hand, is not always treatable. It may be caused by congenital defects, old age, infections, tumours, trauma and more.
Certain breeds such as Dalmations, Jack Russell Terriers and English Setters are prone to congenital deafness. This means that they are born with it or develop it early on in life. Early-onset deafness often means it is usually irreversible.
As your dog gets older, they are also more susceptible to developing hearing loss due to age-related changes in the ear. These changes include a deterioration of the nerve endings and a thinning of the ear canal. Many older dogs lose their hearing but never become completely deaf; however, the loss that has already occurred is permanent.
If your canine experiences trauma to the head, such as being hit by a car, this can also cause deafness. Infections of the ear canal or middle ear are other causes that may lead to hearing loss. These types of infections are often treated with antibiotics; however, if the infection has caused extensive damage, hearing loss may be permanent.
Is My Dog Experiencing Hearing Loss?
Some common symptoms of hearing loss in dogs may include:
To correctly diagnose hearing loss in dogs, a complete veterinary exam is needed. After examining your dog’s ear canal for any abnormalities, including wax or debris, infection, inflammation and injury, your veterinarian may perform a simple hearing test. This often involves making a loud noise (outside of your dog’s hearing range) and observing your dog’s response, or lack thereof.
If deafness is confirmed, additional tests may be necessary to rule out any treatable causes and to help determine the best course of action.
Living with a Deaf Dog
While living with a deaf dog may take some time to get to, it is not as scary or difficult as it may seem. Dogs who become deaf, especially later in life, typically do not experience any anxiety over their loss of hearing and seem to have very little trouble adapting to their condition. However, some modifications will need to be made to accommodate the deaf dog’s lifestyle.
Monitor dog's activity
A deaf dog cannot hear the dangers around them, thus needing closer supervision. Never let your dog out on their own and ensure they are in an enclosed space at all times.
Many deaf dogs are easily startled, especially when sleeping. You can wake your sleeping pooch by placing your hand in front their nose so they can smell you before you touch them.
Use hand signals and other visual cues
Hand signals or gestures can be used instead of verbal commands when communicating with your deaf dog.
Let your dog know where you are
Some deaf dogs may become anxious if they find their owner is suddenly gone. You can inform your dog by tapping them gently on the back.
While deafness can be difficult to manage, especially at first, it does not have to stop you and your furry friend from living a happy life together. With a little patience and understanding, you and your deaf dog will be best buds in no time!
Helping You Treat Your Pooch
If you think your dog may be deaf, the first step is to visit your veterinarian for a complete exam. They will be able to rule out any treatable causes and help you determine the best course of action.
The House Call Vet is here to help you and your furry friend in any way possible. We provide in-home veterinary services so that you can get the care and treatment your pet needs without having to leave the comfort of your own home. Schedule a visit with us today!