National Deaf Dog Awareness Week is the last week of September. Roughly five to ten percent of our canine buddies are hearing impaired, whether in one ear or both. This can be caused by injuries or infections, but is also sometimes due to genetics. Fido could also lose his hearing as he grows older. Here, a Roanoke, VA vet discusses caring for a deaf pooch.
Signs Of Deaf Dogs
If your pup is losing his hearing gradually, you may not notice it right away. One clue will be if Fido stops responding to noises and/or vocal commands. Dogs that are losing their hearing also sometimes bark a lot, and may be louder than usual. This is because they can’t hear themselves, so they think they need to turn up the volume.
Dogs can learn to respond to hand signals, just as they would vocal commands. Teach Fido signs for basic commands, such as Sit, Stay, and Lay Down. Your canine companion may also be able to learn how to respond to a flashlight, or even a laser pointer. This is very helpful after dark. You may want to consult a professional pet behaviorist if you’re not sure how to go about this. It will be well worth it!
You’ll need to take extra care when walking Fido, as he won’t be able to hear things like cars approaching, horns beeping, or dogs barking. If you’re walking along the side of a road, keep your pup to the outside. It’s also best to walk towards oncoming traffic, assuming there’s a sidewalk on that side. This applies to all dogs, but we also strongly advise against letting your furry pal run around off-leash.
Since your pup won’t hear you when you call, you’ll need some way to keep an eye (or ear) on him. One option is to put a bell on his collar, so you can hear him moving around.
If Fido ever slips away, you won’t be able to call him back. Make sure your four-legged friend is microchipped and wearing ID tags.
Just like any other pooch, Fido needs to feel loved and safe to thrive. Pay lots of attention to him, and don’t skimp on those belly rubs, either!
As your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, we’re here for you. Please feel free to contact us anytime!