The last week of September is Deaf Pet Awareness Week. Deafness isn’t uncommon in dogs. Fido can lose his hearing due to infections, injuries, or old age. Genetics can also play a role here, especially with white dogs. (As it turns out, both the cells that help dogs hear and the ones that provide pigment come from the same stem cells, which are absent in white dogs.) Your canine pal can still lead a full and happy life if he can’t hear, though he may need some extra TLC. Here, a Coon Rapids, MN vet discusses caring for a deaf pooch.
Dogs are very smart, and can learn to respond to hand signals instead of vocal commands. Teach Fido doggy sign language versions of important commands like Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. We also recommend teaching your pooch to come when you wave a flashlight. This will help you call him in after dark.
Bell of The Ball
Put a little bell on your dog’s collar. This will help you keep track of where he is. This can be very helpful, since he can’t hear you if you call him.
Dogs don’t like being startled, especially when they are sleeping. This can make Fido quite grumpy! Be careful not to sneak up on your canine buddy. When you approach him, stomp your foot or clap your hands, so he knows you’re there. If you have to wake him up, try putting a treat under his nose.
Take extra care with Fido when walking him. He won’t be able to hear cars or other dogs, so it’s crucial to keep him on a tight leash. If you have a yard, make sure that your fencing is secure.
Some deaf dogs may still be able to hear notes that are very high or very low. Consider getting a piano, and using some of the lower keys to call Fido. (You can often find them free on local websites.) You can also try a dog whistle.
Put a little sign on your pup’s collar, to let people know he can’t hear. If you are hosting a party, be sure to let guests know your dog is deaf.
Please reach out to us, your Coon Rapids, MN vet clinic, for your deaf dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!