Just like with humans, dogs also experience deafness for various reasons. One of the main reasons as to why deafness in dogs occur is because of age-related issues. Usually, deafness in dogs happen gradually, and there are no physical manifestations. The first sign of hearing problems in dogs is their lack of response whenever they are being called.
One way you can check if your dog is experiencing deafness is by approaching him while he is asleep. Scare him playfully while he is sleeping or even while he is resting. If he doesn’t react, then bringing him to a Veterinarian would be necessary.
What Is Deafness In Dogs
Deafness if a partial loss or even a complete loss of hearing. The hearing loss can be permanent or temporary and may also affect one or even both ears. Typically, a temporary loss of hearing is because of debris or wax buildup. But with both temporary and permanent deafness in dogs, there are several causes, and I will be discussing these causes with you below.
Top Reasons For Deafness In Dogs
Foreign Bodies In Dogs
A dog who has a foreign body in his ears can have a blockage in the ear canal, thus leading to deafness in the dog. The good thing about this issue is that it will not affect the dog’s transmitters at all. It will only be a blockage preventing him from hearing anything in the environment.
There are some instances where a foreign body can lead to a perforation in the eardrum. This can lead to an infection, which can become risky, and your dog will be prone to all sorts of bacteria and such. If you can’t remove the object yourself, visiting a Veterinarian would be the best thing you should do.
It can be rare for your dog to have head trauma, especially if you take good care of him. But, accidents can happen, and if your dog suffers from head trauma, it can lead to damage into his inner ear. Deafness in dogs caused by a head trauma can be temporary or permanent deafness.
Yes, your dog can also suffer from ototoxicity, which are medications that can affect the dog’s cochlea. Typically, this can happen when your dog takes medications for inflammation or infection in the ear. If your dog’s eardrum has a hole, the drug can reach it, which can lead to deafness. Some of the medications include tobramycin, propylene glycol, and neomycin.
Once the drug starts to wear off, your dog’s hearing may start going back to normal. But there are instances that ototoxicity can lead to a dog’s permanent hear loss. That is why it is advisable that your dog’s ear should be examined thoroughly to avoid ototoxicity.
A middle ear infection can happen to the buildup of wax or foreign body in the ear canal. The excellent news about ear infections is that it can be reversed using different treatments. If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, then bringing him to a vet clinic will help. If your dog has a deep-seated infection, then your dog may need to undergo a CT scan.
If your dog is experiencing ear infections often, then there might be an allergy wound in your dog’s environment. It would be best to get your dog checked to identify the accurate allergen that he is experiencing.
One of the most common reasons why hearing loss in dogs occurs is because of Presbycusis. According to Dr. Rod Rosychuk, it will affect the ear’s cochlea and as well the ability to transmit different sounds to your dog’s brain. The majority of the dogs who are affected are older ones and usually come as a side effect from a degenerative illnesses. Fortunately, Presbycusis is known as irreversible with the right treatment.
Congenital Hearing Loss
Another hearing loss that’s related to degenerative changes is congenital hearing loss and is one of the reasons for deafness in dogs. Unfortunately, this is a permanent hearing loss and can also be hereditary. This kind of abnormality is already present once your puppy is born. But this can start to manifest between the dog’s age of 4 and 6 weeks.
Tips to Deal With Deafness In Dogs
Whether your dog is suffering from temporary or permanent deafness, it is essential to know how you can deal with this with your dog. Some dogs who have experienced deafness later in their life don’t really suffer from anxiety. But whether or not he is suffering from anxiety due to deafness, it is essential to know how you can deal with deafness in dogs.
Using Hand Signals
Train your dog with the use of hand signals. The majority of deaf dogs have the ability to use their eyesight so they can learn commands visually. There is an online crash course on sign language, which you can use with your dog. With a little practice, you will surely be an expert in this.
Take Extra Care
Since your dog is deaf, it would be best to take extra care of your fur baby. The reason behind this is because they don’t have a hearing sense, which will not alert them of the dangers around them. They won’t also be able to hear traffic, which can be hazardous for them. The best thing that you can do is to avoid letting your dog out on his own. It would also be best to keep him on a fenced yard or a leash so he won’t start wandering around.
You can start getting your dog’s attention by using visual cues. You can either use your lights at home or a flashlight that can be turned on and off to alert him. Once your dog makes eye contact with you, you can start commanding him visually. You may also opt to get your dog’s attention using vibrations by stomping on the floor. Or gentle touches on his shoulders or back will also help.
Enhance Your Dog’s Sense Of Smell
Since your dog is deaf, he will start relying on his nose heavily. According to Turid Rugaas, who is a dog trainer, dogs use their eyes to check for the first impression. Their nose will be the one to create all the details needed. So the best thing that you can do is to enhance your dog’s sense of smell. This way, some of the sensory gaps can be filled.
The majority of deaf dogs can quickly get started, especially when they are asleep. The best thing that you can do is to gently place your hand on his nose so he can begin to smell you. You can also touch his back gently, and he will surely wake up in no time.
Attaching A Bell
Also, let your dog wear a collar and make sure to attach a bell in it. This will help you easily find your dog if he becomes lost or hides somewhere in your house or backyard.
Let Your Dog See You
Some deaf dogs can become anxious if they can’t see their owners around. The best thing that you can do is to let him know where you are in the house. If you are leaving, tap him gently and let him see you leaving. This way, he will know that you left or you will be out of his sight for a while.
Attaching A Label On Your Dog’s Collar
Another thing that you need to do is to attach a label on your dog’s collar which says he is deaf. This way, if your dog starts to wander alone, and someone finds him, people will know his situation. They will also know why he is not responsive and they may take him with them to find his home.
Attach a label on your dog’s collar which says he is deaf, along with your name and contact details. This way, there will be a higher chance of getting your dog back if he wanders alone in the neighborhood.
Pep Talk Yourself
Lastly, the last thing that you need to do is to give yourself a good pep talk. Yes, it can really be frustrating that your dog is deaf because he won’t be able to respond. You need to be patient with him and don’t let sadness overcome you. Remember that your dog can still feel your emotions, and you wouldn’t want him to think that you’re getting frustrated.
Patience and understanding are the two things that your dog needs. So, if you start to get frustrated and impatient, then take a few deep breaths to restore your compassion and patience.
Whether your dog is experiencing temporary or permanent hear loss, it would always be best to show him your understanding and patience. Take note of the important things above, so you know how you can deal with your dog with compassion.
You surely see your dog as part of your family, and we treat the family with love and compassion no matter what the situation is. Keep in mind that your dog will feel every emotion that you have, so always show kindness.