It is said that dog’s have a heightened awareness of hearing and smell. The furry creature has an impeccable sense of hearing the minutest of sounds and superlative capability to smell. However, these super alert creatures may also face the trauma of hearing loss and losing the sense of smell. Due to accidental reasons or congenital reasons, few dogs face partial or complete deafness. Talking about deafness in dogs, let us check out the reasons, symptoms and method of dealing with a deaf dog.
Causes of deafness in dogs:
The main reasons of temporary hearing loss are earwax deposition in the ears, injuries in the internal or external ears, foreign object in dog’s ear canals, stress, tumors and extra hair in the ears. Reasons of permanent hearing loss includes deafness at the time of birth, old age, side effect of antibiotic drugs, genetic problem, severe injury of the ear drums, untreated ear infections etc. In all these cases, the pet’s sensitivity towards sound either reduces or gets completely lost.
Symptoms of hearing loss in dogs:
- No response when you call his name
- Does not notice you when you enter the room
- He does not respond to other dogs barking or other sounds like door bell
- He does not seem to understand familiar commands
- His head keeps shaking
- He has painful, itchy ears with pus deposition in it
Deafness in dogs can be diagnosed through various methods. If you suspect your pet has developed hearing inability then, step quietly near him and clap loudly. If he does not respond then it is clear that he suffers from some or the other kind of hearing problem.
The vet needs to check the complete medical history of the pet. He needs to examine drugs taken during any illness or ear treatment. He would also perform hearing test and sensitivity test of the pet’s ear canal. A thorough examination of aural areas with X-ray findings are a part of diagnosis.
Treatment of deafness in dogs:
Pets with congenital hearing problems cannot be treated as they are born with the hearing defect. Those with temporary issues due to hardened earwax would get benefitted by clearing off the wax deposition in their ears. Please note that only a vet should do this as trying it at home may worsen the problem.
Problems with non-responding nerves of the ear can be solved by treating the inflammatory areas of outer, middle and inner ear. In extreme cases, surgical help becomes a necessity. These days hearing aids are also designed for dogs. You can avail dog ear cleaning products on the advice of your vet.
Lifestyle changes while living with a deaf pet:
We cannot abandon a deaf pet. Just as we would train our child if he suffers from hearing loss, similarly we should train our pet for the same. One needs a lot of patience and discipline to train the dog to understand hand signals for various routine commands.
Increase petting more. Your furry friend must know when you have entered or exited the room. You can use props like flashlight or laser penlight but do not flash it in his eyes. Be careful and considerate while training your pet. You can take advice of vet or animal expert for this.
Do not allow him to go out alone as he would not be able to hear a rushing car, barking dogs or other invaders. Leash is necessary for these pets. You can attach a bell on your pet’s collar to trace whether he is inside or outside the house.
One thing that works the best in all treatments and training is your love. Be patient with the pet as he himself would be frustrated about the situation. Just be gentle and make sure he is at ease with the ailment. Prayers and blessings play a big role in healing the pet.
Prevention of deafness in pets:
Certain breeds like Boston terrier, cocker spaniel, German shepherd, miniature poodle, Dalmatian, Maltese, West Highland white terrier, Australian shepherd etc. are prone to get deafness at some point of time in their lifetime. Mostly it occurs during their aging years.
Congenital deafness can be prevented by opting for responsible breeding. It involves not selecting hearing-impaired dogs for breeding. However, there have been cases when both the parents with healthy ears have given birth to puppies prone to hearing problems.
Generally, you should keep your pet’s ear canals clean. Routine aural hygiene should include regular removal of earwax, mites, discharge, necrotic tissues and dirt. Ear infections should be treated at the earliest. Vet visits to sort out ear problems should be a mandatory part of every pet parent’s life.
Thus, hearing loss in dogs is as common as it is in humans. Proper treatment, precautions and training makes this situation quite easy to handle. If your pet suffers from temporary or permanent hearing loss then you need to make slight lifestyle changes. Just train the pet to understand hand signals and gestures. Do not lose heart, as the furry kids are fast learners and can adapt to this situation like heroes. Therefore, hearing loss is nothing but an opportunity to give more love and care to your pet! Isn’t it?