A Deaf Dog Can Live a Happy Life — With a Little Help

No matter what kind of deafness your dog has — or you suspect he has — discuss it with your veterinarian to see if any treatment can help. Dogs with wax plugs, foreign bodies in the ear canal, or infections may be able to return to full functionality with proper treatment. For dogs with inherited deafness (such as in Dalmatians), spay-neuter is a must. If you end up with a deaf puppy or dog, and after consultation with your vet don’t feel up to the task of caring for him, find a rescue group that specializes in deaf dogs. There are homes out there for many otherwise healthy, happy deaf dogs.

Helping Your Deaf Dog

Dogs who can't hear in just one ear need only a little in the way of extra help. For dogs with little to no hearing at all, a few simple tips:

  • Don't let a deaf dog roam. A leash and a secure fence is a deaf dog’s best friend. Off-leash recreation isn’t a good idea for these dogs, who can’t hear a car approaching or come to you when called. Some owners of deaf dogs have fashioned vibrating collars to cue dogs to look for hand signals, and with a simple Internet search, you can find information on these and on training deaf dogs.
  • Be sure your dog has ID, both a tag and a microchip, in case he wanders off. It’s also a good idea to have the tag say, “I’m deaf!”
  • Never startle a deaf dog, especially when he’s sleeping. A hard stomp that sends vibrations through the floorboard may be enough to wake your dog, or you may need to touch him gently on his body.

Deafness never stopped a good dog from having a good life, so don’t waste a second feeling sorry for your dog. Whether he was born deaf or became that way later in life, he’ll have no trouble enjoying his life with you, as long as you’re looking out for him.

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