7 Tips for Living With a Deaf Dog
Like humans, senior dogs can develop health problems, and one of the most common ones is hearing loss. This can be devastating for dogs and dog owners. Luckily, with enough affection and support, our fantastic pets can adapt to the new situation. To help them do that, we can make adaptations of our own. Here are 7 tips for living with a deaf dog.
The first piece of advice is - don’t panic. It is entirely expected that you get worried about your dog’s wellbeing. However, dogs are much better than us when adapting to physical disadvantages. Dogs will rely on their sense of smell, and losing one sense often improves others. Remain calm and talk to your vet about the best options. In fact, some dogs that were scared of loud noises will have no reactions to them anymore.
When you notice your dog is not responding to your voice or other sound cues, you should visit your vet. Dogs can lose their hearing for different reasons. Some are curable, and your vet can do something about them. Unfortunately, age-related hearing loss is usually untreatable. Nevertheless, your vet should examine your dog and make sure their deafness is not caused by things like diseases, foreign body obstructions, toxicities, or other curable things.
Once your vet confirms there is nothing they can do about your dog’s hearing loss, it’s time you start implementing changes that can help them lead the best possible life. The first thing you will need to do is adapt your dog walks. Letting your dog run without a leash is not a safe option anymore. Your dog will not hear your calls and can easily run away. You will have to become your dog’s ears. They will not be able to hear traffic, other dogs, cyclists, or people. That means they can get startled easily. If that happens, your dog can get into a lot of trouble. Keep in mind that you should keep your dog leashed at all times during dog walks.
There is an expression that says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, that is not true. Even senior dogs can learn new things. In fact, training a senior dog will improve their cognitive abilities and keep their mind sharp for as long as possible. You will need to adapt your training approach and focus on teaching your dog hand signal commands. If the dog doesn’t have visual issues, a simple hand gesture can tell your dog what you’re expecting of them.
One important thing you should know is that seniors will need more time to learn. Unfortunately, they won’t pick up things as fast as when they were puppies. Nevertheless, with enough patience and a good approach, your dog will learn to respond to hand commands just as well as to voice commands.
Another critical thing dog owners will have to do is - make sure their homes and yards are secure for deaf dogs. Again, your dog won’t be able to hear your calls, so they might wander off. Nobody wants that to happen, so you should ensure your yard is safely fenced. Just because a dog is deaf doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy a bit of running and playing in the yard. The best way to do that is by including a fence. You can even use a wireless fence and pair it with a vibrating dog collar. It is pretty easy to use, and setting it up won’t take too long. Here are a few great recommendations - Best Wireless Dog Fences.
We mentioned numerous times how vital dog IDs are. That becomes even more amplified with deaf dogs. Deaf dogs are at a higher risk of wandering off. If that happens, you want to make sure that people that find them know they’re dealing with a hearing impaired dog. Include a notification that says something like “I have hearing issues” or “I’m deaf” in your dog’s ID. Your dog’s finders will know what they’re dealing with.
This tip is beneficial for your dog’s overall anxiety levels. When your dog first loses hearing, they will need some time to get used to the new situation. As you can imagine, it will be pretty easy to startle your unsuspecting dog, especially when you approach them. You will have to work on the way you approach a deaf dog. If you do that correctly, you will avoid startling your dog any time you want to approach them. Use light switches, “heavy” stepping that will cause vibrations, and make sure your dog can see you as much as possible. They will instinctively look for eye contact, which will provide them a sense of security. You can even wear perfumes so your dog can smell you when you approach them.
WORLD DOG FINDER TIP: Another important thing you should account for is waking your dog up. Deaf dogs won’t hear you, and if you need to wake them up, you should approach them carefully. You can pet them gently until they start stirring. Don’t shake them or try to wake them up in a way that might cause them to get surprised.
Unfortunately, dogs can lose their hearing for all sorts of reasons. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t live happy and healthy lives. The new situation will require you to adapt your approach, and if you follow these 7 tips, you will make sure your dog is safe and as comfortable as possible.
World Dog Finder team