Lending an Ear: Deaf Pet

Billings_iStock_000065115897_LargeWhen a pet experiences hearing loss, it can be disconcerting for everyone involved. Animals rely on their hearing for many day to day functions, and a the loss of hearing can be a challenge. But, with a little extra help from their owners, your pet can continue to thrive.

If you have a pet who suffers from hearing loss, read on to learn what you need to know about helping a deaf pet.

Why Pets Have Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is not an uncommon pet problem. It may come on slowly over months or years, or develop quite suddenly. Some pets lose their hearing in just one ear, other times both ears may be affected.

Some pets with hearing loss have a blockage in the ear or are having a reaction to a medication. Others have a developmental issue, have experienced an injury, or have changes to the ear related to an infection. Other times, hearing loss can happen as a natural part of the aging process.

Many causes of hearing loss are neither fix-able nor preventable, but there are definitely things that you can do to help keep your pet’s hearing in tip top shape. Be sure to:

  • Bring your pet in for frequent wellness exams
  • Clean and examine your pet’s ears regularly at home
  • Have ear problems and infections treated promptly
  • Have your pet examined in a timely fashion if you suspect an ear problem
  • Helping a Deaf Pet

    If your pet has experienced hearing loss, he or she may need a little extra help but there is no reason to worry. Helping a deaf pet can require some extra effort, but is very worthwhile. If your pet is hearing impaired or deaf, it is important for you to:

    Keep your pet safe – Animals rely heavily on hearing to keep them aware of their surroundings. This can present a challenge for a deaf pet, especially when outdoors or in unfamiliar territory. Pets with hearing loss do best when supervised outdoors. Keep your pet on a leash or in a securely fenced yard.

    Continue to communicate – We often use sound when communicating with our pets, however there is no reason that we cannot continue to communicate using other methods. Help a deaf pet to learn hand signals can be an extremely rewarding endeavor. Instead of shouting, carry a flashlight or laser pointer with you in order to help get your pet’s attention.

    Minimize anxiety – When a pet cannot hear well, he or she may become more anxious. Deaf pets may become startled easily and can even snap when taken by surprise. Use vibration or a light to get your pet’s attention before touching him or her. Watch body language to gauge if your pet is aware of your presence. Be sure your pet is aware of your comings and goings as well to decrease stress and anxiety.

    While pets with hearing problems have a few hurdles to overcome, they often do quite well with a little help. Helping a deaf pet can be a great experience. Changing the way you interact with your pet is often a good way to develop a more intense relationship and enjoy one another even more than before.