How to tell if your dog is deaf? What to do?

Does your dog not turn when you call him? Has he not obeyed your commands lately? You may not hear well, in fact deafness is a problem that also affects our pets. It is important to pay attention to the symptoms that allow us to understand if the dog is deaf. 

This pathology can be congenital or occur as a result of infections or trauma . Age is also an important factor, as our pet gets older, it can lose the sense of hearing.

Behaviors that we can observe at home to understand if the dog is deaf

Most of the time, hearing problems in dogs can go unnoticed. Unless the hearing loss  is absolute, it will be difficult to realize the situation . We can carry out an attention test at home to understand if our dog has hearing problems.

Test to get your pet’s attention

When the dog is not looking at us, we can cause a noise. We will try to produce a sound that can only be perceived with the ears, nothing that causes movement of air or vibrations. For example, making noise with the keys or increasing the volume of the radio or television. If the dog doesn’t react, we need to be alert .

We can also wait for him to fall asleep and start calling him in a low voice, gradually increasing the volume of the same. If he has some degree of deafness, he will respond at a certain volume level; if he does not answer, we must suspect that he is deaf.

If your dog hears in only one ear, it will likely respond in a confused way , not knowing the direction of the sound. In any case, if you suspect your pet is deaf, you should go to the vet.

Techniques to understand if the dog is deaf 

We can check at home the suspicions we have about our dog’s deafness. However, only  the vet has the tools to diagnose the animal’s hearing loss .

For this purpose, the BAER test or auditory evoked potentials is usually used , with which the dog’s brain activity is assessed  in response to a series of sounds.

The examination consists of attaching electrodes to the head and base of the animal’s ears; stimuli are applied in the form of a  click and his brain response is measured.

Methods such as tympanometry which assess the functioning of the eardrum and middle ear are also used. Similarly, it is possible to resort to the examination of the acoustic reflex, which measures the response of the ear in the presence of loud sounds.

The acoustic otoemission test is another technique to diagnose if the dog is suffering from deafness. It consists in stimulating the hair cells of the ear with a sound and evaluating the response of the animal.

With these methods you can check the level of deafness of the dog : if it is total (the dog hears absolutely nothing), one-sided (hears only in one ear) or has a certain level of hearing loss.

Dog Deafness Symptoms 

Some symptoms can be useful to understand if our dog has a hearing problem:

  • If you don’t wake up with loud sounds.
  • If he does not respond to sounds with which he has always reacted: the bell, the keys that indicate the time of the walk, etc.
  • If he doesn’t come when we call him by name or if he ignores the usual commands.

These are signs that warn us of a hearing problem in our pet.

Deafness in puppies

Even in puppies it is possible to observe some behaviors that can indicate that they are suffering from deafness . A puppy that bites others hard may not hear and do not realize that it is hurting him. The fact that the little one only wakes up with the movement of the mother or her siblings can also indicate possible hearing problems.

It must be extremely clear, however, that a dog with partial or total deafness is a completely normal dog. We don’t have to worry about this, in fact our four-legged friend will be just as cheerful, playful, affectionate and loyal .

If we adopt a puppy who has been diagnosed with deafness, we shouldn’t expect him to grow up differently. It just doesn’t hear.

Finally, we must not pay attention to the  myths or rumors we have always heard about dogs in a bad mood and aggressive because they are deaf .

Deafness of dogs: what to do?

Deafness in older dogs is a fairly common occurrence; in some cases, however, the problem has already arisen at birth or has developed following an infection.

What satisfaction when the pet rushes to our call! But if not, take into account the existence of this problem as well.

The first few times, when the animal does not come to the call, we think it is distracted , but if it becomes a habit it could actually be deafness. In this case, don’t just cross your arms – the problem can be partly solved with training and a couple of tricks that will make your life a little easier. Of course, it takes a lot of patience, especially during the learning phase which can be slow, but very useful .

Dogs prone to deafness

Among the  dog breeds most prone to deafness we find the Dalmatian, the Bull Terrier and the Terrier. 

How to cope with dog deafness?

Deafness is a big problem for an animal, since we are talking about one of the most important senses they possess. Deaf dogs are more vulnerable in various dangerous situations, for example in traffic. In these cases, the use of a leash becomes essential.

Sometimes animals no longer respond to their master’s call, but perhaps they haven’t lost their hearing completely and are still able to hear the higher pitched sounds.

Alternatively, you can opt for the use of light signals, such as turning a lamp on and off: those who do not hear must refine the other senses that remain .

A deaf dog also has the sense of smell, so stimulate it by placing its food so that it perceives the smell well, so you can establish another form of communication.

Sign language

Dogs usually react to the movement of the hand calling them, just as people do. However, in order for them to learn this type of communication, you will have to reward them every time they respond by approaching. If you find it difficult to learn this type of language, know that there are courses and books that teach how to communicate more effectively with our four-legged friends.


Animals recognize the vibrations produced with the hands by humans, as well as the strong blows given to the ground with the feet. Also in pet shops there are vibrating collars for sale to communicate with the animal without causing it any discomfort .

Friend and guide

A deaf pet can stay close to another to guide it, meaning that if, for example, the doorbell rings, the pet he hears runs towards the door and the other follows him.

Prevention is better than cure

There are gestures that help prevent infections and diseases which, if not treated carefully, could lead to deafness. An essential care is ear cleaning, which should preferably be done once every two months. If despite cleaning, you notice that your pet has itchy ears, it is best to consult your vet right away.

It never hurts to ask about dog ear cleaning products  and how to use them correctly. On the contrary, improper use could cause an infection.

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