Dogs are altricial animals due to their incomplete development at birth.
Puppies are born deaf and with their eyes closed , a trait they share with other mammals. The reason is the incomplete development of their senses.
Newborn dogs have closed ear canals, and will remain so until the second or third week of age. It is for this reason that puppies are generally said to be born deaf; the complete formation of their sense of hearing, in fact, will occur progressively.
Once the necessary period has elapsed, it will be necessary to check whether the animal has the total ability to listen.
Puppies are born deaf as a result of an adaptive strategy
As mammals evolved, only the strategies of reproduction and development that ensured greater survival in the environment became established . Although this group of animals stands out because it gives birth to puppies that are already alive, the gestation process and the degree of development differs between each other.
On the one hand, there are animals such as cows or other livestock species that have a pregnancy lasting up to nine months, with full fetal development .
Science calls them precocial species, as they exhibit virtually all of the basic skills of an adult at birth. Generally these are animals whose survival is closely related to the ability to escape from possible predators.
Then there are mammals that have a short gestation period of about two months, as in the case of dogs . These, unlike the previous ones, receive the name of altriciali because their offspring are immature at birth and depend on the mother figure to feed and be protected.
As a result, many fundamental organs in dogs exhibit incomplete development during the first days of life. The brain, the eyes and the ears are just a few examples, and this is why the extreme delicacy that must be reserved for puppies.
Auditory development of dogs
Although it is said that puppies of dogs are born deaf, the truth is that they can hear noises from a distance . We must therefore keep in mind the importance of relative silence to allow puppies to complete the correct development of this sense.
The presence of continuous sounds, in fact, would cause pressure changes that would move the fragile auditory structures of the puppies, which could alternate their formation.
The ear canals of dogs begin to open around the second week of life , more or less coinciding with the opening of the eyes. Unlike the latter, however, the ears will exhibit a more complete degree of development by this time.
In the home environment it is possible to verify the definitive formation of the sense of hearing , as the opening of the duct is visible to the naked eye.
In addition to this, the animal’s response to soft sounds may occur . This practice, however, is generally infrequent, as in most cases a puppy is adopted when it is already two or three months old.
Nevertheless, the breeders or owners who attend the birth of their animal will have to check the degree of development of the sense organs of the puppies once the necessary period has elapsed.
If the dog does not mature in this sense by the third week, owners must consult the veterinarian to diagnose possible anomalies.