National Deaf Dog Awareness Week
Hey guys Frederick here with another one of my findings that I want to share. Did you all know that this year, the week of September 18th through September 24th is National Deaf Dog Awareness Week? I’d never heard of it either hahahaha…. I hoped you laughed as hard as I did. I happen to think I’m quite pun-ny hahaha.
But seriously this is a week dedicated to raising awareness around our deaf canine brethren so that people know more about them and possibly wouldn’t mind adopting them if need be. There are two types of deafness that occur:
- Congenital Deafness, which means that the puppy is born deaf. They will never hear a sound, and thus not even realize that they are deaf and different from other dogs.
- Acquired Deafness, which means that the hearing loss and eventually deafness occurs gradually over time. Most owners won’t know their dog is experiencing hearing loss until it is obvious.
When it comes to being deaf, don’t feel bad because Dogs have this amazing ability to use their other senses to cope. When dogs have lost their sense of hearing or never had it to begin with their other sense kick into overdrive to help the dog interact with their world as if nothing has changed.
Symptoms of Deafness
- In pups with congenital deafness, over-aggression with littermates
- no response to squeaky toys
- No response to auditory stimuli when your dog isn’t looking at you. Stimuli like voice commands, clapping, shouting, whistling, barking, etc.
- When woken up they are startled or snap at you
- When touched from beyond their field of vision they are startled or snap at you.
- Sleeping more than usual for their age/breed
- You have a difficulty waking them up
- Auditory stimuli doesn’t rouse them from sleep.
- Exaggerated response to physical stimuli
- Excessive barking for a dog their age/breed
- They make unusual vocal sounds
- A gradual decline in response to their own name or voice commands
- They become disoriented, confused, or agitated in otherwise familiar circumstances
There are dogs that have an increased risk of being born deaf or going deaf. Breeds with dappled, merle, spotted, and white hair coats are predisposed to congenital deafness, although other breeds can be affected as well. There are over 50 breeds that have been identified by various authorities as being susceptible to congenital deafness. The most commonly affected breed is the Dalmatian. Some other high risk breeds are: The Boxer, Akita, American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Heeler, Australian shepherd, Beagle, Border Collie just to name a few.
Causes of Deafness
Various things can cause Deafness in dogs. A severe infection in the ears, a tumor, rupturing the ear drum or a condition to damage the tiny bones in the ear. Wax and the build-up of other debris in the ears can cause this as well. The degeneration of the nerves responsible for sensing sound can cause deafness as well. This is more common in older dogs. Senile deafness is usually a gradual process, but it rarely progress to complete lack of hearing. Dogs with this condition usually can still hear very high pitched sounds like whistles and sirens. The problem with this, is that people tend not to detect this in their geriatric dogs until they start to lose their vision as well.
Congenital deafness could be caused by a developmental defect in the cells, nerves, and/or tissues responsible for the conduction or interpretation of sound. Some breeds are more effected to this condition than others. Dogs with predominantly white, piebald, or merle coats are more so predisposed to the condition especially if their head is all or mostly white. Dogs with pigmented cells in their inner ears usually can hear.
Prevention of Deafness
The dogs with white, merle, piebald gene shouldn’t be bred to each other because the risk of deaf offspring is very high. If your dog gets an ear infection it should be treated immediately and until it has been resolved. Lastly blue-eyed dogs of the breeds that are predisposed to deafness should be kept out of the breeding population to lower the risk of deafness.
Treatment of Deafness
Just to go ahead and say it, Deafness is usually irreversible and permanent. The goal in most cases isn’t treatment, but therapeutic management of your pet’s deafness. The best thing is to try and prevent deafness beforehand by either not breeding dogs with hereditary deafness or trying to prevent the acquired deafness.
Things to know about your Deaf Dog
- They don’t know they are deaf
- They don’t care if they are deaf
- They aren’t suffering by being deaf
- Deaf Dogs are Dogs first
- Deaf dogs are individual dogs with their own quirks and personalities
- Deaf dogs are not more likely to become aggressive than any other dog in the same circumstances
- Deaf dogs may startle when awakened suddenly, but can be easily be trained to awake to a calm but alert state
- They are no less healthy than most hearing dogs
- They can be easier to train than hearing dogs
- Deaf dogs are very attentive to visual signals like facial expressions and body language
- As long as they are socialized from puppyhood they get along with people and other dogs just fine. Just like hearing dogs.
Lastly some tips to help you out with your deaf friend,
- Keep deaf dogs confined in the house and in a secure fenced yard or on a leash. This especially holds true for near traffic situations
- Use hand signals for training, either your own creations or the ones commonly used by deaf people
- Don’t startle your deaf dog when they are sleeping or resting
- Take extra car with deaf dogs around small kids. Inform them on how to interact with your pup or remove them from the situation to prevent unnecessary injury to the kids or your dog.
- Stomp on the floor or hit the ground to send vibrations to your dog before rousing them to reduce the risk of them biting or snapping at you due to them being startled.
Well, there you have it, another great finding if I do say so myself. Also, remember we are having our Grand opening celebration for the Doggie Daycare on Saturday, September 17th from 3pm-6pm! Come have an extremely good time, with tours of the facility and some good food. You could win a 7 day/night stay with our Daycare if you come on by!