Deafness in dogs

3 min read

Deafness in dogs - Vetster

Deafness in dogs refers to the partial or total loss of hearing in one or both ears. Deafness can occur from a variety of reasons such as heredity, birth defects, infection, trauma, blocked ear canal, or old age. Deafness in dogs is actually quite common. Some dogs are born deaf, while others develop hearing loss at some stage in their lives. 


Many dog owners will not notice deafness in their dog at first as it tends to occur gradually. Dog owners can simply test if their pet is suffering from deafness by making a sound like a clap or a whistle and monitor how their pet reacts. Physical symptoms of deafness in dogs are:   

  • No response to squeaking toys
  • No response to clapping
  • No response to snapping fingers behind the head
  • No response to doorbells, loud noises
  • No response when called by name
  • No response when someone enters the room
  • No response to other dogs barking
  • Difficult to wake
  • Excessive barking


Veterinarians can conduct physical examinations including hearing tests to measure hearing loss and to determine the possible causes. Mode of treatment will be taken according to the diagnosis results. Depending on the type of deafness, surgery may be performed to attempt to correct hearing.

Similar to humans, hearing aids and cochlear implants are becoming popular for dogs. Treatment for the existence of any foreign body involves cleaning out the wax build-up in the ears, plucking overgrown ear hair, or removing the blocking object. Topical ointment along with oral antibiotics may also be prescribed as a treatment for an infection.

Prevention and recommendation

Dogs may not respond well to the presence of the hearing aid devices on the body and may not tolerate it. Deaf animals with additional conditions require special care. Deaf dogs should never be let outdoors without a leash. The owner of a deaf dog must learn alternative means of communication by training their pets to understand hand signals rather than verbal commands. Vibrating remote collars can be used in order to get the attention of a deaf dog at a distance.

Pet owners should approach dogs who are experiencing hearing loss slowly during rest or sleep to avoid startling them. Deaf dogs should also have identification tags around their neck.

Concerned about deafness in your dog? Schedule an appointment with one of our veterinary professionals today at for advice and to learn more about your pet’s wellness.

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