The Pet Doctor

What's That You Say? What To Do When Your Dog Loses Their Hearing

What's that you say? You think your dog has suddenly lost their hearing? Here's what you need to know about this potentially ruff situation.

Your dog is high on the list of the best friends in your life, and you'd do just about anything to make sure they're well, but wanting to help and actually knowing what to do if they suddenly lose their hearing are two different things. It's actually difficult to know for certain that an animal is deaf without veterinarian testing. In the meantime, you need to know what's going on.

What Causes Sudden Deafness In Dogs

If your dog is elderly, gradual deafness may set in, although in rare cases, an old dog could suddenly lose their hearing. More likely, especially if he's young, something else is amiss. Canine ears are made up of many delicate parts, from curved cartilage to soft tissues and even little bones, each of which plays a particular role in their ability to hear, usually quite keenly. A number of unique situations could be at play, leading to your dog's inability to detect and, consequently, respond to sounds in the environment:

  • An invasion of parasites that leave an abundance of wax in their wake.
  • Common infections, such as bacteria, yeast, or even allergies.
  • Trauma, such as a head injury or overexposure to loud noises.
  • Any malady affecting the central nervous system, like a growth, seizure, or stroke.

If there hasn't been any unusual event in your dog's life recently and there's no physical indication that something is wrong, deafness can be hard to immediately recognize, especially if it's partial and/or you and your dog maintain the same routine on a daily basis. You'll likely know something is off, though, and sense the need to investigate further.

Symptoms Of Hearing Loss In Canine Friends

While a human friend with sudden hearing problems can simply tell you what's wrong, with animals, the situation is usually much more confusing than it is clear, at least at first. Your dog won't be acting normally; however, the pieces of the puzzle will likely emerge one by one:

  • Seemingly disobedient, as if the dog is ignoring you.
  • Barking more often than usual or at something you can't readily identify.
  • Sleeping more soundly.
  • Anxiety in one form or another, such as whining, pacing, or a lack of interest in food.
  • Not responding to stimuli like a knock at the door or other sounds.

Because in a younger dog and even, in some situations, with older dogs, hearing loss can be temporary, this is a situation you don't want to ignore. If you think your dog isn't hearing normally, they should be seen by a veterinarian.

Your Most Immediate Dog-Parent Duties

Don't allow your dog to go outside without a leash, as they may be nervous (over their condition) and bolt, which is dangerous if they can't hear a car's horn blowing or your cautionary yells. It's best to keep your dog away from other animals during the diagnostic stage. Take him to the vet as soon as possible, preferably with another human tagging along to keep him calm during the drive.

Your vet may either reach a conclusion about the sudden deafness on their own, or your dog may need advanced testing with specialized equipment. No matter what, though, the animal doctor will go through a list of possibilities until they determine what's caused the hearing loss and how they can remediate it.

Once you realize your dog isn't hearing your commands or the sounds of oncoming traffic and other potential hazards, it's easy for fear to set in. Keep him safe and indoors, reassure him with your touch (as often as possible), and take him to the vet clinic to find out what's going on and what you can do about it. Hopefully, the deafness is temporary, but if not, everything can still be okay.

To learn more, contact a vet clinic.