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Tips to help senior dogs with hearing loss

  by james on 24 Sep 2021 |
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Dogs have different needs at different ages and for many, this includes new considerations as they lose hearing in their senior years.

Tips to help senior dogs with hearing loss


We all want our pets to live well into their senior years, but conditions can develop in dogs’ older age that require special considerations. Most dogs experience at least some degree of hearing loss as they age, but you can help your companion adjust with a few simple changes to his daily routine.

Age is the most common cause of hearing loss in dogs. While age-related deafness cannot be cured without surgery, other causes of hearing loss include infections or foreign bodies lodged in the ear canal and can be treated. When you begin to notice your pet is struggling with hearing, take him to the veterinarian to rule out any curable conditions such as these. Many owners are unaware that their pet is losing his ability to hear until more advanced stages of hearing loss, so be watch for signs that your companion is unable to hear as he begins to age.

After ruling out temporary causes behind Fido’s hearing loss, you can begin to take steps to help him adjust to life with limited aural abilities. If you did not train your pet using hand signals from an early age, begin using non-verbal cues to communicate commands. It is best to begin this sort of visual training from a young age so your pet is already well-versed in these commands before any loss of hearing occurs, but older pets are often very capable of learning new cues. To get your dog’s attention when he is no longer able to hear your calls, use actions such as hand clapping, stomping your foot on the floor, or other vibration-creating behaviors that alert him to your presence. You can also get creative by using a flashlight, opening a bag of tasty-smelling treats, or other non-auditory methods to get Fido’s attention. When teaching your pet to respond to new signals, use plenty of positive reinforcement in the form of praise, pats, treats any playtime.

Another way to help your pet adjust to diminished hearing to be be conscious of his changing conditions. Only approach him within his field of vision or use a gentle touch to avoid startling him. You can even try using the odor from a tasty bag of treats to help rouse him from a nap. You should also take added precautions to keep your dog safe when he is unable to hear environmental noises. Fence in your yard or keep your pet on a leash when he is outdoors to help him avoid oncoming traffic and other hazards. You can also enrich your pet’s life by increasing smell-related activities, such as teaching him nosework games and allowing him time to stop and sniff when you are in the yard or on walks.

Dogs have a tremendous ability to adapt to hearing loss. When one sense weakens, the others tend to become stronger to compensate, so providing him with plenty of smell-centered activities to continue engaging your pet. With a few daily adjustments, you can improve your pet’s quality of life even as he adjusted to age-related deafness.

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