This week, September 21-27, 2013 is National Deaf Dog Awareness Week, an awareness campaign created in partnership between Petfinder and the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund. The campaign focuses on raising awareness towards deaf dogs and the fact they are as trainable and make just as amazing pets as any other dogs.
Similar to people, deafness in dogs can occur from old age, ear injuries or as a genetic defect which we believe is the case with one-year-old Cloe. Cloe came to the Arizona Humane Society at the end of August after she was left with a pet sitter for two months and never picked up. Cloe is an absolute ball of energy as expected with any one-year-old, but is also deaf. Despite her special needs, she has learned human hand signals for commands such as sit and lay down and will make someone the perfect family member, especially if that family is active. She will need a family who is patient with her needs and consistent in her training and may do best in a home where she can learn from another dog. However, due to her puppy excitement levels it is best of the kids in the home are over 12 years of age.
Even for dogs who are not born with such a defect it is still necessary to keep their ears clean and free of wax build-up. Certain breeds (Cocker spaniels, Golden retrievers) are prone to having ear problems due to the long hair around their ears and narrow ear canals. As your pet gets older, be sure to have your veterinarian keep a close eye on their ears to make sure injuries, infections or blockages aren’t plaguing your dog.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the below tips will help owners care for a deaf pet:
- Train your pet to recognize hand signals instead of vocal commands.
- Use a heavy stomp of the foot when you need to get your dog’s attention- they can often feel the vibration in the floor.
- Try to gently tap or pet your dog to announce your presence or your exit.
- Avoid letting your deaf dog wander outside alone, unless you have a fenced yard. There are obvious dangers with letting your dog anywhere near traffic and other hazards that he or she won’t be able to hear approaching.
- Consider attaching a bell to your dog’s collar. This makes it easier to locate your dog quickly in the house or in the event of an escape.
- Be sure that all of your collars bear an alert that your dog is deaf.
Cloe (A454019) is available for adoption at AHS’ Petique in Biltmore Fashion Park and as a Hopeful Heart, her adoption fee is just $35 and includes her spay surgery, first vaccinations, free follow-up vet exam, ID tag and collar. People interested in meeting Cloe can call 602.957.3113 or stop by Petique Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. or Sundays from noon – 6 p.m.