Adopting a pet with special needs is not a decision that anyone should take lightly.  Potential adopters should always take the time to research any extra expenses or responsibilities that may be associated with owning a pet with disabilities, as well as any “special” measures that may need to be taken to keep the pet healthy and happy. In some cases, it may simply require you to administer a few extra medications every day. Other cases may be a bit more extreme, requiring you to modify your home environment, commit to frequent veterinary visits, and more.

In the case of dogs with a hearing impairment, however, you won’t need to do much to keep these guys happy and thriving.  Fortunately, deaf dogs are just as intelligent and capable as hearing dogs, and contrary to popular belief, they are not harder to train. The only special precaution that is typically required with deaf dogs is a leash.  Even in a fenced yard, they should not be left unattended, and under no circumstances should they ever be allowed to roam freely outdoors. Otherwise, with the right amount of training and attention, deaf dogs make great family companions.

Want to learn more about what it takes to become the caretaker of a deaf pet? Below, we’ve listed a few frequently asked questions to get you started.  If you’d still like to learn more, check out  They have a wealth of information for anyone who is interested, as well as listings of deaf pets who are currently available for adoption.

Why are some dogs deaf?

The causes of deafness in pets are almost exactly the same as the causes of deafness in humans.  In many cases, it may just be a hereditary condition that was passed down from previous generations.  Other causes of deafness may include:

  • Severe and/or chronic ear infection
  • Injury, exposure to certain topical medications, and loud noises
  • Gradual decline in hearing with age

Are certain dogs more prone to deafness?

In short, the answer to this question is “yes”. Certain breeds may be more prone to deafness due to anatomical issues, such as a narrow ear canal or a tendency to have more hair in the inner ears. Poodles, spaniels, and terriers often fall into that category.

Other breeds have a tendency toward deafness due to genetic variances, rather than anatomy.  Dalmatians and Boxers are among those breeds that are genetically predisposed.

What does it take to keep a deaf dog safe?

The most important thing to remember is that your dog will not be able to hear you calling from a distance, so you should do everything possible to make it easier to locate the animal if he or she becomes lost.

Microchips are extremely important in deaf pets, and many owners say it helps to attach a bell to their collar. It’s also critical that you invest the time and energy into properly training your deaf pet.  A few simple hand signals can go a long way toward keeping your best friend safe.

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