Are you Listening? How to care for a deaf dog in Knoxville, TN

Are you Listening? How to care for a deaf dog in Knoxville, TN

Bringing a new pet into the home is a joy, but have you ever considered adopting a deaf pet in Knoxville, TN? 

Over 150,000 dogs in the US experience some degree of deafness. Whether from age, genetics, or injury, the challenge of sharing a home with a deaf dog can be challenging.

What causes a pet to be deaf in Knoxville, TN:


  • Congenital (hereditary)deafness is the most common cause of deafness in pets. Certain breeds are more prone to it. Dalmations are among the breeds of dog most likely to be deaf.
    Studies show that there is a correlation in both dogs and cats with deafness and animals that have one blue eye. While there is no way to know if your new pet with one blue eye will be deaf, it may be an indication.
  • Conductive deafness is caused by a swelling of the ear canal either from dead skin build up, excessive ear wax build up, or stenosis, a narrowing of the tubes in the ears.
  • Ear infections can also lead to deafness in your animals. Left untreated they can cause damage that requires surgery. Ablation surgery in an animal's ear can make them totally deaf.
  • Loud noises, as with humans, can damage your pets inner ear. Dogs have a higher range of frequencies they can pick up. A dog’s hearing range is double that of a human 
  • Certain medications and chemicals found in some ear cleaners can have a toxic effect on your animal which affects the hairs inside the cochlea of the ear.
  • Trauma and injury can damage the inner ear creating miscommunication between the brain and the ear.
  • Age is always a factor. Again, as with humans, the older our pets get, their senses begin to fail.

Is my dog deaf?

Many people don’t realize that all puppies are born deaf. When they are around two weeks old their ear canals begin to open. Some signs that your fur baby may have require unique care as they get older are:


  1. If they seem to bite harder. Puppies play and part of that play is biting. Animals that have good hearing will let go when squeals or cries of their littermates reach a certain frequency. 
  2. If their ears aren’t mobile. Dogs' ears move to pick up sound. If your animal’s ears appear to be stationary they may be experiencing hearing loss.
  3. If loud noises don’t affect them. If your dog isn’t at least concerned with the vacuum cleaner running, or the crack of thunder, they should be tested.
  4. If there is a pattern of them not obeying. Sometimes your pet is concentrating, but if you see a pattern that they aren’t hearing you when you call them, either their name or with a whistle, they should be checked.


A full hearing test may be conducted, including a BAER test which places electrodes on your animal. In some cases they will need to be sedated. Overall testing can determine the level of your pet’s hearing loss.

What can I do for my deaf pet in Knoxville, TN?

No matter how your pet lost their hearing, if it is permanent, they all love the same. 

You may want to consider keeping them indoors more, or getting them a fur friend who can hear. 

While training an animal that can’t hear is more labor intensive, it is not impossible. Using hand signals when teaching them, making sure that you don’t sneak up on them by making vibrations in the floor they can feel, and showing them the same amount of love and care you would with a hearing animal is usually enough. 

Some issues can be solved with surgery, or work themselves out when the ear infection is gone or the buildup is cleaned out, but in cases where your pet has permanent hearing loss, you will need to do some work.

Pets that are deaf tend to be more loving and hold a special bond with their people. The animal’s adapt their other senses to compensate. 

If you are considering adopting a breed that may be prone to deafness, or if your animal is showing signs of hearing loss, give us a call at (865) 357-1838 in Knoxville, TN for an appointment so that we can conduct a proper test.