Senior Dogs

How to Diagnose Dog Deafness or Blindness

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Ailments in our dogs can be quite hard to diagnose, so here are some tips on how to diagnose dog deafness or blindness.

Hearing and eyesight are two of the most crucial senses of any living being. While it is relatively easy to diagnose humans because they can speak up and communicate, it is especially hard to know how to diagnose dog deafness or blindness, as they have no means of concrete communication with us. Dogs will not usually raise their paws or bark when you ask them if they hear a beep sound, or a certain tone from a hearing test device. And who has ever heard of dog eye tests and charts?

How to Diagnose Dog Deafness or Blindness

The most common way of identifying that our dog is still able to see and hear is by looking at him from the outside and making judgment based on what we sense in him. Even if it is not scientific and is only theory-based, it is usually the best way since the pet owners themselves are more attuned to their dogs than anyone else.

Another good tip to watch for is this: when you have two or more dogs, and you suspect your aged dog has some hearing loss or blindness, you may notice the other dog or dogs will sometimes help him or her out. For example,  when you call them to dinner, to go outside, or anything else. This is due to the fact that dogs understand each other better than we do.

However, not everyone can afford a second dog, because not everyone has the same budget and expenses. But for families who can buy one, then it is a good solution, as it can help out your old buddy in living out the last few years of his life. These fellow dogs will act as their hearing companion, or even their seeing guide, for the aged dogs with hearing loss or poor eyesight.

Here are some tips when you have an aged dog that is losing his hearing. First, do not startle the dog, especially when it is sleeping.

Additionally, dogs with some hearing loss can be trained to respond to certain sounds, such as the clapping of hands, a dog whistle, and many other noise makers. Even door chimes can work to get your dog’s attention when he is having a hard time hearing.

There are more than 30 breeds that are more susceptible to deafness than others. According to an article on, the following are the most common:

…Australian shepherd, Boston terrier, cocker spaniel, Dalmatian, German shepherd, Jack Russell terrier, Maltese, toy and miniature poodle, and West Highland white terrier. Typically, it is more common in senior dogs….

There are also problems when trying to correct and cure sensory ailments. For example, it can be hard to keep a dog’s hearing aid in place when a dog is rather hyperactive or moves around a lot.

Also, dog cataracts do not necessarily require surgery, because dogs usually can still see reasonably well with age-related cataracts. Surgery is a judgment that should be made by your surgeon, and with your input being critical to the decision.

One final point: aging is a normal process in any living being, and of course in animals as well. As dogs age, so does their hearing and eyesight. This is why it is important to help keep your dog’s senses healthy by giving him the right vitamins and minerals while he is young, in order to minimize (or hopefully eliminate) the period of time in which he may go blind or deaf.

Have you found these tips on how to diagnose dog deafness or blindness to be informative and helpful? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

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    I adopted a homozygous merle Border Collie adolescent. I have had her a year and she is herding for me. She learned her commands in ASL as quickly as if she were a hearing dog. The only problem we have run into is that when her adrenaline is up and she is in the instinctive part of herding or when she is working stock at a distance, she does not look at me to take a command. We are developing a vibrator collar which will work at a range of 5 miles as long as she is line of sight. I should be able to send commands using long and short bursts of vibration. With a little accommodation a deaf dog can accomplish amazing things.

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