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Franklin’s family realized he was hard of hearing soon after they adopted him.

“We learned he might have hearing issues when he was just a puppy,” says Katie, Franklin’s mom.

“The only way we’d know for certain was to put him under general anesthesia and monitor his brain function. We declined this option, as it really wasn’t a big deal for us,” Katie continues.

As a mom of two young boys, Katie “knew we needed to learn how best to train him and keep him safe.”

Differently-abled pets hold a special spot in animal lovers’ hearts. In honor of Deaf Dog Awareness Week (the last week of September), here are 3 tips to keep a deaf (or hard-of-hearing) dog safe:
1. Train your dog to respond to hand signals
One of the first things Katie and her family did was contact a local trainer. She taught them how to teach Franklin to understand hand signals for basic commands. Commands like “sit,” “stay,” “leave it,” and others have hand signals.

Katie’s family also used a mild vibrating collar to help get Fraklin’s attention. They offered lots of treats to make the training fun.

“Just like any new pet, training takes a lot of repetition and patience,” says Katie. “We wanted to set up Franklin for success by making sure we could communicate with him, regardless of his hearing abilities.” 

2. Outfit your dog in a deaf dog collar or harness
Firehouse vets advise pet parents with deaf or hard-of-hearing dogs to warn strangers about a pet’s deafness. This avoids startling the pet.

A collar, tag, or harness with the imprint “I am deaf” can help strangers interact with your pet by:
-Alerting friendly neighbors to proceed with caution.
-Helping rescuers assist your dog in case of an emergency. 

3. Confine your dog to a yard or leash when outside
Use a leash when away from home to keep your deaf dog safe from traffic and other pets.

When at home, keep your fenced-in yard secured at all times.

Caring for a deaf or hard-of-hearing dog requires a few adjustments to communicate and ensure they remain safe. Our team of veterinary professionals is here to help. Call us any time.

Protect your pet’s health as well by scheduling regular preventive care visits with our team. 

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