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Promote your dog's hearing by having his ears checked during regular visits to your family veterinarian to:
Tips to protect your dog against potential hearing loss:
The acuity of your family dog's hearing far surpasses that of humans. Hearing is a critical sense to dogs, and when diminished, will increase dependency on the sense of smell. When a dog hears something, he can hear it without moving his head. Many muscles surrounding the ears help dogs get premium sound reception.
Unlike humans, dogs are able to change the position of their outer ear so they can focus on a specific sound. When a dog lifts his ears or turns them, the outer ear allows him to magnify incoming sounds. Dogs with very long ears usually don't hear as well as dogs with smaller ears, floppy ears or triangle shaped ears.
"Contrary to popular belief, dogs cannot hear noises from miles away. Dogs and people hear noises coming from the same distance away," advises Rena Sherwood in How Does A Dog's Hearing Differ From A Human's. People hear about 20,000 vibrations of sound per second. Dogs can hear two to five times the number of vibrations!
Animals needed this extensive hearing capability when they lived in the wild. Those living in the wild maintain the acuity just as those living in our homes.
Domestication of dogs as household pets hasn't changed their excellent hearing abilities. Because our dogs seem to hear sounds before we do, they often seem to warn us of impending danger. Heroic stories are often shared about pets saving their owners or family members from fire, earthquake, predators and intruders.
Hearing loss in dogs is caused by many of the same things that cause hearing loss in humans. Hearing loss may be the result of a variety of causes including infection, trauma, noise, aging, drug toxicity and inherited genetic defects.
According to the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund, "Hearing loss affecting both ears is called bilateral deafness. A bilaterally deaf dog is completely (or mostly) deaf in both ears. Hearing loss occurring in, or affecting only one ear, is called unilateral deafness. A unilaterally deaf dog has hearing loss in only one ear and has full hearing in the other ear."
Laura Derrington advises in The Structure of Dog Ears, "Excessive ear wax can cause temporary hearing loss, especially in breeds with narrow ear canals, such as poodles. If a dog has a lot of hair around its ear, the ear canal can get blocked. A foreign object such as a toy or stick that becomes lodged in a dog's ear also can reduce hearing."
How can we preserve this wondrous hearing capacity our furry family members have? Five tips below will help you ensure your dog's clear, unimpeded hearing:
Your dog will feel and perform his best when you work with your vet to do all possible to preserve his health, well being and excellent sense of hearing.
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Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.
The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.