Celebrating Deaf Pets During Deaf Awareness Week
Petfinder celebrates Deaf Awareness Week by showcasing the many homeless pets listed on our site who are available, adoptable, and deaf. Deaf animals, like other special needs pets, make wonderful furry family members. Their deafness in no way reduces their potential to bring joy to your life and become a loving companion for your family.
Deaf pets are just like hearing pets
Deaf pets are just as intelligent as hearing pets. They make great only pets or do well with other animals in the home--it's a myth that a deaf pet "needs" a hearing companion to function successfully. Deaf animals bark, meow, whinny, and make all the regular sounds their hearing counterparts make. They can be taught sign language commands and are fully trainable. The only real caveat in adopting a deaf pet is that it should never be allowed to roam freely outdoors unless it is in a securely fenced enclosure, since they cannot hear cars or other dangers approaching.
What causes deafness?
Deafness in animals can be congenital (inherited from birth) or acquired through trauma, drug reactions, or old age. Deafness is more common in white animals, though any animal can be deaf. Some breeds, such as Dalmatians and Boxers, are more prone to deafness than others. Thirty percent of all Dalmatians born are either unilaterally deaf (deaf in one ear) or bilaterally deaf (deaf in both ears). Some deaf animals also have albinism, meaning that they lack normal melanin pigment in their eyes, nose, or skin, though not every albino animal is deaf. Deafness is also sometimes accompanied by other medical issues such as blindness or low vision.
Adopting a deaf pet
There are several Petfinder rescue groups who focus on deaf animal rescue and adoption. They are Deaf Paws Haven, Deaf Dane Rescue, Sounds of Silence (S.O.S.) Deaf Dog Rescue, and D.A.R.T. Deaf Aussie Rescue and Training. The dogs and cats on this page are just a few of the adorable, adoptable, and deaf pets available on Petfinder. To see more, do an Advanced Search and check the box marked "Only Special Needs Pets."
Deaf pet resources online
Two great online resources for deaf animals include:
Dr. George Strain's Deafness in Dogs and Cats site is a wonderful resource written by Strain, a professor of neuroscience at LSU's veterinary school. This site lists common breeds of dogs and cats affected by deafness, hearing frequency ranges for different species, causes of sudden onset of deafness, and a comprehensive list of where to get the brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAER) test done. The BAER test is the most accurate measurement of hearing in animals, and is the same test given to infant humans.
The mission of the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF) is to provide education and funding for the purpose of improving and/or saving the lives of deaf dogs. They are working to find homes for adoptable deaf dogs, and to increase awareness of the noble and loving nature of deaf dogs. For more information on living with or training a deaf dog, visit www.deafdogs.org.