How to find out if your pet is deaf in the Lowcountry

When looking at that new litter of puppies or kittens in the Lowcountry, you aren’t concerned about finding out if your pick is deaf. You’re focused on their soft fur and their adorable face. 

Likewise when you go to one of the Lowcountry animal shelters and you are checking the personality of a prospective new family member by seeing how they respond to certain triggers, you may overlook some behaviors as aggressive or negative.

In fact, they may have hearing loss.


  • Up to 50% of white cats are deaf and over 150,000 dogs are diagnosed with hearing loss annually.
  • Many breeds of dogs and cats carry chromosomes that make their offspring genetically predisposed to deafness.
  • Dogs with floppy ears, or dogs that are prone to go in water are more likely to get infections which can lead to hearing loss and permanent damage if left untreated.
  • Excessive wax or dead skin build up in the ear canal can cause temporary hearing loss. 
  • The frequency range that a dog can hear is almost double that of a person and a  cat’s hearing is almost triple making constant loud noise a concern.
  • Many antibiotics, especially in cats, can cause Tinnitus or ringing in their ears.
  • Cat's and dog’s ear canals are L'Shaped, which can make it difficult to fully clean their ears.


There are tests you can do yourself to give you an idea of whether your pet is having an issue.

With puppies and kittens, take notice if they are biting littermates too hard. While biting is part of play and learning, the other part of it is knowing when to let go. Most hearing pets will stop when they hear a certain noise or frequency.

If you are playing with your puppy and they aren’t responding when you verbally discipline them, try using hand gestures, or blowing in their face to see if that stops the behavior.

Other tests you can do are:

  • Banging loud pans
  • Blowing a dog whistle
  • Clapping your hands
  • Shouting their name to see if they come or respond
  • Shaking a treat can or container.

Make sure to do the tests out of their sight. If you are too close to your pet, their other senses, whiskers, nose, and obviously eyes, may be what they are reacting to.

Part of the testing is also to check and see if they localize the sound. Your pet may be deaf in only one ear and they may get a puzzled look on their face as they are trying to find which direction the sound came from.

After you’ve done your tests at home and you think you may see indications of hearing loss, it’s time to take it to the next level.

Keeping your pet’s ears clean is always a good step. Since the ear canal is oddly shaped, make sure to use gauze or cotton balls not cotton swabs. If you are reluctant, we will gladly walk you through the procedure.

If your animal is showing signs of hearing loss in the Lowcountry, give us a call at (843) 580-6209 for an appointment so that we can help you determine the best course of action.