8 Toys For Deaf Dogs

As a good dog owner, you want to provide your best friend with plenty of toys he will love to play with for hours of fun. You want toys that will keep your dog’s attention and provide mental stimulation as well.

The toys you choose for a hearing dog, however, are a little different than toys for deaf dogs or blind dogs. When you’re dealing with such disabilities, it’s important to choose toys that are appropriate for your dog’s senses that are unimpaired.

When it comes to hearing loss, there are a number of toys you can use to appeal to your dog’s sense of smell and that can visually stimulate him too. Let’s take a look at some of the best toys for deaf dogs that you can use during your dog’s playtime.

Here are the toys that top our list for deaf dogs:

  1. Dog Twister Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy
  2. Crunchcore Bone Dog Chew Toy
  3. Orka Flyer Dog Toy
  4. Crunch Veggies Dog Chew Toy
  5. Surprise Destroy Them All Sweet Shop Dog Toy
  6. Wobble Bowl Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy
  7. Puzzle Cube Interactive Squeaky Toy
  8. Dog Smart Composite Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

Toy Types for Deaf Dogs

happy dog with a toy

Dogs with hearing loss have different limitations than blind dogs or hearing dogs, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have a rich cache of toys that will add joy to their life.

Let’s explore the types of toys that provide mental stimulation for your deaf buddy as well as hours of fun. We’ll also look at specific dog toys in each category.

Toys for Deaf Dogs: Tactile Toys

Just like blind dogs, deaf dogs make up for the sense they are lacking with their other senses, like their sense of touch. The best toys for them are ones that stimulate those other senses.

Tactile toys are toys that have multiple textures to provide hours of engagement for your deaf puppy or hearing-impaired dog. These are toys that multiple textures your dog can experience as they play. They’re also great for your dog’s dental health.

Here are a few from our list of favorites that will keep your deaf dog happy for hours:

Crunch Veggies Dog Chew Toy

dog paws holding a toy

This chew toy provides your deaf buddy with a satisfying texture to enjoy. It mimics the texture of an empty water bottle which many dogs just love. It’s also great since it’s durable and has an inner core that helps it keep its shape and structure. The unpredictable shape also provides mental stimulation for your best friend. He will stay engaged for hours of interactive or solo playtime.

Crunchcore Bone Dog Chew Toy

french bulldog with bone toy

This is another toy that will stimulate your deaf dog’s tactile senses. It also mimics the texture of a water bottle. It’s made of durable rubber and plastic so it won’t lose its shape. It gives your deaf dog that satisfying crunchy texture that will keep them engaged for hours. This toy is not as suitable for aggressive chewers.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are great for mental stimulation. These are often treat-dispensing toys that engage your dog in a kind of treasure hunt. You fill them with dog treats your best friend loves and they have to figure out how to get the treat out of the toy.

Here are a few of our favorite picks.

Wobble Bowl Interactive Treat Puzzle Toy

woman with dog

This is a great toy for alleviating boredom and physically challenging your deaf dog as well. You can also use this if your dog eats too quickly and you want to slow the pace of his eating. It’s considered a level 1 puzzle, which means it’s a great choice for your deaf puppy. It provides hours of mental stimulation and fun.

The Wobble Bowl can hold up to a cup of dog food, and it’s easy to clean when the dog treats are all gone. Just remove the lid and hand wash it with soap and water. What’s more, it has a non-slip base so that it won’t make noise as your puppy pushes it around the floor. It also won’t scratch or scuff your floors.

Dog Twister Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

Once your deaf puppy has mastered the simpler dog treat puzzles, you can move on to this more challenging puzzle toy. It features nine treat drawers where you put dog treats which are secured by white tabs. These tabs add a level of challenge to mentally stimulate your dog’s problem-solving skills.

Your deaf dog will spend hours pawing, sniffing, and nudging this toy to figure out how to release those tasty treats. It stimulates his sense of smell, and it is visually stimulating as well. It’s also made of durable BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free materials that are completely safe for your best buddy.

Nosework Toys

Another category of toys for deaf dogs are those that provide your deaf with some great nosework practice. These are toys that stimulate his sense of smell as he works to get the toys out. These toys are perfect for deaf dogs.

Dog Smart Composite Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

dog smart puzzle puppy enrichment toys

This is a great level 1 beginner interactive puzzle toy for your deaf buddy. There are nine compartments for hiding treats. You can begin by putting treats in all of the compartments and working with your dog to discover and release the treat. Once he’s got the idea, you can just fill some of the compartments for a little nosework practice.

It only requires one step to get the treat out, so your deaf puppy can learn the ropes. It’s also great for teaching an old dog new tricks. What’s more, these interactive toys are great for large dogs and small dogs, so you don’t have to worry if your dog is the right size. It is also an easy toy to clean.

Surprise Destroy Them All Sweet Shop Dog Toy

Destroy Them All are fun collectible toys for dogs

This is a fun toy that’s great when your deaf puppy is ready for a bigger challenge. This toy contains three toys in one. Your dog destroys each treat toy to reveal yet another toy inside. It’s also a toy with multiple textures to give your dog a great tactile experience.

Your dog begins with a sweet treat — either cotton candy, taffy apple, or snow cone — and it takes a little nosework to destroy that first toy and find the second one inside. Then he gets to keep going to find yet another toy inside that one.

The last toy is a spiky ball dog toy that has a spiky squeaky toy inside and two layers of fuzzy plush outside. While your dog can’t hear the squeaker, he’ll still love chomping on the multiple textures. Plus, the ball dog toy can be used for games of toss and fetch that will entertain your deaf buddy for hours.

Visually Stimulating Toys

While visual toys are not appropriate toys for blind dogs, they’re perfect for deaf dogs. Your deaf dog will be depending more on visual cues like hand signals when you’re training him or bright colors when he’s playing. Our top picks in this category are great for keeping your deaf pup alert, and of course, they also provide hours of fun.

Orka Flyer Dog Toy

dog with an orka flyer disc

This is the ultimate outdoor flying disc toy for your deaf dog. Its bright color makes it easy for him to see, its soft yet durable edge means it’s easy on dog teeth, gums, and mouths, and it floats so you can use it as a water toy too.

This is a classic interactive toy for you and your dog to enjoy for hours. It also has a spongy construction with a strong canvas coating. That gives it multiple textures to stimulate your deaf dog.

Puzzle Cube Interactive Squeaky Toy

interactive dog toys puzzle cube

The final toy on our list is a fun, 2-in-1 puzzle toy that is also visually stimulating. It includes an outer rubber TPE cage containing two squeaky tennis balls. The tennis balls are of different sizes so it’s a great choice for large dogs or small dogs.

It’s a great toy to alleviate boredom as your dog must use his problem-solving skills to release the tennis balls. Once he’s done that, you can play fetch or toss with the balls. The tennis balls are brightly colored to stimulate your dog’s hunting instincts, and they’re durable to ensure hours of fun.

These high-quality Outward Hound toys are sure to give you and your deaf dog plenty of fun and lots of mental and physical stimulation.

What Causes Deafness in Dogs?

dog hiking gear

According to the American Kennel Club, approximately 5 to 10 percent of dogs in the U.S. suffer from some level of deafness. Some dogs have a problem in only one ear (unilateral deafness) while others have hearing loss in both ears (bilateral deafness).

Dogs can suffer from congenital deafness, meaning they were born that way or they can suffer from acquired deafness. The most common form of congenital deafness is associated with coat color, notably in dogs with the merle gene, such as the collie, Australian shepherd, Shetland sheepdog, and Harlequin Great Dane, and the piebald gene, such as Dalmatians, Samoyed, and Pitbulls.

This type of deafness is associated with the absence of melanocytes which are the cells that produce pigment in the coat. It appears this lack of melanocytes also causes a degeneration of the blood supply to the cochlea, the inner ear structure that is vital for hearing. There are other types of congenital deafness, but this is the most common one.

Acquired deafness, on the other hand, is the result of something that causes deafness outside of the dog’s genetics like chronic ear infections. There are, for example, some medications that can cause deafness. Also, older dogs, like older humans, can show signs of deafness with old age.

Signs Your Dog Has a Hearing Problem

waking a deaf dog

It can be easy to tell if your dog has bilateral hearing loss since he won’t come when he’s called, he may be difficult to wake, and he will startle easily since he doesn’t hear you approaching. If your dog suffers from unilateral hearing loss, it can be more difficult to spot.

You might notice that he has difficulty telling where a sound came from, or you might see that he tends to orient himself toward his ‘good ear.’ Pay attention to his body language around loud noises. There are also hearing tests that your veterinarian can administer to diagnose deafness.

The most common test is the BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test. It checks if your dog’s brain responds to noise which is usually produced by making a clicking sound. The test only checks for noises that humans can hear too. It is possible your dog can be deaf but is still able to hear high-pitched noises. If you suspect your dog is deaf, contact your veterinarian to see if they do BAER testing or where you can find someone who does.

Can Deaf Dogs Live a Good Life?

lab on a bed

The answer to this question is yes, absolutely they can! Dogs with hearing issues can really live a normal quality of life, but you do have to be dedicated to working with them and adjusting to their disability. For example, deaf dogs startle easily, so you want to be careful with them around small children. You also don’t want to allow them to roam around off-leash in an unenclosed area since they can’t hear you calling them to come back.

It might also surprise you to know that you can teach your dog sign language. Deaf Dogs Rock has some great tips, training videos, and links to books that can help you teach your deaf dog sign language and train them for a happy, healthy, and long life!

Final Thoughts

dog enrichment

Your deaf dog is just as lovable as any dog breed. As with any disability, it just takes a little adaptation to ensure he’s safe, healthy, and happy. These toys for deaf dogs can help you make sure he has hours of fun.

If your dog’s hearing is gone, you can also learn and teach him sign language so you can communicate with him in a way he will understand. There’s nothing keeping you and your deaf dog from spending hours of fun together and having a long, happy life together!