Your Dog’s Super Hearing Powers

It’s amazing how animals have much more powerful senses than humans. Dogs, for instance, have much greater hearing, seeing and smelling capabilities than humans.

Did you know a dog can hear sounds as incredibly high as 47,000 to 65,000 Hz? An average person can only hear frequencies of about 20 Hz up to 20,000 Hz. 

Although men like to call their dogs in a commanding voice, the little kid calling, “Here puppy!” may get your dog to come faster, because dogs respond better to higher sounds. 

Dogs can also detect more subtle, quieter sounds than people. Because they are natural hunters, they have these skills to help them locate tiny animals or to detect an animal that is sneaking up to attack. It also enables them to hear the sound of you carefully opening the kitchen cupboard where the dog snacks are kept. They can hear the footsteps of someone approaching the house, or even a developing earthquake. Good dog!

Not only that, but it is said that dogs can hear changes in pitch better than humans, which actually enables them to detect emotions more acutely. Have you ever noticed how your dog just knows when you’re having a bad day? He can hear the stress in your voice.

All dogs have 18 muscles in their ears that help them to catch sounds better.  Also, they can move their ears independently to determine which direction it’s coming from. 

The inner side of your dog’s ear is full of seemingly random folds of skin that actually help to collect and amplify sounds before they get to the eardrum. A healthy ear should be a little bit pink and clean. Use a cotton ball or some gauze and a little ear cleaner made for dogs to gently remove dirt in these sensitive grooves. If they are especially gummy or dirty, or if there is an odor, or your dog is shaking his head and scratching, have your vet check the ears for infection or mites.

Some dog breeds have an overall better sense of hearing. Retrievers and Spaniels have been bred to detect the soft fluttering of birds, or the slight rustling of leaves. Hunting dogs like Beagles are excellent at discerning noise direction. The huge upright ears of German Shepherds can hear long distances, which makes them great sentries. Even Terriers, French Bulldogs and Chihuahuas, with their upright ears, are keen hearers.

Be aware that the down side of dogs’ fantastic hearing abilities is that they are much more sensitive to the noise of the vacuum cleaner, the blender or loud music. That’s why you might hear your dog wailing when an emergency vehicle drives by. 

As your dog ages, it is common for his hearing ability to reduce in the lower range, but usually he can still hear the high ranges, so if you have a deep voice, a dog whistle may become more useful to call him over a wide distance.

The next time you want your dog to settle down and relax – even in the car – try playing some soft symphony music for him. Your super-dog’s ability to distinguish sounds makes it a rich experience.

Heron’s Crossing provides end-of-life care for pets in the Metro Atlanta area. In-home appointments with compassionate vets are available. If you’d prefer a home-like setting away from your home, our Decatur office is also available by appointment.