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Name: Robert
Status: Other
Age: 60s
Location: N/A
Country: USA
Date: 2000-2001

Question:
What frequencies can hurt my dogs ears besides sirens?



Replies:
Dogs hear at a wider range of frequencies than humans. The low end of the range is similar, but dogs hear noises up to 45 kHz, while humans only hear sounds up to about 23 kHz. This means that they could be hearing and responding to sounds that we can't hear at all. Cats can hear sounds as high as 64 kHz, bats up to 110 kHz and porpoises up to 150 kHz! Younger people and animals generally have more acute hearing than older ones. Deafness is not uncommon in old dogs and some have hereditary deafness.

At the high and low ends of the frequencies that we hear, sounds must be louder, or more intense in decibels, for us to hear them. So, a dog could hear a siren farther away than we could. Pain results from sounds that are much louder than our threshold of hearing. Dogs could feel pain from sounds that weren't painfully loud to us. Very loud sounds can hurt the ears and if a sound seems too loud to you, it is probably more so to your dog.

But, when a dog howls at a sound, it isn't always because it hurts his ears. He may associate the sound with particular events or have learned that if he howls, the noise is "chased" away (as dogs who chase cars think that they have successfully chased away the intruding vehicle).

Laura Hungerford, DVM, MPH, PhD
University of Nebraska



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