Things You May Not Know About a Dog’s Hearing

Dogs are amazing animals. They fill our lives with joy, love, and become immediate members of our family. But they also have some amazing physical abilities that you may not be aware of. Everyone knows that they have a great sense of smell but their hearing is also very impressive.  

When puppies are first born, they are born deaf but develop their sense of hearing over the first few weeks of their life. More than 30 different breeds of dogs, such as Dalmations, Boston Terriers, and German Shepherds are susceptible to hearing loss.

Their ears allow them not only to hear better than us humans, but also to show their emotion, (ears up, they are alert or happy, ears down, they are scared or nervous). Dogs may move their ears and cock their head to one side to better determine where a sound is coming from. Unlike humans, dogs have more than a dozen muscles in their ears which gives them the ability to move their ears independently and in different directions. They also play a very important role in their balance. Just like us humans, an inner ear infection can cause their balance to be off. If you notice your dog is having balance issues, take them into their veterinarian to get their ears examined.

It is no surprise that dogs hear at frequencies higher than a human’s range, which is why dog whistles are effective, they work at a frequency higher than what our human ears can hear. Yet, even though they can hear things we can not, and about 4 times better than we do, they can only discriminate resolutions of about 1/3rd  of an octave while a human can discriminate resolutions to 1/12th of an octave. That may be why they can sleep through the latest action movie you are watching during your family movie night but abruptly come to attention when their favorite treat bag is opened.

Dogs are amazing no matter how you look at them, from their excellent hearing, keen sense of smell or their intuition into our feelings, they are important parts of our families and deserve to be treated the best. Keeping up with their vaccination schedule, annual wellness exams, and providing a healthy diet and exercise routine will help them live their best life possible. If you have any questions or would like to schedule your pets annual wellness exam with our Washington, DC veterinarian, give us a call today at 703-356-5000.