How Noise Pollution Affects Pets and What to Do About Itthe daily dish
In honor of Earth Day, I wrote about how noise pollution affects human lives. But what about our beloved pets? They have become part of our families. We try and provide them with love and balanced lives. In my opinion, that also means educating ourselves in how our human made sounds affect them.
Humans hear up to 20 kHz. Dogs hear 125% higher than that, up to 45 kHz. And cats hear up to 64 kHz, that's 42% higher than dogs and 220% higher than humans. So it shouldn't be any surprise that cats get easily agitated when they hear people fighting, and dogs bark when trains screech, or they shake and show other anxiety signs during the roars of motorcycle sounds. The sounds of garbage trucks and the beeping of trucks backing up have been known to send dogs into a state of panic. Dogs are always trying to figure out what is safe in their environment. When they can't orient where a sound is coming from and if it is safe, an imbalance can occur in their nervous system.
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A new subway platform is being built on the Upper East Side of New York City and it's no surprise that the nearby veterinary clinics are busier than ever. Dogs that were once calm most of the time are scratching at the walls, trying to jump out windows, and have been destructive in their apartments.
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As a classical musician, I am ultra aware of my sound environment. Due to all that I have learned as co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, I strive to also be a sound aware companion to my dogs. I am blessed to live in a very quiet environment where my neighbors are wildlife. My dogs, Sanchez and Gina, also benefit from the peace and quiet at home. I spend many hours at the piano, and they love snoozing nearby. But when I decide to charge my nervous system, I have been known to listen to my Zumba playlist. When I watch their body language, it's obvious that this is not their preference, so that is always a good time for them to enjoy some time in nature outdoors.
While we don't all have the luxury of living in a quiet rural environment, there are many things we can do to improve our sonic environments for ourselves and our pets. The authors of Through a Dog's Ear, Joshua Leeds and Dr. Susan Wagner, recommend taking a sonic inventory. Sit quietly for 30 minutes in your home and note all of the sounds you hear. It will help raise your awareness of all the sounds you take for granted and may even no longer notice. What is buzzing, beeping, and ringing? Are you able to lower the volume on those machines and appliances? Can your pets be in a separate room when loud machinery is turned on? Do you have two sound sources blasting at the same time in your home ~ perhaps a radio is playing in one room while a television blares in another? Definitely turn at least one off.
The simple sounds of Through a Dog's Ear, music clinically tested to calm the canine nervous system, also helps contribute to a balanced sound environment, for pets and their humans.
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Do your pets exhibit behavior or health problems due to human made noise pollution? What can you do to help reduce noise pollution in your pet's environment? Thanks for posting your feedback in a comment below.
CAT BEHAVIOR QUIZ: