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.
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.
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.
Next: What can you do to decrease noise pollution that affects your pets?