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Dog Ear Plugs – Does My Dog Need Them?

Dog ear muffs or other dog ear protection can be needed at times. This typically occurs for a few reasons.
Working dog (shooting), there will be loud noises (Fireworks), Medical (ear surgery), nervous, calm’s them down.

Like humans, all dogs are different, and in some situations, one dog may need some form of dog hearing protection, were as another dog will not. This article will try to guide you on conditions in which a dog made need some ear protection, and the types of ear protection that are available for dogs.

I realize that there will be a lot of people who think that Dog Ear Plugs is a crazy idea. With our first dog, we never got hearing protection, and he was absolutely fine. (Hid when fireworks went off though). Our new dog is a lot more nervous, and dog ear muffs do help.

Also, different breeds of dogs have different hearing capabilities, which means that some breeds may need muffs more than others in noisy situations.

Typical situations where hearting protection for a dog may be a good idea:

  • Noises (Fireworks, Thunder, Shooting)
  • Flying
  • Protection (Surgery, scratching, swimming, grass seed etc.)
  • Nervous – Living in a noisy environment

Dog Ear Plugs And Dogs Hearing

So, if a sound is OK for my ears, why would it be bad for a dog? I think we all know by now that dogs have far better hearing than people do. This means that their sensitive ears will get damaged more quickly.

Damage in a dog’s ears is much like humans. When damage occurs, it is a tiny unnoticeable change that will not be reversible. This damage builds up over time, and that is why in our old age many people are hard of hearing.

Dogs, on the other hand, do not live as long as humans, so the damage has less time to accumulate. This does not mean however that the ears of dogs can be forgotten about. Where there are sudden loud noises, or ears are exposed to prolonged noise, it can be just as essential to protect your dog’s hearing. A lot of dogs will suffer without making a fuss when a sound is too loud

As a dog owner, you know that your dog has far better hearing than you do. They generally will know that there is someone coming to your door and probably start barking before you have heard anything.

Dogs are in fact born deaf, and do not really start hearing until they are about three weeks old. When there hearing is fully developed a few months later, their hearing is far better than yours. Compared to a human, the average dog can hear about four times further. Given that dog will not understand what the sounds they hear are, these deafening sounds, from the dog perspective, can be frightening!

Dogs can also hear frequencies about twice as high as a human. Humans can hear the ranges of about 64-23000Hz, and dogs can hear 67-45000Hz, which means that you miss half of the noises that a dog hears.

Dogs also have 18 muscles in the ear that allow them to point their ear towards the sound. This again means that they can hear it better and louder than you do. It would be the equivalent of a human cupping their hands to their ears so they can hear better.

Some breeds of dog can hear better than others. In general dogs with ears that can perk up and face the sound (e.g. German Shepard) can hear better than dog which cannot do this. (e.g. Bassett Hound). So these types of dog need dog ear protection more often. (That is not to say that your floppy-eared dog never needs dog ear muffs!)

How To Tell If A Noise You Can’t Hear Is Too Loud For A Dog?

As you cannot hear ultrasonic noises, and your dog can, how do you know if these noises are too loud? The best way is to take notice of how your dog acts, and if they show signs of discomfort. Some of these signs are:

  • Cowering
  • Howling
  • Hiding
  • Whimpering
  • Ears back

Situations When You May Need Dog Hearing Protection

Scary Noises Like (Fireworks And Thunder

Thunder and fireworks both scare dogs in the same way, sudden noises and flashing light. It is the noise that bothers your dogs the most. So what can you do about this? Below is a list of things that can be done to help your dog in these times

8 Tips to keep your dog calm during Thunder or Fireworks

1) Exercise
If you expect thunder or know there is going to be a firework display, then making sure that the dog is tired would be a great start. If the dog is exhausted, there is less chance that they will be alert when any noises start

2) Stay At home
Your dog feels safer and more comfortable with his “Pack”. If possible, stay at home with them and do not make any fuss when the thunder or fireworks start.

Give the dog somewhere to hide should they want it, like a small box.

3) Hide the lights
Both fireworks and thunder have a visual part as well as the sound. These are especially visible at night (I don’t think you ever have day fireworks!). Draw the curtains and try to make the room that your dog is in as light as possible. This will stop them from noticing the flashes, helping to calm the dog

4) Distract the Dog
Play with your dog, and do the sort of things that he enjoys when inside, this will again help to distract them from the noises, or with [amazon link=”B077MDJ58Y” title=”Buy Small calming treats” /]

5) Mask the sounds
Play music or have the TV on loud during the event. The constant noises from the TV will help mask the sudden bangs from outside somewhat

6) Use Anxiety Wraps.
There are a few wraps on the market that are supposed to be good at calming dogs down that do not like loud noises. I have never used one of these myself, but reading the reviews, they are excellent. (Over 1,500 reviews with a rating of four stars)

7) Calming drops for dogs
These drops help to calm your pets and claim to have another host of benefits for animals.
Again, this is not something that I have used myself, but the reviews give it 4.5 stars, and they have a lot of reviews!

8) Dog ear muffs.
This I have tried, and the way it works is obvious. Cover the dog’s ears, and if most of the noise from the fireworks and thunder is blocked out, then it will not frighten the dog.

Very Loud Noises Like Guns.

This is a very different situation to the fireworks above. Your dog will be a long way from the fireworks, and while the noise will scare them, there is very little chance that it is going to damage their hearing

If your dog is a gun dog, or you take them hunting, then they are going to be near your side when the gun is fired. The problem is not so much the dog is scared; it’s the damage to the ears. When shooting etc. You should be wearing hearing protection and you should also have some sort of dog ear muffs

When Flying

Some people leave their dogs at home when traveling, and this includes taking your dog when on planes. The dog will experience the same changes in ear pressure that you will when the flight is landing. It will only cause mild discomfort in most dogs.

You cannot explain to dogs why this is happening like you can with children, or tell them to swallow, or yawn to reduce the pressure difference.

What you can do is get the dog to chew and swallow. (Have some dog treats handy). You can also, of course, get some dog ear muffs

For Protection

When a dog has something wrong with their ears, after cutting it, surgery, or maybe an infection from swimming, then you may need to protect the ear from the dog, who may want to scratch it. For this you would probably want a dog “hoodie”. That is basically a tube that you put over the head to cover the ears. This can be an excellent alternative to the dog cone sometimes.

These hoodies can also be useful if you have a dog that gets a lot of grass seeds, or similar in the ears when it is growing

Things To Consider When Buying Dog Ear Plugs

When you are ordering dog hearing protection, there are two things you need to consider.

  • Dog Size – Dogs vary greatly in size, manufacturers know this and will provide different sizes. Be sure to read the size guide to get the correct one
  • Usage – To block sound, you need muffs. To stop things touching or going in the ear, you will need a “Hoodie.”

Effectiveness Of Dog Ear Muffs

Dog ear plugs are not as efficient at blocking the sounds as when a human wears ear plugs. This is mainly due to the following reasons.

  • Dogs Head shape – The size and shape of heads vary a lot, meaning that it is harder to find the exact right size.
  • Dogs Ear shape – Again, ears vary in dogs a lot, and getting the muffs to fully cover some of these shapes is not easy. Think Bassett Hound.
  • Can’t Adjust Themselves – You know if your earmuffs are not on correctly and can adjust them. Dogs can’t
  • In-Ear Plugs – Dogs cannot use the wax/silicone in-ear type plugs

Recommended Dog Ear Plugs

Below are the recommended ear muffs for dogs

Mutt Muffs Medium
  • Over-the-Head Hearing Protector for Animals
  • Specially Designed Wide Foam Filled Ear Seals for Maximum Comfort
  • Engineered specifically to properly meet the contour of a dog's head Comfortable and Lightweight
  • Adjustable Straps for Optimum Fit
  • Inner sound-deadening foam is the same density found in pilot's high-end headsets
4 Paws Aviation K-9 Ear Muffs (Medium, Black)
  • Small: 5 - 25lbs head circumference 7" - 13" Medium: 20-60lbs head circumference 13" - 19" Large: 50 - 90lbs head circumference 19" +
  • Superior hearing protection for animals
  • Comfortable gel molded to contour to any dog's head with adjustable straps that buckle
  • External attachment points for maximum comfort
  • For personal, medical, and aviation use
Happy Hoodie 2 Pack- Purple- 1 Small and 1 Large
  • Gentle compression reduces noise and has a swaddling effect that calms and comforts pets, relieving fear, (and even the occasional aggressive behavior), that can be associated with Force Drying. It's a Force Drying MIRACLE! Check out YouTube video.
  • Contributes to the safety of both pet and Groomer/Parent.
  • Package contains one large and one small Hoodie to accommodate most dog breeds. Large size fits most all dog breeds, from extra large breeds such as a Mastiff to Med/Sm breeds such as a Schnauzer, Cocker, Shih Tzu etc. and cats. Smaller size fits Med/ sm size dogs to toy breeds and cats.
  • Saves valuable time (and frustration) in the Grooming Salon or Home by calming upset, disagreeable or sensitive dogs for other things we do to them that they consider irritating, like: toenail clipping, clipper work, brushing, etc.
  • Requires little time, effort and cost to use. Long-lasting and fully washable. On the market for over 4 years and used by thousands, Happy Hoodie is proven and praised by groomers and home owners alike for the AMAZING difference it makes!

Last update on 2020-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Related Questions


How Many Decibels Is Too Loud For A Dog?

The noise that a dog can take before it damages its hearing is the same as a human, about 80dB. That is about the same as a garbage disposal. Below is an infographic showing familiar sounds, with an indication of if they are too loud.

What Frequency Will Hurt A Dog’s Ears?

As mentioned before, dogs can hear higher frequencies than you can. Any noises in this range, if louder than 80dB can damage your dogs hearing But you will not hear anything!

Things that make high-pitches, shrill noises, for example, an electric drill, are making sounds that are so high you cannot register them. But your dogs can.

As humans cannot hear these sounds, nothing is done to stop them, unlike the sounds we can hear.

Is Ultrasonic Sound Harmful To Dogs?

As I said, dogs can hear ultrasonic sounds, and if you have any ultrasonic appliances in the house (E.g. cleaner, pest repellers or humidifier), if they are too loud they can damage your dog’s hearing.

But wait! How will you know if it is too loud? After all you can’t hear these noises at all. (That’s why these devices seem so quiet, they are in fact noisy – you just can’t hear it!)

The best way to tell is to watch your dog’s behavior. If they show signs that they are bothered by the sounds or signs of destress, then take them for a walk when the device is working. Or get them some dog ear plugs to wear.

Do Ultrasonic Pest Repellants Hurt Dog’s Ears?

No, most ultrasonic pest repellants are made to specifications that will not harm domestic pets like cats and dogs. They are designed to deter rodents and similar. If you have a pet Hamster, mouse or rabbit, the noise will affect them.

Do Dogs Hate Loud Music?

Yes. If the music is too loud, then the dog will not like the noise. Loud music is more uncomfortable for them than it is for you.

Surprisingly, research from the University of Belfast, on 50 dogs, showed that playing classical music, like Vivaldi’s, the four seasons made the dogs clam and they laid down.

When played Heavy-Metal, they started barking and became agitated. Other types of music had no effect

Author: Nick

Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

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