4 min read


Can Dogs Hear Breathing?



4 min read


Can Dogs Hear Breathing?


A lot of information about dogs has been a mystery to humans for a long time As time goes on, we continue to conduct research that helps us learn more and more about man’s best friend. While we have learned a lot about many of dogs’ senses, it isn’t always clear what dogs see, hear, feel, taste, and smell.

While we don’t really know much, we do know that dogs have very good hearing. Dogs are able to hear up to four times better than humans. They hear noises from further away than humans can, which makes it a sure thing that dogs can hear breathing sounds.


Signs Dogs Can Hear Breathing

Have you ever sighed or breathed heavily and noticed your dog looking at you intently? If so, you can be sure that your dog heard your breathing change and is probably a little concerned or confused. You may also see your dog perk up or twitch their ears. Dogs often become more alert when they hear something that catches their attention as well.

If you notice that your dog pays more attention to you when you are sick, it is probably due to the fact that you sound different to your dog, which intrigues them a bit. Watch for changes in your dog’s behavior when sound changes in your home. You should see different signs of them hearing new sounds.

It is also important that you understand just how sensitive your dog’s ears are, because it is easy for your dog to hurt their ears around loud noises. Dogs are also sometimes afraid of loud noises, because of their sensitive hearing abilities.

Let’s learn how dogs can hear so much better than humans can!

Body Language

Dogs give off body language cues when they hear something that interests them. If you are breathing heavily, you may notice your dog do any of the following:

  • Barking
  • Head Tilting
  • Howling
  • Wag Tail
  • Ears Up

Other Signs

Other signs that dogs have really good hearing include:

  • Hearing Dog Whistles That Humans Can'T
  • Looking For Something That You Can'T Hear
  • Reacting To Seemingly Nothing
  • Looking Off Into The Distance

History of Dogs Being Able to Hear Breathing


It is said that a dog’s instincts are in tune with its senses. Many people have reported that their dogs knew that they were pregnant or that they could tell when someone in the family was ill. Part of that can be explained by the fact that dogs have an amazing sense of hearing and smell. If your dog hears your breathing change, they may alert to that fact and come to your side to check on you.

Even with what humans think is terrible eyesight, dogs are so good at hearing and smelling things that they completely make up for that inability to see well. Dogs are very aware of their surroundings thanks to these senses, so it is likely that they are more aware than humans. If you have noticed your dog’s ears twitch when you can’t hear anything, you can bet that they are hearing something that your ears are unable to detect.

Science Behind Dogs Being Able to Hear Breathing


At this point, it shouldn’t be a surprise that your dog can hear extremely well. Dogs can hear a sound that humans can’t hear past 20 feet away at about 80 feet away. That means that they can hear about four times better than humans can.

Additionally, dogs hear a wider range of pitches than humans can. The average human can hear sounds that are between 20 hertz and 20,000 hertz. Dogs are able to hear much higher pitched noises. In fact, dogs hear sounds in the range of 40 hertz to 60,000 hertz.

Now that we know just how well dogs can hear, let’s find out how they are able to do it. Unsurprisingly, the anatomy of a dog’s ear helps them hear far better than humans. While humans have six muscles in their ears, dogs have 18. These muscles allow the dog to move their ears in various directions to better hear sounds. 

Plus, the curvature of their ears amplify noises. This is how dogs can hear more accurately even from further away than a human. Dogs can actually localize a noise by moving their ears toward the noise. Dogs with upright ears have better hearing than dogs with floppy ears.

Dealing with a Dog's Good Hearing


It is important that—now that you understand your dog’s situation—you do your best to protect your pup’s precious ears. The first thing that you should know if you are around puppies is that dogs should be able to hear before three weeks old. 

If you have a puppy that doesn’t appear to respond to auditory stimuli, you should have them tested for deafness. While a deaf dog will have some additional challenges, they can live a normal life. You will have to do sign training instead of using verbal cues, but they can be taught just like other dogs. You will also need to be their ears, because they can’t hear things like cars coming toward them.

Since dogs have such sensitive ears, loud noises can be scary and painful for them. Even noises that don’t bother you can bother your pup, because they hear so much better than you do. With hearing that is up to four times better than that of a human, a dog should be leashed and monitored while out in places where they might hear a scary or exciting noise. Additionally, you may want to put your dog in a carrier when travelling to prevent any problems.

Even if your dog is just excited by a noise that is a distance away, they may try to make a run for it. When you are outdoors, this could lead to injuries from a car or another animal, so you need to be careful to protect your dog with a leash or carrier.

Since dogs have such sensitive ears, they are also prone to getting painful ear infections. To prevent an ear infection, you can learn how to clean your dog’s ears. Ask your veterinarian to teach you how to keep your dog’s ears clean without hurting them.

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Safety Tips for Caring for Your Dog's Ears:

  1. Keep your dog's ears clean and learn how to do it properly.
  2. Keep your dog away from loud noises that could frighten them or hurt their ears.
  3. Take notice if they often paw or scratch their ears.

Written by a Pomsky lover Chelsea Mies

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 04/20/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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