Dogs have impeccable, acute hearing that is far better than humans. While their sense of smell is what they rely on the most, their hearing isn't far behind. Canines can actually hear four times better than us humans can, which is pretty impressive! This explains why their ears perk up at seemingly nothing - like a fly!
So if you've ever wondered how dogs can hear things we can't, now you know. Many dog breeds also have their ears on the top of their heads, whereas us humans have ears placed flatly on the sides of our head. This allow dogs to detect sound direction much better than we can. Dogs are often flooded with smells and sounds all at once, but where humans would be overwhelmed, dogs are able to filter sounds and select what matters most.
Signs Your Dog Hears a Fly
Flies are annoying to us all, but even more so to our canine friends. Given the fact their hearing is four times better than ours, this should come as no surprise. A dog's hearing is what makes them such great search and rescue creatures, and also good protectors.
But, a fly? Yep, many dogs find flies the most annoying sounds of them all! Think about it - how irritated do you get by a fly buzzing around your dinner table at night? Now imagine that sound times four and you'd really go crazy!
Not all dogs are super-bothered by flies, but those that are may twitch their ears, look around frantically for the sound, and high-tail it inside or to another room if the fly just won't leave them be. So, next time instead of laughing at your pooch for being scared of a fly, give them some credit and consider what a loud, obnoxious noise that probably is for them.
History of Dogs Hearing Flies
Thanks to recent studies, we have begun to understand a lot more about our furry friends. Not only can they feel some of the same emotions us humans can, but their hearing is impeccable. They may rely on their sense of smell above anything else, but their hearing is a close second.
This is why some dogs appeared so annoyed and flustered by the very presence of something as tiny as a fly. Their buzzing annoys us humans, so imagine what it does to your dog's sensitive ears? While we may not be able to trace the first instance of a dog hearing a fly, chances are they've been just as annoyed by them as we have for a very, very long time.
The Science of Dogs Hearing Flies
Humans interpret frequency of sound waves as pitch, or low and high notes. For us, sounds around 20 Hz are quite low, while sounds around 20,000 Hz are high. Dogs, on the other hand, hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz. This explains why they have such a hard time with loud noises, and can hear things we can't. It also helps us understand why a fly can seem so loud and annoying to a dog.
Not only can dogs hear sounds at a greater frequency than we can, but they can hear sounds roughly four times farther away than humans. We've probably all witnessed our dogs running at the door, barking like crazy at something that seems completely out of the blue, right? No one rang the doorbell - you can't hear anything.
A couple minutes later, you see your neighbor walking their dog past your house. Fido isn't crazy after all! Perhaps it's time you give your dog a bit more credit. They can hear all kinds of things (like flies) that we can't. It is no wonder that dogs with big ears, in particular, are so annoyed by tiny, buzzy bugs.
While the muscles in our ears are pretty much useless, dogs have around 18 muscles that all serve some purpose. They not only help them hear tiny sounds like a fly on the patio, but they allow for an impressive range of movement, too.
Training Your Dog to Deal with Flies
You certainly can't train your dog to hear - or not hear - a fly, but there may be a few things you can do in order to provide them with a bit more peace. Instead of scoffing at your pooch for looking at a fly with eyes of terror, give them a place of solace that is fly-free. No one likes a buzzing fly, and since your dog's ears are so sensitive, they can be extra annoying.
Being a good dog owner means paying attention to your dog's behaviors and noticing when something bothers them. Just like humans, dogs are quirky creatures that can't always be understood. Cut them some slack and help them get away from the fly, if need be!
Written by a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 04/20/2018, edited: 04/06/2020