Can Dogs Hear Heartbeats?

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Introduction

We all know that a dog's sense of hearing is very good - much better than anything a human ear is capable of hearing. We see examples of it every day when they always seem to show up when we're opening a bag of chips, even if they're halfway across the world, or when they appear by the door the second that you head towards where their leashes are - even when they're waiting patiently (or maybe not so patiently!) by their food bowl at the slightest inkling of us picking up their kibble. 

Regardless of how your dog shows it, you probably know that they have a very keen sense of hearing. But many owners wonder how good that sense of hearing actually is. Can they hear a heartbeat from across the room? Well, surprisingly, the answer is yes! Dogs' senses of hearing are so good (and so much better than ours) that it's likely that they can hear human heartbeats, as well as other animals' heartbeats as well.

Introduction of Can Dogs Hear Heartbeats?

Signs Your Dog Can Hear Your Heartbeat

A dog that's listening intently to something often exhibits many signs or behaviors, some of which may seem especially odd if we can't hear what they can. This is true of heartbeats - most of us probably can't hear our own heartbeat unless we really try, let alone someone else's across the room!

Dogs that are listening or hearing something will often face in the direction of the noise. Their ears will perk forward, and sometimes they may even cock or tilt their head in order to better gauge where the noise is coming from. Certain dog breeds can even move their ears individually, so dogs that have this ability may swing their ears from side to side or swivel them around for the same reason - they're just trying to figure out where the noise is coming from!

Dogs that are listening intently to something will also probably be alert. When doggos are alert, they usually freeze or stand very still, in order to better figure out where a noise is coming from. The ears may even twitch, and their eyes will be wide, with their mouths closed. Anything to keep their own body relatively quiet while they're trying to zero-in on other sounds, which can include our heartbeats. 

Many people, especially mothers who are expecting, also claim that their dog can hear not only their heartbeat, but also the baby's. Sometimes, a dog that wants to console you or even themselves may cuddle up to you and put their head on your chest. Heartbeats are a reassuring sound for humans and pooches alike, so it may be a comforting gesture for our dogs to be able to hear our heartbeats. It just means that they love us a lot! 

Expecting mothers also claim that their dogs have done the same thing, but instead put their heads on the mothers' tummies to hear the baby, exhibiting a certain protectiveness or fondness for their new brother or sister before they're even born. While studies haven't necessarily been done to prove that this is what they're doing, the fact that our doggo's hearing is so good that they should be able to hear a human heartbeat even in the womb means that this is definitely possible!

Body Language

If you're wondering if your dog can hear your heartbeat, watch for the following:
  • Stiff tail
  • Pupils dilated
  • Ears up
  • Body freezing
  • Raise ears
  • Listening
  • Head tilting
  • Alert
  • Staring

Other Signs

More indications that your pup hears your heartbeat are:
  • Paying attention to you
  • Cuddling up on your chest
  • Laying their head on your tummy if you're expecting
  • Smooth forehead with closed mouth
  • Wide eyes

The History Behind Dogs Hearing Heartbeats

History of Can Dogs Hear Heartbeats?
Dogs evolved from wolves thousands of years ago when we domesticated them and took them into our homes. Just because the two are now different species doesn't mean that dogs don't share many of the same traits as their ancestors, however. 

Back when they had to hunt for food, wolves and doggos had to rely on their senses in order to root out their prey. One of these senses was hearing. Dogs and wolves have proven to be able to hear the heartbeat of smaller animals from good distances. They had to be able to hear this kind of stuff - if they couldn't hear the soft heartbeat of a small animal tens-of-yards away, especially if the animal was still or being quiet, then the wolf probably wouldn't have eaten for the day. 

Despite the fact that our woofers don't have to hunt for food, these traits have been passed down to our pooches as well!

The Science Behind Dogs Hearing Heartbeats

Science of Can Dogs Hear Heartbeats?
Studies have shown that our dogs' hearing is significantly better than ours, and that is due to many things. For one, our ears are relatively small, pressed flat on our head, and at most, all we can do is wiggle them a little bit. 

Dogs, on the other hand, have ears that stick out and are larger and more prominent. Many breeds have the ability to move them independently, which allows them to hear things better than we can. 

Not only do dogs hear better than humans, but they also hear more than we do, too. By that, we mean that the frequency range our woofer is capable of hearing is much larger than ours. "Dogs hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz while human range is between 20 and 20,000 Hz." This means that they can not only hear things from farther away than we can, but also that they can hear noises that even we don't.

Training Your Dog to Hear Your Heartbeat

Training of Can Dogs Hear Heartbeats?
There's not really a lot you can do to train your dog to hear, let alone hear your heartbeat. However, there are many things (as you'll see below) that we can do as owners to keep our dog's hearing healthy and strong so that they'll be able to hear our heartbeats long into the future!

That being said, if you want to draw your dog's attention to your heart (or your tummy, if there is a wee human in there), you can try a few things. A no-brainer idea would be to draw your dog's attention to where the heartbeat is coming from using a treat. It would be best to do this when your dog is very calm or already tired out, as you do not want a pooch leaping on your chest or tummy.

You could also try encouraging close cuddles by petting your pup and giving them extra love whenever they lay close to you. This way, they will likely hear the noises coming out of your body much more clearly.

How to Keep Your Dog's Hearing Healthy:

  • Proper Diet: a healthy dog is a happy dog. If your dog is eating regularly, their strength will remain up, so that things like ear infections are less likely to affect your pooch and damage your dog's ears.
  • Regular checkups: taking your dog to the vet for yearly checkups is a good idea, even without referring to your dog's ears. Again, healthy dogs are going to be able to hear better - and your vet can check and see if they have any ear infections or any other issues you may not have noticed that could affect your pooch's ability to hear well.
  • Avoid exposure to loud noises: like humans, dog's ears can be damaged by prolonged exposure to loud, startling sounds. As a result, it's always a good idea to keep your dog away from things like fireworks or rock concerts, since the loud nature of both has the chance of damaging your dog's eardrums
  • Cleanliness: dogs get ear infections because of bacteria. This can be found anywhere, so it's important to keep your dog as clean as you can. The cleaner your dog is, the less likely they'll get sick, which includes ear infections. It's also a good idea to clean out your dog's ears regularly. Just gently use a wet cotton ball every so often, so their hearing can remain good enough to hear your heart pumping!
  • Let them cuddle: sometimes anxious dogs or sad dogs just want to be around their owners. Like us, dogs can find the repetitive and constant sound of a heartbeat rather soothing. So if your dog is agitated and comes up for a cuddle, let them! It's always a good feeling when you can help your dog.