It is common knowledge that dogs have a very acute sense of hearing. While they rely first and foremost on their sense of smell, their hearing is a close second. Dogs hear far better than humans - approximately four times greater, to be exact.
How many times have you wondered what Fido is doing with his head cocked to one side, ears at full alert? Is it a predator? A car? Or maybe...an insect? That's right, dogs can hear the buzz and commotion of even the tiniest of creatures. For some dogs, insects are just a part of life, but for others, they are extremely annoying and even frightening!
Signs Your Dog Can Hear an Insect
Insects come in many different shapes and forms, some that are more annoying or bothersome than others. Flies and bees, for example, present more of a problem for Fido because of the buzzing sound they make. There are at least 18 muscles working at once to tilt, raise, and rotate, your canine friend's furry appendages, helping them identify and decipher sounds from all different angles.
During the quiet hours of the night or in nature, the world is a very noisy place for dogs. While you may run to the mountains to escape the noise and commotion of city life, your dog is still on high alert. Not only does their sense of smell go wild in these situations, but their ears are feeling the love, too. Science has actually shown that dogs can hear movements of rocks underground before an earthquake, which certainly means they can hear an approaching predator or noisy insect in the vicinity.
If you aren't sure whether Fido's picking up on what's going on around you, all you have to do is watch their ears. A dog's ears move independently from one another, which is what allows them to detect movement and noises from various directions.
If you pay close attention at any given moment, you will likely notice your dog's ears moving back and forth, to the side, and even flickering down. All of these motions help them identify and detect many different noises, including insect activity.
History of Dogs Hearing Insects
For as long as we can remember, it's been no secret that dogs have excellent hearing. Together with their sense of smell, they are able to pick up on different sounds and warn us of potential threats, even if it's just an annoying wasp. As dogs have evolved, so have these senses.
In the wild, dogs had to rely on their instinct along with their sense of smell, hearing, and sight in order to survive. A dog's ears can be likened to an antennae or radar that hones in on different sounds. The structure of their ears combined with their sensitive range of hearing allow them to determine exactly where a given sound is coming from.
Science Behind Dogs Hearing Insects
There are many factors that should be considered when looking at how a dog hears, including where their ears are located. Unlike humans, dogs have their ears on the top of their head, which allows them to detect sound direction far better than we can.
They are also able to filter sounds better than we can. Dogs can hear upwards of 45,000 Hz (compared to 23,000 Hz for humans), which means many of the common noises in our world are quite annoying to your canine best friend.
The sounds insects make range in frequency, many of which are out of the range of human hearing. Scientists recently discovered a new genus and three special of insect that registered the highest ultrasonic calling songs ever recorded!
Katydids, which are native to the rainforests of Colombia and Ecuador are extremely vocal when they are mating or calling for a partner. The acoustics can reach upwards of 150,000 Hz, which is beyond what both humans and dogs can hear! However, most katydids range between 5,000 Hz and 30,000 Hz, which is just slightly out of the range for humans but will within a dog's hearing capabilities.
But katydids aren't the only insect your dog can hear. Flies, bees, crickets, grasshoppers, ants, termites, spiders - you name it, your dog can hear it. So next time you are sitting on the patio or enjoying a cold drink in the quiet of nature, ask yourself what it would be like to hear as well as your dog and how incredible it must be to hear all these tiny creatures.
Training Your Dog to Hear Insects
It's impossible to train your dog how to hear an insect, but there may be a few things you can do to gain better insight into what it is like to hear as well as they do. First and foremost, always pay close attention to your dog's behaviors and actions.
As we mentioned earlier, a good clue as to what they are hearing is their ears. Are they raised and alert, or laid down? Because their ears can work independently from one another, there's a good chance your dog is paying close attention to your every move while dealing with a menacing fly at the same time.
By a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall
Published: 05/18/2018, edited: 04/06/2020