Getting a relaxing night’s sleep is crucial to good health for humans and animals alike. If you’ve ever slept in a house on a noisy street, had neighbors that never seem to quiet down, or even if you’re just nervous about the noises your home makes at night, a white noise machine might be an amazing option for you.
If your dog is an anxious sleeper, could it be a good option for them too? Can they even hear white noise? It’s an interesting question, and hopefully, they can hear white noise so it can be helpful to them too.
Signs Your Dog Might Hear Something
It’s no secret that dogs have great hearing, and there are a few signs you might notice if your dog is hearing or listening to something. The first thing you might notice is your dog becoming very alert. Then, they’ll probably put their ears up.
Dogs ears are made to “catch” sound waves, and so putting their ears up helps them to hear even more clearly. You will notice your pup listening to whatever they hear, and sometimes you can almost see the wheels turning in their head as they analyze what they are hearing. Some dogs will even start sniffing the air to see if they can pick up on any unique scents. This is probably to see if they can tell more about the sound with their other senses.
If the sounds your dog hears don’t bother them, they’ll probably just sit back down and relax. However, if the sounds make them uncomfortable, they might do a few other things. They might start barking, growling, or even howling at the noise. Some dogs might cower or shake.
However, if the dog is interested in learning more about the noise or perceives a threat, they might try to run toward the noise. So, it’s important to keep them on a leash if you’re outside. The last thing you want is your pup getting hurt or hurting someone else. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
History of Dogs and White Noise
Dictionary.com defines white noise as “a steady, unvarying, unobtrusive sound, as an electronically produced drone or the sound of rain, used to mask or obliterate unwanted sounds.” Some people say white noise is strictly computer generated, while others believe it can be sounds of nature as well.
If you believe that white noise includes nature sounds, it’s safe to say that white noise has been around for as long as there has been water, trees, weather systems, and wind. For example, if you go stay in a house by the lake, you can open your window and listen to the lake hitting the side of the dock and the wind blowing the grass and trees outside. This is considered a form of white noise.
Some people prefer the electronic white noise sounds while others prefer nature sounds. Many people pay a lot of money for machines that make these noises, but the reality is that white noise can be found in peaceful outdoor locations too.
The purpose of the noise is to hide other sounds that might distress or disturb a person or animal. Some people actually think letting your dog sleep with a white noise machine close by will help an anxious pup sleep better, and white noise is supposed to be helpful for rescue animals as well.
Science Behind Dogs and White Noise
The science behind white noise is fascinating. There isn’t a lot of research on dogs and white noise, but white noise, in general, has been researched a bit. Sleepjunkies.com talks about how adding more noise to your sleeping environment might sound silly. However, there is science behind white noise blending with other sounds in your environment (cars, dogs outside barking, etc.). The theory is that all of these sounds blend together and your brain then pays less attention to all of the individual sounds around you.
This starts early for humans, and we would guess dogs too, because many people recommend white noise machines to help newborn babies sleep. The thought is that white noise can mimic the sounds that babies hear in the womb, thereby calming them.
So, why wouldn’t it be the same for dogs? Dogs also have much, much stronger hearing than humans. They can hear frequencies between 40,000-60,000 Hz. So, there’s no doubt a dog can hear the white noise.
Training Your Dog to Hear White Noise
As far as training your dog to hear white noise - there is no need! They can probably hear it all by themselves and, as mentioned, even benefit from it! If your dog has anxiety, a hard time sleeping, is a rescue, or has separation issues, you might want to speak with your vet about the benefits of white noise for your pup. A good night sleep is good for your dog and for you!
If your vet recommends white noise for your dog, there are many ways to get white noise. You can buy a fancy white noise machine which sometimes can do more than just create white noise. Some even project pictures on your ceiling. Other people just download an app to their phone and use that. These apps can be customized to play everything from rain noises to more electrical sounds. Another option is that there are white noise playlists on music streaming services that you can follow and use as well.
So, can a dog hear white noise? Considering their ability to hear very well and that the noise can calm some dogs, it looks like they absolutely can! They might even benefit from it, as well.
Written by Katie Anderson
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 05/10/2018, edited: 04/06/2020