Is Noise Driving Your Dog Nuts?

Ransom Riggs

Two years ago I blogged about how noise pollution takes a toll on our health: "Noise is linked with heart attack and stroke because it creates chronic stress that keeps our bodies in a state of constant alert." But humans aren't the only ones who are hurt by noise. According to a study reported in Healthy Pet, the sensitive ears of our four-legged friends are even more prone to being stressed out by noise than we are.

How many people do you know that leave the television blaring all day -- and how many of them have pets?

90% of dog owners discuss behavioral problems with their vets, and in many cases, both veterinarians and psychologists say, your pet's irritability and nervousness can be at least partially attributed to in-home noise pollution.

Adjusting the volume and types of sound that permeate your home can be beneficial for you and your pet. If animal caregivers can create a two-hour "noise break" for themselves and their animals on a Sunday morning and pop in a comforting CD, they may notice how incrementally distressed they become afterward, as noise reintrudes on their lives. "When we consider the psychological sress that noise induces," says veterinarian Narda Robinson, "it pays to give noise control and music therapy serious consideration. I think we'd all be happier if we quieted down."

To find out whether or not your home is too noisy for your dog, Healthy Pet recommends that you find a free half-hour and take a "sonic inventory" --

Write down all the sounds you can identify, including fridge noise, the TV, hair dryer, vacuum, computer, stereos, traffic and sounds from the street. Notice your dog's physical reaction to these sounds. Does he move closer to or further away from the noise source? Does he bark when you turn on the stereo or run the vacuum? Rate the sounds on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the most ignored by your dog and 10 drawing your dog's most intense response. Identify which sounds in your home you can turn down or mask when your dog is present.

Then leave us a comment and let us know what you found -- what's driving your dog nuts?

(Awesome crazy dog picture by unidentified Ning admin. Nice shot!)