Photo credit: Sergio Souza
by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies
Many readers of our posts are familiar with dog barking as a noise source, though not a major one. But how many are familiar with noise being a problem for dogs? This article by Beth Rush informs us that dogs are disturbed by noises. They do not like the sounds of thunderstorms and fireworks, and even the sound of a vacuum cleaner can startle a dog. Dislike of noise can start early in a dog’s life and could be spurred by a traumatic event like a house fire — which can lead to an anxiety about high-pitched smoke alarms.
This article also explains that certain breeds of dogs are more sensitive to noise. It referenced a 2015 study aimed to learn more about which noises affect particular dogs. For example, that study found that poodles are disturbed by shooting noises. People should consider if the the noise in the area they live would be especially disturbing to a particular breed of dog.
The article then goes on to describe how to treat noise phobias in dogs. It suggests avoiding large festivals, distracting dogs when they are faced with disturbing noises and getting dogs accustomed to disturbances like vacuum cleaners.
The article ends by stating that there are ways to make dogs feel more comfortable about noises. Owners should employ these tools to ease any anxiety their dogs may. Hopefully, this will lead to less stress in dogs when confronted with a noisy environment.
We have had many posts addressing the impacts of noise on species other than humans. However, dogs (unlike mollusks, dolphins and snakes) live with humans and share their homes. For this reason, I believe there may be a bigger impact on humans when dogs are adversely affected by noise. I hope this article may lead more people to advocate for a quieter environment.