Animals and audiophiles

Lately a few members have mentioned their pets and posted pictures of them in addition to their systems. Its brought to mind this feeling of guilt Ive had the past few years concerning our two rescue dogs. These animals like so many rescues live to be around us at all times following either my wife or I from room to room. My schedule is to return home from work in the afternoon and preform my doctor ordered exercises while listening to music every week day..This can be from one to two hours depending on how focused I am and of course the dogs have been alone at home all day and want to hang out. So you can  see the dilemma Im sure, like most bommers I listen to mixture of rock, jazz and blues and sometimes you just want to crank it up a little especially while exercising. Never been a headphone guy and really don’t want to start digging a new money pit either. Its said that they can hear up to 35khz I know but its the levels that concern me, most days I may bump up the volume a little but within a few minutes the guilt kicks in and I turn it back down, shutting them in another room is not a great option and I can’t put them outside because we have Coyote problems in our neighborhood. I’ve read that they can shut down their inner ears to block out background noise so they can focus on particular sounds and wonder if that’s so, they never show any signs of discomfort ,drives me crazy when they’re laying on the floor right in front of a speaker. Any audiophile vets out there care to weigh in? Thanks in advance! Oh and please don’t forward this to PETA Im doing my best.


If it is too loud the dog will leave the room. If you are concerned they still won't leave put them in another room and close the door. If you are still concerned sell the speakers, keep the dogs. 

I've got three dogs.Two of them just leave the room if they don't like what's playing. One seems to enjoy almost everything and often lays close to a speaker blasting loud music. It doesn't hurt them and their hearing is fine.I know this because they will come running from anywhere in the house when I so much as pick up the treat jar.

Maybe they don't understand what their tinnitus ringing is.

It doesn't hurt them and their hearing is fine

@noromance I checked that already, they show no symptoms of doggie tinnitus, and they’re both able to refrigerator door open from great distances 🥩

This is generalizable to humans as well.  Sometimes when I come home I just want to decompress listening to music for an hour or so but my recently retired wife wants to have some companionship.  I used to come home before her and got used to my routine but it doesn’t do much for the marriage to retreat to the listening room and crank up the music.  And she immediately reaches to lower the volume knob to protect both of our hearing 

We have three rescue dogs as well, in addition to a coyote problem that backs up to a mountain/city park. Two of the three are Chihuahua mixes that have exceptional hearing in the dog world.  

I think I see your dilemma; the dogs have been home all day, you come home, they want to be around you no matter what, you have to exercise while dialing up the volume, dogs would rather be around you vs leaving the room - even if they are in discomfort. 

Did some reading on the Internet since I've had similar questions and this is what I found: 

1) No formal studies between loud music and ear damage for dogs, but...

2) Naturally, working dogs exposed to a loud percussive noise (gun shot) can cause temp and/or permanent damage - so it does and can happen

2) One vet recommended 70 db and lower

3) Signs of distress include licking lips, putting ears back, panting or yawning

4) High frequency sounds can cause discomfort/anxiety, but it's the decibels that will naturally cause the damage

I'm not into headphones either. Unsure what options you have. I do notice that my dogs will leave the room if really start pushing the volume on something I like, but I usually listen well after their excitement of seeing me has drawn down. Like your dogs, they usually won't leave my side unless we go through the daily routine of play/exercise before dinner in the evenings. 

I found this small thread from 7 years ago that kind of mirrors our experience:

@toro3 Thanks for your research and reply toro. Seams like their would be more info online about this,especially since animal ownership has gone crazy in the last few years. Im definitely up over 70 Db at times and if I try to leave them in an adjacent room they cry and stratch at the door. Neither one shows any signs of discomfort or wanting to leave the room, funny thing though when my wife is watching a movie,especially an action type with loud noises or glass breaking etc they do show signs of anxiety and will leave the room.Thanks again,have fun with the beasts and keep em clear of the Coyotes,our female was attacked and was lucky to survive ( they’re only 25 lbs ) . Checked out your profile btw, really nice systems, love that mid century console cabinet your using also. Thanks again!

I agree. You think there would be more research out there. Definitely surprising. Appreciate the compliment and glad to hear that your dog survived - I would imagine that was traumatizing. The credenza was purchased maybe 15 years ago. Prices have definitely jumped up since then. Seems like we share the same taste - especially love that clock and overarching lamp!

My rescue Pyr mix doesn't ever display discomfort but I don't exceed 75 db peaks in our large space. She will occasionally opt to climb the stairs to the first landing but I can't be sure she's actually trying to escape the music.

Great to know there are others here who favor rescues!  We've had six rescue mutts, so far -- (two Pyrs, three Husky/Malamutes and one Shepard/Husky. Without exception, they've been terrific companions. Not once have we wished we'd bought a dog from a breeder.  

It's great that you're considering the well-being of your rescue dogs while enjoying your music and exercise routine. While I'm not an audiophile vet, I can offer some general insights that might help you strike a balance between enjoying your music and ensuring your dogs' comfort.

1. **Frequency Range:** Dogs do have a broader frequency range of hearing compared to humans, with some sources suggesting they can hear frequencies up to 65 kHz or even higher. However, the human range is typically 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and most music content falls within this range. It's the volume levels that are more of a concern.

2. **Volume Levels:** Dogs' hearing is much more sensitive than ours, and they can be more sensitive to loud noises. Playing music at high volumes for extended periods can be uncomfortable for them and even potentially damaging to their ears. Signs of discomfort might not always be obvious, so it's better to err on the side of caution.

3. **Inner Ear Mechanism:** It's true that dogs can use a mechanism in their inner ears to selectively block out background noise and focus on specific sounds, like our voices. However, this doesn't mean they can fully protect themselves from potentially harmful loud sounds.

4. **Behavioral Indicators:** Dogs might not always show overt signs of discomfort because they're known to adapt to their environment and show a lot of resilience. Even if they seem relaxed, it's possible that prolonged exposure to loud music might still have negative effects on their well-being over time.

Given your situation, here are a few suggestions to consider:

1. **Volume Limit:** Set a reasonable volume limit that is comfortable for both you and your dogs. This way, you can enjoy your music and exercise routine without causing unnecessary stress to your pets.

2. **Time Management:** Break up your exercise routine into shorter sessions, allowing you to take breaks to spend time with your dogs. This way, you can exercise, enjoy music, and still have quality time with your pets.

3. **Soundproofing:** If feasible, consider soundproofing the room where you exercise to minimize the noise that reaches your dogs in other parts of the house.

4. **Behavior Observation:** Keep an eye on your dogs' behavior over time. If you notice any signs of stress, discomfort, or behavioral changes, it might be an indicator that the music levels are affecting them.

5. **Alternative Activities:** Provide engaging activities for your dogs during your exercise routine. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, or interactive games could keep them mentally stimulated while you're busy.

Remember that dogs are sensitive to their environments, and considering their well-being alongside your own enjoyment is a responsible and caring approach. If you're unsure about any aspect, you might want to consult with a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist who can provide more specific guidance based on your dogs' personalities and needs.

@tokushi Thanks for your thoughtful and well put together reply Tokushi. All of your ideas and considerations are very helpful. What I’ve been doing the last few weeks is keeping them in another part of the house for listening sessions, they’re not crazy about it but Im sure when it becomes part of the daily ritual things will improve (they keep barking and scratching to come back in) They’ll figure out eventually that they’re not being punished.Thanks again, great reply!