It’s always an amazing thing to ponder how a hunting dog developed their abilities that help put dinner on the table. Dogs have lived with humans as hunting companions for thousands of years – using their keen hearing to help track prey. Today dogs have a more domesticated lifestyle, and their skills have evolved to tracking, pointing and setting game for their humans. What hasn’t changed is that hunting dogs still use their hearing to help track and retrieve game.  But, with the use of hunting guns we need to consider: can hunting dogs suffer from hearing loss? 

Can Hunting Dogs Suffer From Hearing Loss – Let’s Find Out!

Although hunting dogs can be of such great help to an avid sportsperson, there’s a realistic concern about how they will be affected by loud noises – mainly from whistles and guns used during hunting. As we all know, the hearing frequency range of dogs is from 40 Hertz to 60,000Hz while that of humans is between 20Hz and 20,000Hz. 

But what we may not know: sounds of more than 25,000Hz can be traumatizing for dogs. 

Can hunting dogs suffer from hearing loss? Yes, they absolutely can! Learn what you can do to help your much beloved hunting dog.

When Hunting Dogs Suffer From Hearing Loss – What Decibels Are Involved?

In other words, noises above 120dB to 140dB are beyond safe levels and can cause hearing loss in dogs. Unfortunately, most guns produce sounds that are higher than 150dB and adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can increase the noise levels by several decibels. Although dogs generally have the ability to block out some sounds and tune in to others, the noise of gunfire occurs too rapidly for the mechanisms to protect their sensitive inner ear, thus increasing the risk of permanent hearing loss. 

One gunshot may not seem like enough to do damage but continued exposure to such noises can inflict hearing damage. 

Hunters Protect Their Hearing – And Now They Can Protect Their Dog’s Hearing Too!

Hunting dogs are indispensable assets to outdoors men and women. But like other types of dogs, hunting dogs have more sensitive hearing than humans. As a responsible hunter, it’s important to take precautions not just to protect yourself from hearing loss but to also protect your fine hunting dog from the effects of loud noises. Investing in ear protection can help reduce harmful noise and ensures that your pup will be able to hear you whisper and birds sing for years to come. 

Just Because Hunting Dogs Don’t Jump Or Excite Does Not Mean That Their Hearing Is Okay

Excellent hunting dogs, like these above, are connected to their handlers cues, and calm and happy. Well-trained hunting dogs may not give clues to their hearing loss – just as humans hearing deteriorates overtime, so do dogs’. 

For a more clinical understanding, read Dr. Kari Foss’ recent article in Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, where she describes her case study of hearing loss in a gun dog.

Making The Right Hearing Protection Choice

When hunting, you want to protect versus limit your dog’s hearing. Additionally, you don’t want anything that will fall off, block vision, or move and make unexpected sounds. This is why external, or over-the-ear noise protection muffs don’t work for hunting dogs. In-ear, stable, and correctly manufactured dog earplugs are what you’ll need. 

Earplugs for dogs come in different sizes and are engineered to meet the contour of a dog’s head. Our patented dog earplugs are designed so you can find the perfect fit and are made to allow your hunting dog to hear required sounds without damaging their hearing. In addition, they are also comfortable – your dog will often forget that they’re wearing them. 

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