I’m all Ears

Mr Peanut, I Hear You loud and Clear

Mr Peanut is both a very vocal and expressive little soul.  My 4 lb Chihuahua is not shy about letting others know how he is feeling.   He communicates with his enormous Chihuahua ears. Since he is my first Chi I had no idea how flexible their ears were. I didn’t know they would be able to twist their ears in so many directions and point them in so many different ways.

When Mr Peanut ears stand straight up I know he is on the ALERT. He can hear things that I did even know made sounds. Man has about 5 million scent glands, compared to a dog, who has anywhere from 125 million to 300 million.. That helps him communicate that he is LISTENING intently and is thinking of his next move. Is that lady really trying to pick me up…what should I do?????  Yah, Did I hear my name called?  I wonder if I’ll get a treat, I wonder if I will get to eat the whole box of Itty Bitty Dog Cookies.

When Mr P’s ears go sideways, it give me the impression that he is exasperated. It’s sort of a what the heck is going on?  Excuse me, what you are doing is in no way helpful to me or what I like; please stop!!!

When his ears point down he is sad and looks very pitiful. He may think that if he looks pitiful enough he will not blamed for tearing up the tissue that is strewn all over his crate.  He may be sad and may seek out comfort. He may be frustrated and wonder why ihs breakfast is half the size of his 3xs bigger Sister, Angel.

Mr Peanut has a way of scrunching up his ears. One ear may point sideways and the other point up. I have no idea what this means,  but I am seriously curious how this is even possible.

I wonder how I could enjoy life before I had Mr Peanut’s and his ridiculous Chihuahua ears to keep me company. I never knew a dog with talking ears.




Why Can Dogs Hear Better Than Humans?
There are many reasons for this. One reason might be that while a human has ears that are placed flatly on the sides of the head, dogs have ears on the top of their heads which are much larger and often erect. Dogs that have erect ears with little hair can hear better than dogs with floppy or excessively hairy ears.

Another reason is that the frequencies that dogs hear are much higher and lower than what humans can hear. Dogs hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz while a human range is between 20 and 20,000 Hz. Because of this, dogs have a difficult time with very loud noises. Sounds that may be acceptable to you can be uncomfortable to a dog.

Yet another feature that makes a dogs hearing superior to humans is their ear muscles. A man may be able to wiggle his ears a little bit but a dog has over 18 muscles in his ears which allow him to rotate them, tilt them, and raise or lower them. His ears are like antennae or radar for honing in on sounds. This movement along with his sensitive range allows him to focus in and locate exactly where a sound is coming from.

Humans are able to detect sound direction to a certain extent but out in the open we basically hear a sound with both ears and can tell the general direction of the noise. Dogs can hear sound with each ear independently. This means that he can listen to you with one ear and hear a sound coming from the bushes with the other ear. Dogs are flooded with smells and sound all of the time. This is what makes them such great search and rescue creatures. Because of their uncanny hearing, they are blessed with the ability to filter sounds. They can selectively pay attention to sounds or drown them out when they need to. Have you noticed that your dog can sleep through blaring music on the radio but jumps up when he hears the treat bag open up?

Hearing Problems
While there is no doubt that canines have excellent hearing, some breeds are prone to deafness and hearing disorders. Breeds with white fur have markedly more ear infections and congenital deafness. Some breeds to screen include: Jack Russell Terriers, Dalmatians, Bull Terriers, and Australian Cattle Dogs. All puppies are deaf until 2 weeks of age but after that, you should clearly be able to tell whether he can hear you or not. Vets often perform a BAER test to measure hearing loss. Be careful to pay close attention to your dog’s ears, especially if they droop a lot. This is a great place for bacteria growth because it is dark and moist. With a little ear cleaning solution and care, your dog’s ear health is easy to control.



Erin Gleeson is the Outreach Specialist at 1-800-PetMeds® and works with the 1-800-PetMeds Cares donations program. She has loved animals as long as she can remember and has worked in several veterinary offices in the past as a veterinary technician. She has one cat, Kitsy, and frequently fosters kittens for a local rescue group. You can also find Erin on Google+.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s