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Home > Dogs > Is Your Dog Scared? 13 Vet Reviewed Noises That Scare Them

Is Your Dog Scared? 13 Vet Reviewed Noises That Scare Them

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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A dog’s hearing is much more sophisticated than that of humans. At low frequencies, there isn’t much difference between a dog’s and a human’s hearing, but dogs are much more sensitive to high frequencies than humans. To put this into perspective, humans can hear high frequencies up to 20kHz, whereas dogs can hear between 70 and 100kHz1.

This is why noises you may barely notice can seriously stress out your dog. In some cases, dogs can even suffer from a noise phobia2. In this post, we’ll explore thee common noises that frighten dogs.


The 13 Noises That Could Scare Your Dog

1. Thunder

The sound of thunder commonly upsets dogs. According to PetMD3, changes in barometric pressure and electrical charges during a thunderstorm as well as the very sound of thunder, rain, and flashes of lightning can trigger a dog to react with fear.

As PetMD goes on to explain, some dogs are more genetically prone to emotional reactivity than others, whereas others have had their fears unintentionally reinforced or just aren’t used to the sound of thunder.

2. Sirens

Since dogs have the capacity to hear at such high frequencies, it’s not surprising that the high-pitched wail of an ambulance, police car, or fire truck siren would be stressful for them.

sirens on police cars
Image Credit: Diego Fabian Parra Pabon, Pixabay

3. Alarms

Whether it’s the sound of your car alarm, house alarm, fire alarm, or your get-up alarm, dogs can be especially sensitive to these high-pitched sounds. If we factor in that these noises are usually in close proximity to your dog because they’re in or around your home, the stress of these noises could be intensified.

4. Fireworks

Likely anybody who has ever parented a dog knows how frightening fireworks can be to dogs. Luckily, there are some tactics you can try to decrease your dog’s firework fear, including:

  • Play the sound of fireworks at a low volume and gradually increase the volume over days and weeks until your dog is desensitized to the noise.
  • Put a dog headband over your dog’s ears.
  • Close the curtains to muffle the sound and block the flashes.
  • Play a dog relaxation audiobook or put on the TV, radio, or some calming music.
  • Try an anxiety vest.
  • Stay calm and unflappable—reacting to the sounds or using a high-pitched “baby talk” voice will stress your dog out more.
  • Speak to your vet and a registered behaviorist for more help

Silhouette Celebration Cheering fireworks
Image Credit: PxHere

5. Construction

If you think about it, construction noises can be unsettling even for us—especially when they’re right under our window—so for dogs, the drilling, rumbling, and hammering can be very frightening, especially as they don’t understand why those noises are happening.

6. Crying

It’s not unusual for dogs to be disturbed by the sound of crying—the sound of a baby crying in particular can be very stressful for them because it tends to be rather high-pitched. Since dogs are sensitive to your emotions, they may become distressed when you are crying simply because you are distressed. Your sweet dog may also try to comfort you when you’re upset.

baby sitting on a carpet crying with stress dog pug
Image Credit: 220 Selfmade studio, Shutterstock

7. Scraping on the Sidewalk

Whether it’s construction-related or someone riding a skateboard out on the sidewalk, screechy or scraping sounds can really grate on your dog.

8. Airplanes

If a dog isn’t used to the sound of airplanes passing overhead, that rumbling engine sound might be troubling to them. If your dog grew up close to an airport, for example, they’re more likely to have become accustomed and desensitized to the sound.

dog in airport carrier
Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

9. Vacuum Cleaners

The sound of a vacuum is another one that occurs close to your dog, which can amplify their noise anxiety. Even for us, the whirring, loud sound of the vacuum can be unpleasant, but at least we know what’s causing it. For dogs, it’s noise coming from a weird-looking machine that moves unpredictably and that sucks up everything in its path.

10. Gunshots

In short, guns are loud and terrifying, and your dog feels no different. Even the sound of bird scarers in fields that sound like gunshot are frightening.

dog scared hiding under bed blanket
Image By: Aleksey Boyko, Shutterstock

11. Lawnmowers

If your dog gets anxious when you do the rounds with your lawnmower, it likely has a similar effect on them as the vacuum cleaner does—it’s loud, it vibrates, and it rumbles. Not the most relaxing sound combination for dogs.

12. Trucks

Not only are trucks generally noisy, but they also have the capacity to beep, honk, and make awful squealing noises at times. High-pitched sounds like this can be a nightmare for dogs.

car carrier truck on the road
Image By: Bogdan Vacarciuc, Shutterstock

13. Shouting & Screaming

When celebrating a birthday, having a house party, or counting down to New Year, it’s not uncommon for people to shout or even scream if they’re really into the festivities. Not to mention, there’s always that one friend with a really loud, high-pitched laugh at these events.

While these are just the sounds of people having a great time, your dog might hide or tremble at the sound of human exclamations. The chances of this happening are more likely if your dog is a rescue that once lived in a household where they were yelled at.



If you suspect your dog might have a noise phobia, there are several things you can do to help ease their stress including desensitization techniques, muffling the sounds, distracting your dog, and/or covering their ears. If nothing helps, it’s best to share your concerns with a vet or dog behaviorist who can help you come up with a plan to treat your dog’s anxiety.

Featured Image Credit: evgengerasimovich, Shutterstock

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