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Noisy Animal Hospitals and Veterinary Clinics Can be Stressful for your Pet


Once relegated to living and working outside, pets have so integrated themselves into our daily lives that they’ve all but become full-fledged members of our families. We buy them beds and toys, carefully select the most nutritious foods and allow them many of the same creature comforts we afford ourselves.

And yet, when it comes to their safety, we often give little thought to a nuisance that can often prove incredibly traumatic for our beloved four-legged friends: noise.

What We Hear

Humans hear up to 20 kHz. Dogs hear up to 44 kHz, more than 125 percent higher. And cats hear up to 64 kHz, more than 42 percent higher than dogs and 220 percent higher than humans.

By those standards, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that both dogs and cats are quickly and easily agitated when they hear people yelling, other dogs barking, trains screeching, thunder rolling, or even vacuums humming. In fact, there are entire product lines dedicated to calming animals during thunderstorms.

But worse still is a pet walking into an animal hospital or veterinary clinic where they can see, smell, and hear threats all around them, resulting in an anxiety-laden experience.

Rising Noise Levels

The rise in noise levels – both in magnitude and extent – shows that more than 97 percent of the U.S. population has the potential to be exposed to daily noise at levels around 50 decibels, comparable to the noise level of a humming refrigerator, and nearly one-tenth of a percent of the population could potentially experience daily noise levels of 80 decibels or more, equivalent to the noise level of a garbage disposal.

Even remote, natural areas experience anthropogenic, or man-made, noise. One study of 22 U.S. national parks found that noise was, on average, audible more than 28 percent of the time.

How Noise Impacts Pets

Just as loud or repetitive noises can take a toll on your mental and physical health – think: a car alarm or a neighbor’s dog barking – the same is true for pets as well. 

While research is limited on how, exactly, noise pollution affects a pet’s behavior, it is widely accepted that dogs, in particular, can become erratic and distracted when subjected to loud noise, causing them to act irrationally and disregard any commands or requests.

Imagine what a cacophony of anxious, terrified animals all barking and crying and whining can do to a pet visiting your veterinary facility. Such stress from excessive noise can cause diarrhea, loss of appetite, failure to eliminate, and more – all of which are counterproductive for the healthy, healing environment you’d like to create.

Taking Sonic Inventory

As such, incorporating noise control in your veterinary facility is critical. The book, Through a Dog’s Ear, recommends taking a sonic inventory in order to make note all of the sounds you hear in order to raise your awareness of all the noise you may no longer notice. Once identified, determine what can be done to mitigate each.

Ask yourself:

  • What is buzzing, beeping, humming or ringing? 
  • Can the volume on machines and appliances be lowered? 
  • Can animals be located to another room when loud machinery is on? 
  • Are there multiple sound sources making noise concurrently, such as a radio in one room and a machine in another?

How Soundproofing Can Help

While noise control is arguably one of the most neglected responsibilities in raising and caring for a pet, soundproofing is something that can be addressed with a little attention and thoughtful planning. So whether you discover an issue requiring an immediate solution or have the luxury of planning for a problem that may arise in the future, we have the expertise, experience and products to help.

Contact us at Sonic-Shield today to see how we can help keep your furriest patients happy, healthy and safe.