HealthEar & Eye HealthDo Harmonicas Hurt Dogs Ears?

Do Harmonicas Hurt Dogs Ears?

Harmonicas do not hurt dogs’ ears. If your dog howls while you play the harmonica, it’s because the instrument’s pitch initiates their howling instinct. Although the sound may not always be pleasant for dogs, it does not hurt their ears.

All dog owners strive to provide their companions with the best possible care. While harmonicas may not be on every street corner, you may still come across one every so often. Some dog owners have noticed that when their dog hears a harmonica, either their ears perk up or they begin to howl. 

Why do dogs do this? Are they in pain? Or are they just singing along? Let’s explore the relationship between dogs and harmonicas. 

Howling Dogs

Just about anything can spark a dogs howling instinct. You may have noticed that if you howl, your dogs might join in. Dogs love to sing along with the pack to establish territory and establish bonds with each other. 

Some breeds are more vocal than others. Hounds, in particular, are infamous for their long, baleful howls. So howls are not always a sign of pain. But dogs may howl in pain if something is unbearable to them. 

Which brings us back to the question… Do musical instruments such as harmonicas hurt dogs’ ears?

Effects of Musical Instruments of Dogs’ Ears

While the official scientific research into how dogs perceive music may not have all the answers yet, we still have some data about how dogs interact with music. 

Many pet owners have heard their dogs howling when a particular instrument or song comes on the radio. Playing an instrument at home can yield similar results. The jury is still out on the details of how dogs feel when they hear music. While we can assume that not every sound is pleasant to a dog’s ear, we can also assume that music is not entirely unpleasant. 

Harmonicas Do Not Hurt Dogs Ears

Research has suggested that dogs actually have a sense of pitch. It may not be exactly the same as ours, but dogs can recognize pitch in music. 

This means that when your dog howls along with music, it is not an expression of pain. The pitch your dog hears is causing an instinct to howl.

Sound is a key part of how dogs experience their world. Dog ears are more sensitive than human ears. They can hear a broader range of sounds than we can. 

We need to remember that our dogs descended from wild wolves. Living in the wild, wolves needed to detect the minute sounds that prey may make. They also had to be aware of any potential predators in the area. 

Dogs also use sounds to communicate with each other. They can bark, howl, yip, or growl to each other to send messages. Their ears help detect the slight inflections in dog speech that contains vital information.

So what about harmonicas? Dogs don’t use harmonicas to communicate with each other, so should they be exposed to the noise that comes out? 

Harmonicas are musical instruments that play a variety of tones at once. Sliding the mouth up and down a harmonica will create a cornucopia of sounds, and we may not even be able to hear all of them. This is where the trouble lies. 

It is possible that harmonicas can produce sounds we are unable to hear, but Fido finds grating or unpleasant. This would certainly cause them to howl.

However, if a dog is uncomfortable, they will often just leave the room. Sitting down and howling will not stop them from being exposed to a sound, no matter how painful it is. Dogs know this. If they are simply howling along to a harmonica without trying to get away, they probably are not in excruciating pain. They may just be providing accompaniment!

So Why Does My Dog Howl?

If dogs are not in significant pain when hearing a harmonica, what makes them howl? There are a few different theories. Dogs don’t just howl for one reason, so narrowing down the specifics of why your pooch starts singing opera can be a little tricky. 


Your dog could be looking for some attention. If you comfort your dog every time it howls, your dog will put the pieces together. 

They will understand that if they want some cuddles, or an extra treat, all they have to do is be a little vocal. This is not a desirable behavior, especially if you work from home or ever have guests over. Howling can be very disruptive, so do not encourage it. 

If you think this is the reason your dog is howling, ignore them. Attention of any variety will only encourage them to continue this behavior. Even negative attention can be enough to keep your dog howling. Instead, do not acknowledge your dog when they are howling, and they will hopefully calm down. 

If this does not work, you can try to train your dog with treats to be quiet. Teaching the command “Speak” to your dog will get them to make noise on command, and using the command “hush” will have the opposite effect. 

Start using “hush” when your dog howls and reward him every time he gets quiet with the command. Eventually, he will start following this command, and you will be able to keep your dog quiet when you need to.

Vocal Breeds

Some breeds just love to howl! For many dogs, this is how they express themselves in a multitude of situations. 

Huskies, hounds, and many hunting dogs will howl for just about anything. This does not mean there is anything wrong with them. It’s just the way that they have evolved to survive in this world. 

Other breeds are almost silent. It’s no wonder that breeds from all over the world act differently since their environments are so varied. Whether your dog howls or is quiet, they still deserve love and patience.

Genuine Irritation

Of course, there is always the possibility that noises are hurting your dog’s ears. This is typically only for higher pitches, but it is good to keep this in mind. 

Many dog deterrents use high-pitched noises to keep dogs away from areas they aren’t allowed. If you are doing something that produces an exceptionally high pitch, it could irritate your dog. 

If this is the case, they will most likely not just howl but also try to get away from the source of the noise. Musical instruments like flutes or piccolos have the potential to reach these notes, so try practicing your instrument in a room away from your pup just to be safe. 

If your dog is frequently howling for this reason, try setting up a safe space somewhere in your home. Place a soft bed on the floor of a closet or another room that has some kind of sound dampening ability. 

Many potential sources of noise CAN irritate your dog, such as sirens, babies, and certain kinds of technology. Regardless of the cause, you want your dog to feel safe at home, so take care of them!

Back To The Original Question

So do harmonicas hurt dogs’ ears? Probably not. Unless you have a harmonica that plays very high pitches, your dog is probably howling along due to instinct, not pain. 

Dogs howl for a number of different reasons, and not all of them are bad. Their unique auditory abilities are why dogs have survived for so long. Some breeds just like to howl in general or use it to communicate with other dogs.

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