Best Dog Ear Plugs and Ear Muffs to Protect Your Dog’s Ears

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dog with yellow ear protection headphones on

A dog’s hearing is much keener than our own. They are able to hear higher frequencies than us, so sounds that we just can’t, and they are able to hear things at greater distances than we can. Knowing this should make you jump right away to getting your dog some sort of hearing protection, especially if they’re the type that is around loud noises on a regular basis. Some of the most popular types of hearing protection are ear plugs and ear muffs. Let’s take a look at different types of ear protection for dogs, what’s good and bad about them, and how you can protect your dog’s ears.

When are Dog Ear Plugs and Dog Ear Muffs Helpful?

If this is the first you’re hearing of ear muffs or ear plugs for dogs, you may be wondering what is the point? Do dogs really need such things? The truth of the matter is, dog ear muffs and dog ear plugs can be beneficial for many things. Some of those include:

Noise Phobias

If thunderstorms, fireworks, or gunshots have your dog trembling underneath your bed for hours at a time, they’re definitely not alone. A fear of noise like this is an issue with nearly 1/3 of dogs out there. Noise phobias may stem from one single harmful experience or from a culmination of many scary instances. Either way, noise phobias can cause a dog significant stress, especially if they have a fear of something you just can’t avoid, such as thunderstorms.

Getting them a pair of noise canceling ear muffs for dogs or dog ear plugs may help put them at ease when things get too loud and scary. Along with providing them a cozy, comfy, safe place to be, you can help reduce your dog’s stress during these fearful moments.

Hearing Protection

If you have a job or hobby that requires you being around constant or loud noises, chances are you’re familiar with ear plugs or ear muffs that help to dull or cancel those noises in order to protect your hearing. Extra loud or prolonged noises can cause irreversible damage to the inner ears that can lead to reduced hearing and even deafness. But did you realize that since a dog has more sensitive ears, that level of noise that is damaging is actually lower for them than it is for us?

What’s considered safe for human hearing may actually be too loud for our pups. A recent study suggests that safe hearing levels for a dog are actually about 20 decibels lower than what is considered safe for humans! This means that if your dog is exposed to extremely loud noises, such as a hunting dog near a rifle, or to continuously louder noises, such as a siren or airplane engine, it can actually cause hearing damage much more quickly than it will affect their human companions.

Choosing to get ear plugs or ear muffs for dogs, especially those at high risk, is a great way to ensure that they can hear you through adulthood and into their senior years. Dogs especially at risk include:

  • Police, fire, or military dogs
  • Hunting dogs
  • Dogs that fly
  • Dogs around heavy equipment, gun ranges, or concert goers
  • Even dogs in a loud urban environment

Swimming/Bathing

A dog’s ears may be damaged not only from loud noises but from water as well. As anyone who’s had a dog with an ear infection knows, it’s an unpleasant situation for both dog and owners alike. Ear infections cause lots of head shaking and scratching, mess, and smells. Most of the time ear infections are easily treatable, but they are preventable as well. One of those ways to prevent ear infections in dogs is to use ear plugs or ear covers to keep the water out during swimming and bathing.

Others

Dog ear covers can also come in handy if your dog is recovering from an ear infection, injury, or an aural hematoma. Ear covers for dogs comfortably hold the ear up against the head so that shaking and scratching can’t further injure the ear and allowing it to heal.

Ear covers and ear muffs for dogs can also be a great way to keep those nasty foreign objects like grass seeds out of a dog’s ears while they on a hunt or a hike.

Best Ear Plugs for Dogs

Ear plugs are a form of ear protection that fits down inside the ear canal. They are made of a soft and malleable foam that expands to fill the ear canal to block sound, water, and foreign objects from coming and to stay put so they don’t fall out. Dog ear plugs are a great, convenient option that can be easily carried in your pocket until you need them.

Ear plugs for dogs can work to muffle loud or continuous noise and to prevent water and foreign objects from getting in the ears. The downside to this type of ear protection is they can be a bit of a pain to get used to-for you and your dog. Since they go down in the ear canal, you may have a little trouble placing them so that they will stay, and your dog just flat out may not like to wear them.

Puddy Buddies – Best Ear Plugs in a Pinch

PUTTY BUDDIES Ear Plugs 10-Pair Pack - Soft...
  • SOFT SILICONE EARPLUGS. Easy to use and mold to the ear! MUCH MORE soft & comfortable than other ear plugs.

Okay, so these aren’t really meant for dogs, but since there is a lack of dog-specific ear plugs on the market, these may work for you in a pinch. These ear plugs are very moldable and soft so they should be able to fit in most dog ear canals. They are meant mostly for keeping water out of the ear but may have some noise cancelling ability as well. Just make sure these snuggly fit in your dog’s ear before using them.

Best Ear Muffs for Dogs

Dog ear muffs are a little more versatile product and will perhaps be better tolerated by your pup, especially with some acclimation and training. Ear muffs for dogs can help muffle loud or continuous noise and provide protection against foreign objects. Ear muffs won’t completely cancel out noises, so they may not be the best option for dogs with noise phobias. They also won’t keep out water, so will do little to prevent ear infections. But, if you have a hunting dog or music lover, your dog may get along well with one of these options.

Famikako Dog Ear Muffs– Best for Continuous Noises

These dog ear muffs are highly adjustable, foam lined and contoured to your dog’s head all to increase the comfort. In this case, comfort = wearability, so you want something that your dog will tolerate. They also help to muffle loud noises to help with noise phobias, hunters, police or military dogs, and frequent flyers.

Evergreen Pet Supplies Dog Ear Muffs– Best Budget

Evergreen Pet Supplies [2 Pack] Med/Large Dog...
  • Hearing Protection For Dogs — Protect your furry friend's delicate ears from loud noises, whether the sound of fireworks, gunshots, or music festivals. These adjustable dog ear covers for noise help muffle these uncomfortable sounds to make them bearable

Here’s a two pack of medium to large dog ear muffs for your bigger canine companions. Not only will these ear muffs fit a larger head, they also have a larger area of protection, making them great for loud noises, continuous noise, and service animals. The larger size may also have a bit of calming effect.

4 Paws K-9 Aviation Ear Muffs – Best for Loud Noises

These dog ear muffs have some of the highest noise protection on the market, making them a great option for hunting or service animals. They are also gel molded for a closer and more comfortable fit. However, they are a little on the expensive side, which may be worth it if your dog is at a high risk for ear damage.

Best Dog Ear Covers

Dog ear covers are a band of fabric that fits snuggly over a dog’s head, around the ears, and under the jaw, sort of like a neck gaiter worn a little high. Ear covers for dogs help to pin the ears to the body so that the ear won’t flap or stand erect. Ear covers are best to help dogs recover from ear injuries or aural hematomas, although they can be used to prevent water from getting in the ear and to provide some muffling of loud noises. Since ear covers wrap around the head, they can also provide some calming relief for dogs with anxiety or noise phobias.

Dog ear covers aren’t going to provide a ton of hearing protection, so don’t expect them to be as helpful for hunters or helicopters.

Quiet Ears for Dogs – Best Budget

Quiet Ears for Dogs Hats Hoodies Dog's Ear...
  • Noise protection: The dog ear and neck warmer is with double-layer cotton, which is comfortable, soft and elastic. It can compress noise, help the dog to calm down quickly, relieve fear and anxiety, and achieve a calming effect.

Here’s a simple design with a small price tag. This knit option has the ability to provide some calming relief and noise muffling to help dogs with noise phobias. It can also provide some protection to the ears against cold and is a comfortable way of keeping the ear flaps still while they heal from an injury.

Soft Snood for Dogs – Most Comfortable

Dog Hoodie, Soft Snoods for Dogs, Breathable...
  • 1. Yrenoer dog hood reduces your dog's alertness to outdoor noises, eliminates barking and makes them more peaceful as they wait for you to come home from work.

This is a soft and breathable dog ear cover that will help to calm anxious dogs as well as reduce loud noises. It is comfortable and easy to use and most dogs will tolerate it willingly.

Tips to Help Protect a Dog’s Ears

Hearing is a very important sense for a dog. It’s one of the main ways that they explore and become familiar with their world. Helping to prevent hearing loss from loud noises is one of the ways you can help them maintain good hearing throughout their lifetime. Ear muffs and ear plugs are a couple of great ways of doing this, but they may not work for every dog. With this in mind, let’s go over a couple of tips for how to protect your dog’s ears in the following scenarios.

How to Protect Against Noise Such as Fireworks

Noise phobias to fireworks, thunderstorms and gunshots are very common in dogs. These noises can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Decreasing the loudness of the noise is one way to help dogs cope. You can help reduce those noises by using a set of dog ear muffs or dog ear plugs. Both will help to muffle or cancel the loud noise so that your dog feels more comfortable. Dog ear covers can also help provide a snuggly, calming affect that will help your dog feel more at ease with fireworks or other non-continuous loud noises.

How to Help With Noise Anxiety or Phobia

Again, fear of loud noises is a very common issue in dogs and one that can be dealt with by reducing the loudness of the noise with ear muffs, ear plugs, or ear covers for dogs. You can also help by reducing a dog’s anxiety by offering them a quiet, dark place to retreat. Maybe it’s a basement or bedroom where you can draw the curtains and set them up on a comfy bed. You can also play some background music or white noise and offer them a blanket to burrow under. Some dogs will appreciate you taking this time to quietly pet and talk to them.

How to Protect Ears Against Self-Trauma After an Ear Illness

When dog’s have an ear infection, the real damage often comes from them. Ear infections create a lot of inflammation which can cause dogs to shake or scratch at their ears. This can potentially lead to aural hematomas or lacerations that then lead to their own issues. One way to help prevent this is with an ear cover for dogs. These covers slide over the head and comfortably hold the ears against a dog’s body so that they can’t flap or shake. They will also provide some protection against toenails and help decrease a dog’s discomfort. Ear covers are much more comfortable and convenient for everyone than the typical e-collar.

How to Protect Ears When Swimming

Dogs that can’t stay out of the water often pay the price in ear infections and hot spots. When water gets into the ear canal, it can be hard to get out and there it creates an ideal breeding ground for bacterial and fungus to set up and cause problems. Using dog ear plugs, cotton balls, or a dog ear cover can help keep some of that water out so that your dog’s ear canal stays drier and less likely to breed an infected mess.

Author

  • Dr Chyrle Bonk, Veterinarian

    Dr. Chyrle Bonk received her Master in Animal Science from the University of Idaho and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Oregon State University in 2010. She has over 10 years of experience in small animal veterinary practice, working for a veterinary clinic in Idaho.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.

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