Does Ultrasonic Pest Control Affect Dogs?

In search of a safe and environmentally friendly solution to pest problems, homeowners often consider electronic devices, designed to repel rodents and insects. Theoretically, these devices work by creating high-pitched noises that pests find objectionable. Unfortunately, little empirical evidence backs up the claims made by manufacturers of such units; most independent studies have determined that pests are unaffected by the sounds or become accustomed to them. Regardless of the units’ efficacy, they are unlikely to affect your dog significantly. Nevertheless, always consult your vet before making any health-related decisions for your pup.

However, unless the sounds are tremendously loud, they are unlikely to affect your dog, as high frequencies do not cause discomfort to the animals who can hear them. Consider, for instance, that some dog trainers use ultrasonic devices in the form of dog whistles to communicate with their four-legged partners. Additionally, manufacturers have incorporated ultrasonic devices into flea collars and training devices. As with most other ultrasonic sounds your dog hears every day, your dog is likely to ignore the high-pitched sounds unless they are associated with something noteworthy.

Devices Directed at Dogs

Some manufacturers have tried to develop devices explicitly designed to keep away dogs. The specific characteristics of these units differ widely, and while some have proven anecdotally effective, studies have largely shown that the best devices are only partially useful. It is theoretically possible for ultrasonic devices to irritate dogs or make them uncomfortable.

Why Never Use Ultrasonic Dog Repellers and Deterrents

There was an ultrasound dog collar that was meant to repel fleas, which researchers found had absolutely zero effectiveness. And the little plug in ultrasound devices was meant to repel vermin like mice and rats while being safe for cats and dogs. Various studies found that while creatures like mice and cockroaches hear this noise, they also soon learn to ignore it. And these devices tend to operate in a frequency range that is just as audible to dogs as it is to mice. It requires a smaller mechanism that is more expensive to make to hit the kinds of sounds a mouse would hear and a dog would not (60-80 kHz) and none of the devices I looked at were operating in this range.

You have better options than ultrasonic dog repellers:

If you are going to use sound as an interruption to try and intervene with excessive barking, you might as well use a sound you and the dog can both hear. And if dealing with an aggressive dog, a firm verbal command is much more likely to be effective. And as a bonus your voice is something you always have with you and don’t need to search in your purse for!

I get why people want simple solutions to problems like dogs that chase them when they go jogging or dogs that bark all the time. But real solutions come from a proper understanding of the problem rather than a baseless faith that ultrasound will spark fear in the heart of any dog. The actual dog’s momentary confusion at a strange sound may work out well for you as an involvement, but it may not. But I for one do not intend to put money in the pocket of ultrasound snake oil salesmen on such a flimsy basis.