You finally got the air fryer you’ve wanted for so long, and now your dog freaks out every time you use it. What’s going on?
Dogs hearing is much more sensitive to sounds then ours, so the beeping and high-pitched sounds emanating from some air fryers has turned many normally calm dogs, into a trembling mess.
Luckily none of my dogs ever really react to loud noises, even a smoke detector going off. I admit I was surprised to learn about the number of people reporting shaking and panicking in their dogs, when they used their air fryers.
Does Your Dog Have a Noise Phobia?
As the name suggests, a noise phobia causes a dog to become anxious when hearing loud noises. Fireworks and thunderstorms are the most common, but cars backfiring, smoke detectors and yes, air fryers, can all suggest a noise phobia.
Symptoms vary depending on anxiety level, but here are some examples:
- Hiding or cowering
- Trying to escape
- Accidents in the house
Reactions Dogs Have Had to an Air Fryer
I surveyed 212 dog owners, and here are some of their dogs’ reactions:
• “My normally calm dog is terrified. The first few times I used it she ran into another room, this last time she jumped on my lap and could not stop shaking.”
• “One of my dogs was traumatized when a fire alarm battery was dying and it beeped all day when he was home alone. Now he’s scared of every appliance that beeps.”
• “My dog is terrified of the noise the fan makes. He trembles, heavy panting and finds a place to hide.”
• “I noticed my dog would run and hide whenever we turned on the air fryer. Recently he was in the living room when I turned it on. He had to run past the air fryer to hide, and was so petrified he couldn’t move. I had to carry him.”
How Loud is an Air Fryer?
Is an air fryer really that loud that it scares so many dogs?
Noise levels will vary depending on the make of your air fryer, and whether or not it’s in good working order. The sound is the fan circulating the hot air that cooks the food, and naturally bigger models may be noisier because the fan is bigger. The beeping of the timer can also be very loud.
There are definitely appliances with higher decibel levels, but apparently comparing decibel levels isn’t so cut and dry. The noise also depends on frequency, so it’s possible for two appliances to have the same decibel in terms of numbers, but one may sound much louder due to frequency.
I found a couple of interesting articles regarding sound levels of various appliances. If you have a dog that is scared of appliances, they’re worth having a look at.
How Sensitive is a Dog’s Hearing?
Now that we’ve looked at how loud an air fryer is, it makes sense to discuss how sensitive a dog’s hearing is, which would explain the noise phobia.
We’ve always been told their hearing is so much better than ours, but I was curious what that meant in terms of numbers. I guess it’s no surprise I discovered conflicting information which you’ll find below. To summarize, dogs hear some sounds we can’t!
An article on the AKC website states “The average adult human cannot hear sounds above 20,000 Hertz (Hz)…dogs, on the other hand, can hear sounds as high as 47,000 to 65,000 Hz.”
In a Psychology Today article we learn …”What we hear at 20 feet, a dog can hear at about 80 feet. Scientists suggest that dogs hear in frequencies as high as 67,000 cycles per second (also called hertz), while humans hear frequencies up to 64,000 cycles per second.”
In this study published on the Louisiana State University website, the approximate range a human can hear is 64-23,000(Hz), while a dog can hear at a range of 67-45,000(Hz).
How to Stop Your Dog Being Scared of an Air Fryer
It’s important to note, different treatments work for different dogs. It can be a case of trial and error until you find the right combination that works for your dog.
Return the air fryer
If the air fryer is the only thing that scares your dog, the simple solution would be to return it. That doesn’t mean it’s the right decision, especially if you love it!
If the beeping is causing the problem, check if your machine has a mute function.
Change his environment
• Put the dog in another room when it’s being used.
• Create a safe space for your dog. Set up a bed, blanket, water bowl and toy in a dark closet, or a blanket covered crate with the door open somewhere quiet.
• Have someone take your dog for a walk when you know you’ll be using the air fryer.
• Play calming music or turn the television on to help mask the sound.
• What about a play session with someone in the backyard, or a quick visit to a doggie friend in the neighborhood?
Valerian with Skullcap, dog appeasing pheromones such as Adaptil and a Thundershirt are just a few options to help with anxiety. For a more detailed list, please read my article “How to Calm Dog Anxiety Naturally.”
If your dog’s anxiety is very severe, speak to your vet about available drug options.
Your dog’s reaction to the air fryer can be modified using desensitization and counter conditioning. Desensitization involves gradually exposing a dog to a situation or stimulus that causes the undesirable behavior. It’s done at such a low level there’s no negative response.
Counter-conditioning involves changing your dog’s reaction to that stimulus. This is done by pairing the stimulus, in this case the air fryer, with something your dog loves, a special treat for example.
For the sake of ease, let’s say it’s the noise of the fan that causes your dog anxiety. The same technique can be used if it’s the beeper causing the problem.
Note: Don’t wait until the air fryer is being used to practice.
Note: The steps below can be used to help with all kinds of noise phobias including fireworks and thunderstorms. You can find audio on Youtube.
Expose him to that sound, at a very low level, so low he won’t react. Move him to an area of the house where the noise is barely audible, or find an audio of the sound online.
Feed him treats he loves but doesn’t usually get. It’s very important he only gets the treat when he’s relaxed.
Practice that for no more than 5 minutes at a time, and see how it goes once a day.
He’s relaxed and doing well, next time increase the volume ever so slightly, or take one step closer to the kitchen, then treats if he’s relaxed.
Each time you practice, very gradually increase the volume or get closer.
I know this process seems like it will take forever, but it’s very important you progress very slowly. Rushing it by allowing him to hear the air fryer at a loud volume, will set your training back. You increase your chances of success by taking tiny steps.
Does your dog freak out when you turn the air fryer on? How does he react? What have you done to help with his anxiety? Sharing helps others, so please leave your tips below.
I’m a certified dog trainer, specialising in helping senior dog parents with health & behaviour issues, training advice for new rescues, impending loss and bereavement. To learn more about how I can help, please email email@example.com or visit my website.