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Is Music Therapeutic For Dogs? Can Music Calm Doggy Stress?

We all love a good tune! Some music can get our feet tapping, some can evoke memories, and some of us find music therapeutic and calming!  

But do our pooches also find music therapeutic - it seems that they do!  

Music can play an important part in helping to calm your dog, and can be useful to help them if they get scared at the sound of fireworks or during thunderstorms. They may also get anxious if they hear noises outside that they don’t understand, like loud cars!

Tuning in to some music can help relieve their stress. But our dogs don’t just like any old music! According to a study in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, classical music is more soothing than “psychoacoustic” music and is linked to more restful behavior, while playing heavy metal causes greater anxiety and unrest.

When Music Can Help Calm Doggy Stress

There are different scenarios where you might find that playing music will help calm doggy stress:

  • When you first bring your puppy home, it could help to settle them down
  • If your dog suffers from separation anxiety when you go to work, they may find the sound of music comforting while you are out - but make sure you also play the same music when you are with them - you don’t want them to associate the music with being home alone.
  • Dogs can be nervous whilst travelling in a car. Some familiar music that you have previously played at home might help them settle.
  • Music can help mask the sound of fireworks or thunderstorms. We know these can be stressful times for dogs, so playing a favourite tune can help distract them from the noises outside and keep them calm.

Research also underlines the thoughts that music can help doggy stress!

Dog relaxing

According to RSPCA dog welfare expert, Dr Samantha Gaines, "Research is increasingly showing the effect of music on dog behaviour. The type of music a dog listens to is important and research has shown that some music can help dogs relax while other types may have a less beneficial effect..."

Neil Evans, a pet physiologist and professor at the University of Glasgow, stated "While there is a lot of scientific research that has shown that short periods of music can make dogs more relaxed, we have shown that providing dogs with varied auditory enrichment can be used to reduce stress and anxiety over longer periods of time”

In a study undertaken by the Scottish SPCA they found that classical music played to kennelled dogs resulted in dogs spending more time sleeping (relaxed) and less time barking and standing.

A tune rhythm similar to a dog's own heart rate could also be soothing, as it might remind them of snuggling into their canine mother. The length of musical notes, simplicity of tones, regular rhythm and music tempo seem to be the important aspects for soothing music..soft music with a slow, steady rhythm is calming for many dogs.

Dog and music

Is There Music Specifically For Dogs?

Although dogs seem to tune in to human classical music (like Mozart and Beethoven) for relaxation, they also seem to like a little reggae and soft rock, according to the Scottish SPCA.  But beware of heavy metal, as according to CBS News this seems to lead to greater anxiety and unrest in dogs!

Some music is produced specifically for dogs and has frequencies that dogs, and not humans, can hear or they might enjoy some soothing healing music with sounds of nature that could help calm your pooch.

After undertaking a survey where they found that 80% of pet owners think their pets like music, you can now set up a playlist on Spotify based on the music that you and your pets love so that you can play it at home, or even in the car!

Dog and owner

Tips When Playing Music to Calm Your Dog

  • Introduce your pooch to music gently.  
  • Start playing music when a puppy is learning and make music one of the normal sounds that they would hear in the home.
  • Try various genres to get an idea of what type of music calms them the most and how they react to each one.
  • Don’t play it too loud - keep the volume moderate to low!
  • Don’t just play music when your dog is home alone.  Play it also when you are home so they don’t associate a tune with you leaving the house.

Dog dancing

You may also consider using an ADAPTIL Calm Home Diffuser for some extra support for your pooch. ADAPTIL sends “comforting messages” to help puppies and dogs feel calm and relaxed in stressful situations - and along with some of his favorite music, it will help you have a totally ‘chilled’ pooch!

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