Stay Tuned: Relaxation Music for Dogs
The human benefits of listening to music have been well researched and documented. Among others, music’s therapeutic properties include lowering blood pressure, heart rates, and anxiety levels. All are proof that it pays to play.
But what about dogs? Do dogs respond to music in the same way humans do?
Given the positive health outcomes for people, doggy music has seen a surge of interest and research among veterinary professionals. Music therapy, it turns out, can be an effective behavioural enrichment tool for dogs. Not only can music improve immediate and short-term mental health, it can boost dogs’ long-term immune functions, too.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Doggy music: What’s the best music to calm dogs?
As vets, we’re often asked questions like:
- Should I leave music on for my dog when I’m not home?
- What kind of music soothes a dog?
- What songs do dogs like to hear?
Much to pet parents’ disappointment, the answer to these questions is almost always it depends.
Like humans, different dogs may have different musical preferences. Researchers have found that physical differences among breeds—things like head shape and distance between ears—may alter how a dog perceives and responds to music.
The best way to find out what your dog digs is to sample different genres and gauge their reaction. Contrary to popular belief, viral videos of dogs “singing along” don’t necessarily mean they’re enjoying themselves. Sometimes these reactions stem from agitation or pent-up energy (the total opposite of relaxation).
EXPERT TIP: Your dog may or may not put on a show for you when you’re in the room. To see how they really feel, try recording your dog when they’re alone and listening to music.
Classical music has far and away proven to be the top genre of dog-calming music, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. Studies have been carried out with reggae, soft rock, heavy metal, and pop, but the scales always seem to tip in favour of classical composers like Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach.
What your dog hears when listening to music
Did you know that dogs hear much better than humans do? Their ears are like little satellite dishes, picking up on sounds near and far. Unless your dog suffers from hearing loss, if you think your dog isn’t listening… think again. (You just might be a victim of selective attention.) The average human can hear about 25,000 Hz, while some dogs more than double that.
Dogs’ superpower hearing can be both an advantage (you’ll always have a furry friend keeping an ear out for you) and a disadvantage (particularly if they’re anxious type).
The long and short of it is that listening to music is scientifically proven to help keep dogs calm. Music has even helped regulate dogs’ heart beats by improving heart rate variability or HRV. By pushing play, you’re supporting your dog’s health and wellbeing!
When to play relaxing music for dogs
EXPERT TIP: If your dog struggles with separation anxiety, make a point not to only push play on your dog’s favourite playlist when it’s time for you to go. This may cause your dog to associate that music with separation or abandonment, making it a stress-inducer instead of a stress-reliever. The puppy eyes and sad whimpers are heartbreaking enough!
There are many scenarios when the sound of music will put your pup at ease. Playing calming music for dogs has been found to benefit their overall well-being by lowering respiratory rates, reducing stress levels, muffling unfamiliar and sometimes triggering sounds from outside, and providing a temporary sense of companionship until the two of you are together again.
Some of these scenarios might include:
- During car rides
- When you’re out of the house and your dog is alone (crated or not), even if it’s only for a short period of time
- Immediately after welcoming a new puppy or dog into your family
- During fireworks or thunderstorms
- Helping a restless or overtired dog catch some zzz’s
Keep calm and play on
To get you started, we’ve curated a dog-friendly playlist filled with calm, relaxing dog music. Check it out on Spotify and let us know what you think!
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