Keep Calm and Listen On: How Music Can Help Pets

A bulldog wearing headphones

Music plays an important role in human society, and for many of us, a life without music is difficult to imagine. Music can invoke a wide range of emotions, and certain songs and melodies will forever be attached to important events in our lives.

It turns out that pets may also enjoy certain types of music! If used correctly, music can help pets who suffer from separation anxiety and other issues.

It’s Science!

A surprising number of studies have been conducted on the effects of music in various species.

  • In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, researchers from Colorado State University found that dogs in kennels were more relaxed when classical music was played, in comparison to when there was no music at all. Heavy metal music caused the dogs to display more anxious or fear-based behaviors.
  • The effects of music are far reaching in the animal world. Researchers have discovered that cows produce more milk when listening to relaxing music. In birds, their brains react to music they like and dislike in much the same way as humans. Even goldfish can be taught to distinguish among classical composers.

Music Can Help Pets

Many dog owners report that playing the radio softly while they’re away at work helps ease separation anxiety. This may be due to the music or it could be that the noise from the radio helps drown out other stress-inducing sounds coming from outside (e.g., traffic, other dogs, the mail carrier, etc.).

Music can help pets who suffer from anxiety during thunderstorms or fireworks. Setting them up in a quiet room with a radio or TV can be extremely helpful.

Hear, Hear!

When it comes to selecting the right music for your pet, it’s important to consider what may be pleasing to their ears. Human music is composed using the frequencies humans prefer, but for pets, this can be quite different. Experiment a little to determine what your pet likes. It could be the sounds of people talking, a CD created specifically for dogs, or a piece of music that incorporates the sounds of nature (similar to what your dog might hear while on a walk). If you play an instrument, a recording of you playing might be quite soothing to your pet.

Watch the Volume

It’s important to remember that pets have much more sensitive hearing than humans. When playing music for your furry companion, make sure to keep the volume high enough to hear but low enough to be soothing.

The team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital is always here for you! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your pet.