Dogs and Music | How and Why it Helps

Dogs and music, really does help them relax. Music is truly for everyone, including your beloved pooch, we can all benefit from it. We discuss which and why music can help ensure your dog is happy and adjusts well to change in the long run.

Understanding the Power of Music for Dogs

Studies are being conducted to learn more about music’s healing effect on pets, especially on anxiety and stress. Some experts have already begun working on projects to help animals cope with emotional crises, and these include the compilation of musical compositions.

What Music is Most Beneficial For Calming Your Dog?

Piano Music, Soft Rock, Reggae or classical?

Lisa Spector, a renowned concert pianist whose passion for dogs led her to help them with fears and anxiety. Lisa was one of the first to work with dogs and music –

It has been suggested many times that classical music is very soporific for our dogs. A recent study has found that Raegae and soft rock is also a go-to rhythm and sound to help our dogs with calmness. Read more of this study here from the University of Glasgow

Some music for dogs is specifically used for hypnosis, this is known as soporific, meaning this music can induce relaxation. These include sonic mantras, which are repetitive sounds used to match a dog’s relaxed heart rate. 

Dogs and music. Reggae has been found to be calming for dogs also

When Do Dogs Need Music the Most?

So, when do we start turning on our speakers? Rather than just turning them on just before a fearful experience, play music all day. If you only have it on before you leave or fireworks then it will be a trigger of anxiety. Play it when your pet rests and then it becomes the comforter. 

When Your Dog is Left Alone

Leaving your canine buddy at home alone tops the list. Surely, you have heard stories of pet dogs becoming destructive and inconsolable when their owners leave without them. Separation anxiety is a common struggle among dogs. Some find it is harder to cope with solitude. The right music can help calm them during this time and tolerate it calmly.

It is also a good idea to have music playing on a low volume as much as possible. This means that when you have to leave your dog alone in a room, the atmosphere will not change as dramatically.

When You Bring a Rescue Dog Home

Rescue dogs can be very anxious when arriving in their new environment. This is unsurprising as they have most likely been abused or neglected before they were sheltered. 

Traumatic experiences can encourage fearfulness and the inability to trust anything unfamiliar, including you. This takes time, but the right music can help them relax. Alongside other ways to help calm them down when their world has again turned upside down.

When the Pet’s Owner Passes

Have you ever heard of Hachiko? Dogs bond with their owners and become greatly loyal to them; however, this can become a problematic extension of separation anxiety when an owner or a loved one passes away. 

During these times, dogs need support. Along with proper care and interaction to integrate the dog back to the living, music can help soothe their woes.

When Your Dog Travels

Dogs and music. Playing appropriate music in the car helps dogs chill out

There is such a thing as dog car anxiety. Motion sickness refers to the incongruence of the sensory data: the body rocks back and forth when the eyes indicate that the body is in a stationary state. With the heightened senses of a dog, they might experience worse forms of nausea. 

In this case, the first course of action is to reduce motion sickness so that the dog’s negative association with the car may be reduced. The second is to reduce the negative association through music.

Thunderstorms and Fireworks

Stormphobia is another form of anxiety that comes from sensory information—from thunderclaps and lightning to barometric pressure and wind. Unfortunately, dogs do not just grow out of this phase. It can get much worse if left to persist. As such, it is best to offer the right support for your pooch alongside a safe refuge to associate security with, enhanced by the positive effects of calming music.

Incorporating sounds into your dog’s life is just one way to improve their well-being. Music, along with natural support, can help address any behavioural issues. Do try to identify when your dog is distressed, provide herbs with calming properties in conjunction with music and behavioural modification. Together these all help ensure your dog is well-adjusted and happy. 

Alongside playing music, it’s important you are in touch with your emotions. Dog and cats feed off how we are. Music not only helps our pets but for us too. Take a moment to just sit and be a calming influence and enjoy the music along with them.

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Written by Caroline Spencer Canine Behaviourist for Bella and Duke also Author of Why Does My Dog Do That? and Co-Author of Parenting Your New Puppy

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