Calming Music for Dogs

Do you have a playlist for your pooch?

It has been established that dogs can hear music. They generally hear the same frequencies that people hear, although they have difficulty with very low ranges and they hear very high ranges that humans can't.

But while dogs can hear music, they may not like everything they hear. Deborah Wells, an animal behaviorist based in Belfast, Ireland, examined dogs' affinity for music by observing their behavior when music was played. She found that slow, harmonious classical music promoted relaxation and sleep. Heavy metal music resulted in trembling and loud barking that signaled distress.

Other research shows that dogs become agitated when they hear drumming or other percussion, likely because of the low frequency. Soft, peaceful music helps injured or sick dogs heal faster. Tranquil music help dogs with noise phobias, such as thunder, remain calm by distracting them or drowning out the noise.

How to choose music for your dog

Music can strongly affect your dog's emotions and behavior. Like people, they experience different moods, including anxiety, depression and loneliness. Music can fill the emptiness they feel when alone and soothe them when they are fearful or agitated. The following tips will help you use music to enhance your dog's life.

  • When leaving a dog alone, play slow, tranquil classical music without percussion to help them remain relaxed.
  • If your dog seems depressed or refuses to play even when enticed by favorite toys, try more upbeat classical music with staccato notes to increase activity level and improve mood.
  • Dogs like familiarity. If your dog seems to respond positively to a piece of music -- by increasing activity, playfulness or relaxation -- keep it in your playlist.
  • Use music that includes familiar sounds like soft conversation, birds chirping or a dog barking. Several recordings for soothing dogs can be found at online pet stores or other sites that sell dog supplies.
  • When using music to address noise phobias, start the music before the noise begins so your dog is already relaxed beforehand.
  • When your dog is ill or injured, play soothing music. Relaxation promotes healing.
  • Try species-specific music. Recordings in species-specific frequency ranges that target agitation, anxiety, depression and healing are offered at sites selling online pet supplies.

Keep in mind that like us, dogs have individual music preferences. Observing your dog's behavior when listening to different styles of music will help you learn what types your dog prefers. Also remember that a dog's hearing is more sensitive than ours. It doesn't matter what type of music you play if it is too loud for your dog's comfort.

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