dog listening to music

Relax Your Dog With Music: Paws or Play?

Ever thought about relaxing your dog with music?

Just because your pooch has four legs and barks doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the finer things in life.

We all enjoy listening to music. You know the saying, “It’s like music to my dog with ipodears”. It sounds good. It’s what we want to hear.

Music makes us feel good. It acts as a salve to an aching heart. A distraction from a stressful time in your life. Or a source of inspiration for those in need of it.

We listen to music to enjoy ourselves and have a good time. And during those times when we need to relax, we turn on our playlists and just jam.

But what does that have to do with your dog? Dogs are completely different creatures than we are, but they can benefit from listening to music too. Let me tell you how.

Benefits of Relaxing Your Dog With Music

Eases separation anxiety

When you’re not at home, your dog could destroy everything in his path because he can’t handle the feelings of isolation and pent-up energy.

I’ve seen it happen with one of my own dogs.

The struggle is real.

Have you ever considered playing some nice, relaxing music to calm his nerves?

Relieves anxiety from explosive sounds like fireworks and thunder

Depending on how loud the sound is (for example, if it’s fireworks), music may not completely drown it out. But it does act as a distraction and provides a calming effect.

Calms a highly energetic dog

Did you just get back from a walk or a run in the backyard with your pooch? Is he still bouncing off the walls?

Some dogs are energetic like this and that’s perfectly fine. But if it gets to the point where it’s annoying and driving you crazy, put on a soothing track.

Helps create positive feelings and emotions such as happiness, contentment, joy, and lovedog listening to headphones

I mean, think about it. When you’re listening to music, I mean some really good music, it makes you feel a certain kind of way, doesn’t it?

You feel like dancing or laughing or just playing around.

Dogs have emotions just like we do.

The same music that evokes positive feelings and emotions within us can do the same for our dogs as well.

Stops excessive barking

It would be hard for your dog to tune out some nice, relaxing music when he’s on a barking spree, wouldn’t it?

Besides, he’d probably enjoy the serene melodies and slow tempo.

Comforts whimpering puppies and helps them self-soothe

If you’re sleep training your puppy, you’re probably struggling to get him to sleep through the night.

This is especially true during his first nights away from his mother.

Some calming music should help him get right to sleep or at least relaxed enough to lie down and keep quiet.

Calms an anxious dog during a car ride

Some dogs hate riding in the car. Mine was an absolute ball of nerves every time I’d put her in the car.

Pop in a calming CD and watch your dog calm to his senses (see what I did there?)

dog in a car

Helps stimulate your canine’s mind

Your dog might find it interesting to hear certain sounds he may not have heard before.

This creates some thinking and then, some interpreting.

And the next thing you know, he’ll be so focused on the music, he won’t have time to engage in any bad behaviors like excessive barking, destructive chewing, or aggression.

What Does the Research Say?

Most people are aware that being in a shelter can be a stressful experience for a dog.

Being restricted to a kennel for long periods of time, being socially isolated, no longer having an attachment figure, and having no auditory, visual, orshelter dog physical stimulation can create some stress and anxiety for dogs.

This environment is a suitable place to perform an experiment. High levels of stress and anxiety are definitely present.

So as a result, researchers can gauge the possible effects of music in terms of how it worsens or alleviates behaviors (i.e. shaking, barking, restlessness) caused by anxiety.

A team of researchers came together and performed an experiment on dogs in a kenneled setting. They played classical music and heavy metal.

The results were—you guessed it—that dogs exposed to classical music spent more time sleeping and less time vocalizing (i.e. barking, whining) than the dogs that were exposed to heavy metal or no music at all.

In fact, dogs exposed to heavy metal were more prone to shaking, which is a result of anxiety and fear.

The conclusion?

Playing classical music helped relieve some of the stress experienced by many kenneled dogs.

What does this mean for your dog at home?

If a dog in almost complete isolation with pretty much no one to love him can benefit from the calming effects of classical music, so can your well-loved, socialized canine companion.

Why is Classical Music So Calming?

It’s pretty self-explanatory when you think about it. The tempo of classical music is typically slow. Sound frequencies are pretty low in some classical music selections. High-frequency sounds are known to arouse and even dog listening to ipodupset some dogs.

This is perhaps the main reason classical music is so beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety in not only humans but dogs as well.

Overall, classical music just has that calm, serene aura about it. If you’ve listened to classical music, you know what I’m talking about.

Fun fact: When I was in third grade, my teacher would play classical music in the background while my classmates and I did our school work.

Now that I look back on it, it did create a relaxing, distraction-free environment that helped improve my concentration.

What Other Genres of Music Produce A Calming Effect?

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the University of Glasgow conducted a study on kenneled dogs at an animal rescue center in Scotland.

The study found that when genres like pop, soft rock, and reggae were played, dogs spent more time lying down and significantly less time standing.

Their heart rates were lower and so were their cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
infographic: dogs love music
So go ahead and add pop, reggae, and soft rock to your dog’s playlist. This provides variety for your pooch.

Like us, dogs can get bored with listening to the same types of music over and over.

Where to Find Such Awesome, Relaxing Music

You can find calming music for your dog through various music streaming software apps like YouTube, Amazon Music, iTunes, Sound Cloud or Spotify.

Some Cool Albums

Paws. Play. Relax. by Various Artists available on Apple iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music

paws. play. relax

Pet Therapy – Relaxing Music for Dogs and Cats by The Marcello Player available on Apple iTunes

pet therapy

Music Dogs Love: While You Are Gone by Bradley Joseph available on Amazon Music

music dogs love

Other Sources

There are also some really great resources that sell calming CDs and even speakers specially designed for pets.

iCalm Pet – Offers music and sound therapy for dogs. Their CD sets are even age-specific, made for different life stages: Puppies, Mature, Senior.

There are also custom soundtracks for certain situations and behaviors such as riding in the car, separation anxiety, thunderstorms, fireworks, and aggression. iCalm Pet even sells portable speakers for your canine companion to enjoy music on the go.

RelaxMyDog – Pretty much a TV channel for dogs that plays programs and music to help dogs deal with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and stress. Can be used anywhere on any device: phone, tablet, TV or computer. It’s available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Roku, and iOS.

Canine Lullabies – A collection of playlists that can be played from a CD or digital download from your computer. You can also download Canine Lullabies from iTunes or Google Play.

Too Good to Be True?

If you’re still skeptical about music providing a calming effect on dogs, watch this video.

Is Music Not Cutting It?

I won’t pretend like music is going to help calm every dog. And neither will I say that if music doesn’t help, then you might need to take your dog to the vet and get him checked out.

The effectiveness of music relaxing your dog will depend on his age, temperament, activity level and any possible health problems.

If music doesn’t help calm your dog, that’s perfectly fine. It’s just not for him.

But if his anxiety and stress are at abnormal and even harmful levels, then you may have to take him to the veterinarian and possibly consider putting him on some anti-anxiety medication.

Conclusion

Music is a great way to calm your dog, yet stimulate his ever-active brain at the same time.

When he’s just moping around the house looking bored, play some music. If he’s barking up a storm and disturbing the peace, put on some good tracks. And while you’re at it, do yourself a favor and enjoy the music too.

Because chances are, an anxious dog makes for a stressed owner.

Do you play music to relax your dog? I’d love to hear all about your experiences in the comments!

26 thoughts on “Relax Your Dog With Music: Paws or Play?

  1. Reply
    Marc - January 15, 2019

    I love it. I never really considered playing calming music for my pets but it makes sense. Especially for children. If listening to classical music helps calm children compared to heavy metal, why wouldn’t it also apply to dogs?

    I wonder if there is an ideal amount of listening time. You wouldn’t want to have your dog too relaxed, then they may start acting like cats and just lying around.

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 16, 2019

      Hey Marc!

      I never considered playing music for my dogs either until I read up on it. It can be pretty beneficial.

      I don’t think there’s a set amount of time you should play music for your dog, but I imagine that pet parents play music during times of anxiety and stress such as riding in a car or going to the vet.

      Hope this clarifies things!

      B

  2. Reply
    Sarah - January 15, 2019

    This is so true! Dogs love music. They enjoy it and dance too. They have their favorite choices as well. I love all the information you have shared regarding this. Many of my neighbors have dogs and I will share this article with them. I don’t have a pet, but I know they love music as I saw their dogs enjoying and dancing in parties. I also saw the the picture and video demo you have shared. Thank you so much for this useful info.

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 16, 2019

      Hi Sarah!

      Really? A dancing dog. How cool!

      That would be lovely if you share this article with your neighbors. I look forward to hearing from them.

      Thanks for reading!

      B

  3. Reply
    Stephen - January 15, 2019

    Really great article. Good to see the effect music can have not only on humans, but dogs as well. Also, nice video proving all your points.

    Great touch. I like it.

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 16, 2019

      Hi Stephen!

      So glad you enjoyed the article and video. Isn’t it amazing how certain things that affect humans can affect dogs as well?

      B

  4. Reply
    Derek - January 16, 2019

    What a tremendous article! I’ve never imagined that dogs could (and do) benefit from listening to music.

    It has got me thinking now in regards to a lovely playlist or two for my pooch.

    Thanks for creating this.

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 16, 2019

      Hey Derek!

      Lovely having you here. I never knew dogs could enjoy music either. They really are like us in so many ways.

      I hope you do make that playlist. If you do, I’d love to see what you’ve chosen to play for your canine companion.

      Thanks for reading!

      B

  5. Reply
    Aziza Usoof - January 16, 2019

    This is enlightening to me. It must be nice for a dog owner to play classical music for their beloved pet dogs, when they are away. However my experience with cats have been varied. Some cats respond well to music, by calming down and wagging their tails to the beat, some have been programmed to be petted while listening to music. However some of my cats just hate any music and prefer a quiet environment. 

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 17, 2019

      Hi Aziza!

      I’m not too sure about cats and how they respond to music. But I’m sure some cats can enjoy it. Maybe dogs are more in tuned to music (no pun intended) because they can hear better then cats? Nah, I doubt. Because humans like music and we can’t hear as well as dogs either.

      What I do know is, some dogs won’t like music and neither will some cats. It doesn’t work for everyone.

      Thanks for reading!

      B

  6. Reply
    Marvin - January 16, 2019

    Nice tips here for relaxing your dog with music. Quick story, when my dog Barry was a puppy, we used to put the radio on and he used to relax almost instantly. Now that he is an old man, the only time he gets anxious is when there is thunder. When that happens, we put the radio on and he relaxes instantly. I can’t stress enough how music relaxes dogs.

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 17, 2019

      Hey Marvin!

      Isn’t it amazing how music can calm them right down? I think it’s so fascinating.

      What kind of music do you play for your dog? I’d love to know!

      B

  7. Reply
    Shellykh - January 16, 2019

    Very interesting information. Never thought music can have a profound effect on dogs. I wonder if the research applies to cats. But then, I think they can care less about music and sounds. I used to own dogs, but now I only have cats lol.

    Do you know if different types of breeds have different reactions to music than other breeds? Or if their emotions are based on personal taste like humans?

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 17, 2019

      Hi Shelly!

      I think cats are more to themselves and stay in their own little worlds. But that could just be my experience with cats and I don’t have much of it.

      To my knowledge, dogs of all breeds can enjoy music. But I’m not sure if some breeds enjoy it more than others. I think it just depends on the dog.

      Hope that helps!

      B

  8. Reply
    Chris - January 16, 2019

    Funnily enough, we used to have a red setter (Irish setter) dog named Lady when I was growing up – we rescued her at age two from a dog home (so she was a little bit wild at times!). 

    Whenever my dad used to play his music through the downstairs of the house on the weekend mornings, she used to howl as if she was singing for hours on end. To this day – we have no real idea if she was enjoying it or not! 

    What we do know is that music definitely had some kind of effect on her, and she was happy enough through it (it was Pink Floyd if anyone is interested in trying it out!!!!). 

    Great article. 

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 17, 2019

      Hi Chris!

      That is hilarious! It sounds like your pooch was trying to sing you guys a tune. And if you ask me, I think she did enjoy the music. I mean, it’s Pink Floyd.

      So glad you enjoyed the article!

      B

  9. Reply
    charles39 - January 16, 2019

    This is a very new idea to me using music to make dogs to relax. I have in fact seen my dog when it hears some music on my stereo. It does stop doing whatever it was doing and listen to the flow of the beats. But I never thought or figured that it was actully enjoying the beats like I do. 

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 17, 2019

      Hi Charles!

      Your dog was probably curious about the sound. And he might even like it. What type of music was it?

      B

  10. Reply
    Scott Payne - January 16, 2019

    This is a wonderful post.

    I now understand why my dog many years back used to love when I played Journey. He wasn’t relaxed but he would run and jump like he was dancing.

    Your article makes me understand that dogs gain as much from music as humans do.

    Are there any apps for my smartphone for this?

    I know that for humans there are meditation and ambient sounds apps like Calm and Tide. But what about for dogs (animals)?

    And does this affect other animals too? … like cats, etc?

    Looking forward to more.

    All the best,

    ~s

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 17, 2019

      Hi Scott!

      So glad you enjoyed the post!

      And that is so cute. I can just imagine him jumping around on his hind legs with his tongue sticking out. The music probably excited him!

      If you have Android, there are plenty of apps you can download on your phone. I’m not sure about iOS though.

      I believe there were studies done on cats their reaction to music. Also, with cows producing more milk when listening to relaxing music. And if I’m not mistaken, there was a study done on elephants as well. There’s so much fascinating stuff on the web about animals and music.

      Hope this helps!

      B

  11. Reply
    Ginger - January 16, 2019

    Our neighbors used to get upset if our dogs barked too much so we created a routine around leaving, including making sure the blinds are closed and their playlist is on to drown out outside noises. When the first song on their goodbye playlist starts, they both go to lay down. They know how the routine works. It’s kinda funny to see the response but I really think they do better because when that song comes on, they know what to expect. 

    The other music they hear regularly is my alarm clock song, “I Feel Fantastic” by Johnathan Coulton which is very fast-paced with a distinct rhythm. They get excited when they hear it because they know I’m getting up and there will be treats and playtime. There’s no way for me to snooze that alarm because the song makes the dogs crazy. 

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 17, 2019

      Hey Ginger!

      It can definitely suck if your dogs bark so much, that the constant noise upsets your neighbor. You did a smart thing in preparing your dogs for when you have to leave by trying to create a distraction-free environment. And that is so adorable how they react to the song you play when you’re preparing to leave!

      It’s also very interesting that your furbabies know what to expect when they hear your alarm song. They associate the alarm with you waking up and they associate you waking up with play time and treats! Aren’t they some intelligent creatures?

      Thanks for stopping by!

      B

  12. Reply
    Kinggold19 - January 16, 2019

    Music is food to the soul. Pets also have the rights to different things in life. One of the major things that The Paw Institute is doing here is to bridge that gap which is a job well done. These pets, most especially dogs, have feelings like we do, in order to calm them down. I think music is one of them. Great work out here. 

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 17, 2019

      Hey!

      Thanks for you kind words. It’s like music to my ears!

      B

  13. Reply
    sarah - January 23, 2019

    Oh My God, what an amazing post. I am glad that you shared this useful information about dogs liking music. I have shared it already with my friends and neighbors who have dogs, Your website is full of such awesome articles and tips. Thank you. The title of this website is totally justified. It is an institute to learn from…thank you for sharing your superb work.

    1. Reply
      Britney - January 24, 2019

      Hey Sarah!

      So glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for sharing it with loved ones.

      And yep, I try my best to live up to the domain name. My aim is to educate!

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