Multiple studies have proven that the tempo of music can affect our mood. Can music have similar effects in dogs? This post will delve into the effects of calming music for dogs with anxiety.
Several doctors have studied different types of music and the effects it has on dogs. Dr. Kogan from the Colorado State College conducted a study on over 100 dogs in a shelter by exposing them to classical and heavy metal music. The results were somewhat predictable – dogs that listened to classical music were calm and those that listened to heavy metal were agitated. A study made in 2002 by animal behaviorist Dr. Deborah Wells noted that dogs were calmer and quieter when listening to classical music and made an interesting observation that dogs seemed to relax when exposed to music with tempo of 50-60 beats per minute. Dr. Cornelius says music with this tempo typically includes classical, reggae and soft rock music while music with faster tempo induced anxiety and restlessness.
In another study, 2 groups of dogs were observed. The first group was observed in silence while the other had classical music played in the kennels. Saliva and blood testing revealed that stress levels significantly went down in the group that listened to classical music. The dogs were also observed to bark less and spent less time standing up. After 2 weeks, the study on both groups was reversed and the results came out the same. But in another study by the Scottish SPCA, researchers concluded that although classical music induced calmness in dogs, the effects were short-lived and discovered that reggae and soft rock produced better calming effects.
Gilly Mendes Ferreira, SPCA head of research suspects that the calming effects are a result of the similarity of the rhythms to a dog’s heartbeat.
This leads to Canine Lullabies – Heartbeat Music Therapy which was accidentally created by songwriter and publisher Terry Woodford.
Listen to samples on Spotify
Initially created to calm crying babies which works until someone tried it on their dog. News spread and is now being played in over 2,500 shelters around the world. Terry Woodford didn’t believe it himself until he paid a visit to one of the shelters. He said when he walked in, the place was chaotic with dogs jumping and barking until an employee played the music. According to him, all the dogs calmed down within 15 seconds. But it wasn’t until he visited a cardiac hospital where nurses were anxious to show him how playing Heartbeat music was able to quickly calm frightened infants within seconds. This event changed his life. He left the music business and focused on promoting his Canine Lullabies. Since then, Canine Lullabies has been used in over 8,000 hospitals to calm infants, children, and even adults. It also showed significant improvement in patients with Dementia and Alzheimer’s when played for 30 minutes twice a week for 6 weeks
In a hospital nursery, 94% of newborns were calmed to sleep while listening to Canine Lullabies
You can listen to Canine Lullabies when you sign up to Spotify, Google Play or Amazon Music. You can also buy a portable Wireless Speaker preloaded with Canine Lullabies that you can play for 14 hours without recharging that you can take with you anywhere, even in the car if your dog has car anxiety.
It’s selling for $50 with 9 songs or $60 with 18 songs which you can buy from https://caninelullabies.com/ but you can always try to look for a used one online to save a few bucks.
Free Canine Lullabies recordings are being offered to humane societies, zoos, rescue shelters and similar organizations that work towards the welfare of animals while having special pricing to foster parents and fund raisers.
iCalmpet.com also produces awesome music for dogs with anxiety. Unlike Canine Lullabies, this company makes music for specific situations such as:
- Separation Anxiety
- Elderly dogs
- Thunderstorms, fireworks and city sounds
- Puppy Anxiety
- Car Anxiety
- and of course … Reggae
It comes in CD, i-Calm speaker or streaming formats. The basic Portable Speaker starts at $50.
Click on the speaker to listen to samples
Why calming music for dogs work
Dogs have a unique ability where they can zero in on a particular sound amid other sounds that are much louder and more complex like the special ability they possess when it comes to scents. When dogs are in a stressful situation, the consistency and predictability of dog music calm them down. Dogs naturally focus on it amid the many sounds that it hears when it seeks comfort. Music that is soothing for humans doesn’t necessarily have the same effect on dogs and they may simply tune it out. They are attracted to music that is simple, predictable, oft-repeated and kindhearted.
Tv for dogs! Over 8 hours of video and relaxing music that you can play on your tv. Whether or not you leave the house, this is also another option to relax your dog by giving him some visual entertainment with calming music. The video is long enough that even if your dog goes to sleep, the video may still be playing by the time your dog awakes.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice.