Does Music Really Calm Pets?

Dog Music

There’s an old saying, “music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.” These words do not necessarily refer to 4-legged beasts only. But is it true?

We know that a person’s mood can change listening to different types of music. We also know that when a person “whistles a happy tune,” it can relieve stress. Some music makes us laugh, some makes us cry and some is so calming we can drift off for a nap.

Humans, especially city dwellers, adapt to hearing loud noises – sirens blaring, neighbors shouting, car horns blasting, loud TVs, etc. But our pets become excited or agitated or frightened by many of these noises which may lead to behavior problems.

In most studies, soft, slow classical music seemed to reduce stress and produce a calming effect. Loud music appeared to agitate pets.

Scientists at Colorado State University have an ongoing research program to study the calming effects of music on animals.

Studies have shown that humans listening to music reduces anxiety and stress and lowers blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates. Music is an inexpensive and safe stress reliever.

In the initial research at CSU, scientists have found the effects of certain classical music reduces stress in rodents, primates, dogs, birds and other animals. A study of shelter dogs showed that listening to classical music allowed them to take more rest periods and have quiet time.

CSU is now investigating the effects of classical music on cats. Dogs have veterinary visits much more often than cats. While dogs are outdoors daily for their walks, etc., many cats rarely leave their homes which increases their stress when going to the vet’s office.

If the study finds that playing music in the veterinary waiting room calms cats as well, then perhaps vets will have music piped in to calm everyone, pets and their humans.

There are many CDs available specifically made for pets. You might find the effects calming too.

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