Several years ago I blogged about studies that found soothing music can set a relaxing tone in kennels and veterinary clinics. Heavy metal, for example, proved to have the opposite effect on pets. It stands to reason that slowly progressing, melodious sounds would elicit a calming effect, in contrast to loud, jarring, up tempo music.
To take it several steps further, there are many products and videos that provide a musical background that reportedly will help your dog or cat fall asleep. Music therapy was off my radar for a few years. So, when my client informed me that her pit bull mix Bennett had been taken off of his two anti-anxiety medications, because he had found Relax My Dog videos on You Tube, I will admit, I was skeptical. Bennett had daytime anxiety, and at night he suffered from noise related anxiety that didn’t only wake him up, but kept him up in an agitated state. I should clarify….kept THEM up. If Bennett didn’t sleep, neither did they.
The client explained that, when he would awaken in the early hours, she would simply turn on her computer and the videos, that she kept next to her bed. Soon thereafter, he would fall asleep. The videos are free, and they have them running on several loops of increasing durations. There is also a Relax My Dog app available for your phone, for $2.99.
Researching the videos, I found that there exist a wide variety of similar music and video options available on the internet, for various fees. You can also watch Relax My Cat, by the way. There are also Wholetones for Dogs healing music cds. They claim the music not only aids in sleep, but decreases acting out, barking, aggression, and separation anxiety symptoms. The key is the frequency, they attest, that is soothing to dogs and their auditory range. Soundcloud.com offers relaxing piano music. Vimeo features Relaxation Sleep Music for dogs and puppies, which is 30 minutes long. But, there are videos available that play for up to 8 hours. Note that several of these options, including the Relax My Dog music, are also available on spotify, iTunes and Apple music.
So, I thought I would give it a try. Or a listen. And honestly, it was quite relaxing. To me. My dog, …. it was hard to tell. I find it difficult to wake her from a nap, and then keep her awake, unless we are out doing something exciting like swimming or taking a walk. I played the music, and tried to get a reaction. She simply walked away when she heard my son open the refrigerator door. My experiment left me with one of three explanations. 1. She doesn’t care about the music. 2. It does not work, 3. I must not do said experiment anywhere near dinnertime, as she is tuned into the one frequency that matters to her… the sound of someone walking into the kitchen where her food is kept. Her gastrointestinal circadian rhythm overrides all other stimuli.
My take-home message: it can’t hurt. If it’s free, what’s the harm? If you don’t mind getting up to turn on You Tube, to see if it calms your dog, or helps him/her go back to sleep, say, after thunder or a nightmare, so be it. It honestly made me feel like taking a nap. Or getting a massage….or maybe taking a yoga class. Check it out for yourself. I would love to hear your thoughts.