I posted this 2 years ago, and a few recent situations had me referring it to people. Decided to repost it for those of you that didn’t catch it the first run.
Did you ever wonder if you should leave the radio or TV on for your dog or cat when you are not at home?
I know that I have done both, but often wondered if it made a difference in my dog’s happiness. Many people have asked me, and feel strongly for and against it. So, I thought I would investigate and found some interesting information. Much of the following info was found on the ASPCA website.
Did you know…
Many shelters use music as a way to soothe the animals in their care. A study found that animals are less stressed when there are alternating periods of quiet with periods of music. Otherwise, if leaving music on all day, animals may habituate to it and any benefits might become ineffective.
What is the most soothing type of music…
Classical music was shown to increase the amount of time dogs spent sleeping. But not all classical music. Specifically, they found benefits with Beethoven, Strauss and Bach. All three had equal benefits in causing dogs to relax, and sleep.
A study by researchers at Colorado State found that you should select music with long, continuous notes. Also, pure tones with regular rhythms and tempos that match a dog’s heart rate were found to be beneficial.
Listen to this, not that…
Heavy metal music was found to cause more stress and anxiety. Specifically, Motorhead, Slayer, and Judas Priest were most likely to cause the opposite of relaxation in the animals studied. They noticed more shaking in those exposed to it. (Not too surprising!)
The study was done in shelter environments, and their goal was to decrease stress levels, to ultimately have a happier, calmer dog, which would ultimately increase it’s odds of adoption. They also noted that the less ambient background noise, the better. And, they determined that speaking to the animals in whispers or low, smooth voices was best.
Why is this important…..
As a veterinarian, I think that the benefits of this study can and should be implemented in other potentially stressful environments, such as veterinary clinics, groomers, boarding facilities. Even though the study was done in dogs, I would be surprised if this did not apply to cats as well.
We humans are not immune to the effects and impact of music. Studies have shown that relaxing music can decrease our heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety, while increasing our tolerance for pain during uncomfortable procedures. (I guess I should thank my dentist for letting me choose the John Mayer channel on Pandora whenever I go in!)
It has also been demonstrated that slow paced music played while shopping will result in people shopping more and for longer. And, uplifting music has found to positively impact helping behaviors.
I know that I will me making some music suggestions when I next go into the clinic. Hopefully you found this information interesting as well.