When you’re in a good mood, listening to happy or uplifting music can make you feel even better. Conversely, when you’re down, slow, melancholy-sounding music can intensify the blues.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, animals are equally affected by tonal quality, beat, and melody. Music therapy in pets is becoming more popular in treatment plans for separation anxiety or phobia, but listening to the right type of music has the potential to benefit all pets.
The Brain Game
By measuring activity level, respiration, and heart rate, researchers found that classical music has a calming effect on both cats and dogs. Animals exposed to a single instrument like a soft piano, string instruments, consistent rhythm, sustained notes, and slower tempo tend to lie down, breath slower, and appear more relaxed than those listening to other musical genres (like reggae, pop or soft rock), or none at all.
How Music Therapy for Pets Works
Music has the potential to produce a wide variety of emotional responses when the brain processes the sound vibrations. Loud, unanticipated noise can signal adrenalin, but smooth repetitive and gentle sounds can calm the nervous system.
Dogs can hear up to 45,000 Hz, and cats can hear up to 64,000 Hz. To put that into perspective, humans only hear up to 20,000 Hz. Since we know how very sensitive they are to noise, it makes perfect sense to fill their auditory landscape with soothing sounds. Boarding facilities, groomers, rescues and training facilities all have the opportunity to provide music therapy for pets.
Interestingly, when music is being played in shelters or rescues, the animals vocalize less, appear more at ease, and thus have a higher chance of adoption. People looking for their next pet also tend to stay longer in order to find the right match.
Music Therapy for Pets Can Help
Unfortunately, anxiety is a common challenge for many pets. Separation or noise anxiety can play big roles in a pet’s behavior. Destructive behavior and aggression can have a negative impact on a pet’s quality of life.
Music therapy in pets allows for a noninvasive, safe and effective approach to treat various anxieties or phobias. Proven to fight anxiety, music therapy for pets can also benefit animals with chronic pain, or recovering from surgery. It can help these pets sleep better, and can reduce the need for certain medications.