Have you ever known someone who leaves the TV on “for the dog” when they leave the house? The idea being the voices on the TV bring comfort and security to your dog while they’re otherwise alone. If that’s the case, can dogs benefit from music in a similar way? Music, like the TV, can include strange voices your dog won’t be able to comprehend. But music also consists of things such as rhythm, tone and tempo, all of which can be experienced and enjoyed without literacy, human and canine alike. Music may be more than just noise; it could help your dog physically and emotionally.
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Music for Humans vs. Music for Dogs
As is the case with most subjects, we try to understand it on a human level. And it doesn’t get more human than music. Whether we are looking for motivation, relaxation, or a singalong, music is an emotional experience for people. Most would agree, and the relationship between music and humans has been studied and experienced throughout time.
With this understanding of music and how it makes us feel, it’s not crazy to think our dogs are affected by music as well. Dogs can sense our emotions and can at times replicate them, so can they sense songs in the same way? Just as music helps us cope as people, it can potentially offer the same benefit to dogs. Let’s go over a couple scenarios where music may help your fur friend.
While everybody loves a good song, entertainment may not be first priority when it comes to music and your dog. You want your dog to benefit in some way and addressing separation anxiety is a good place to start. If you suspect or know that your dog doesn’t like being left alone, a calming playlist could stabilize their mood while you’re away. In fact, this theory has already been put to use by many pet owners, with premade, dog-calming playlists.
Try playing some calming music the next time you’re with your dog and take note of how they react. If the music appears to put them at ease, press play the next time you leave the house! Pairing the music with an ElleVet Calm & Comfort chew may benefit as well.
It can be difficult to gauge how your pet is feeling when you’re not there.
Common signs your dog may be in distress when they’re alone:
- Chewing/tearing things apart
- Having accidents in the house, when trained
- Hiding in obscure places, as if they were scared when you were gone
- Whining as you leave home
Music therapy is a popular option for people who have gone through some sort of trauma. On a base level, it can help our mood, or speak for us when we can’t express how we’re feeling. And although as pet owners we don’t like to think about it, our dogs can get hurt physically and emotionally, just like we can. It’s important to note that physical and emotional pain aren’t mutually exclusive, and they are often a package deal. The good news is the right music can help your dog cope.
If your dog has sustained a physical injury or is perhaps recovering from surgery, calming or classical music can help their psyche. Although the pain they’re feeling may be mostly physical, music can help put them in a relaxed state, promoting rest and healing. When your dog is recovering from a physical injury, it is important to do anything you can to support them. Physically and emotionally!
More prominent may be helping dogs who have undergone some sort of emotional pain. Foster pets, adopted pets, and pets currently in shelters are especially susceptible to emotional traumas. They could have been abused by their previous owners, abandoned, or worse. The bumps and bruises may heal in time, but the emotional pain that comes with these experiences can linger and be life altering for a dog. Music can help these dogs with their emotional recovery. In fact, there is evidence that classical music in particular is effective with calming shelter dogs.
Side effects & Safety
For many reasons, it may seem unnecessary to mention the side effects and safety of music for your dog. Although, it has been found that loud, aggressive music can in turn promote that same behavior in dogs. It is best to avoid such music when it comes to therapeutic applications.
Has it been proven? Is it right for my dog?
Research on how music affects dogs is widely speculated and subjective. Every dog is different, and some may benefit in ways others will not. However, using music specifically for calming and therapeutic purposes has shown promise, both in theory and in research.
Unfortunately, our dogs can’t make their own playlist or mixtape. They can’t verbally tell us whether they like this song or not, or whether the music is helping them. But you can listen to their body language. You know your dog best, and they rely on you to make the right decisions for them. If you think your dog may benefit from music on a physical and emotional level, why not give it a try? We’d love to hear your feedback!