When I worked for the animal shelter, a generous donor donated a sound system for the large dog kennel area in honor of her daughter, who was tragically killed in an auto accident.
Classical music was played 24/7, and there was a definite calming effect on the dogs. Some research suggests dogs prefer reggae music, but the shelter dogs seemed to enjoy Mozart and Bach very much. Surprisingly, they didn’t care for Beethoven’s 5th. Go figure.
Speaking of Beethoven, my Golden Retriever, Bentley, loves the song Roll Over Beethoven by the Beatles. It’s on my playlist, and when he hears it come on, he will come to me, turn around and sit between my legs, facing away from me. I will then use his body as a drum set and play the song. He smiles the entire time, and sometimes, when the song is over, he will turn around and look at me as if to say, “More, Dad!” He seems to love the rhythm in time with the song as he feels it.
Many shelters and veterinary clinics have reported that music truly soothes the savage beast. Animals are calmer and less anxious when they hear certain genres of music. At other times, as with Bentley, they get more excited if they listen to some Beatles or Rolling Stones. Now, if they listen to Pink Floyd, they get very mellow.
I have noticed that if I play music in my home office over speakers instead of listening through headphones or earbuds, my dogs will come into the office and stay with me for several hours. If there is no music to listen to, they leave and spend their time elsewhere in the house. I have to assume that they enjoy music.
My youngest dog, Mini-Cooper, enjoys television more than he does music. He loves the visual interaction of TV, which he does not get from music. He will watch, and when something like another animal appears on the screen, he will run to the television and bark. He also loves to watch golf, then he picks up a plastic toy bone and hits a tennis ball. He’s getting really good at golf. Last week, he was two under par for 18 holes.
Many dogs enjoy watching Animal Planet or Dog TV. Seeing other dogs running and playing can comfort a dog who is home alone. Thousands of dog owners subscribe to dog-related television channels to keep their best friends happy and engaged.
Music played too loudly can hurt a dog’s sensitive hearing, so be aware of this when blasting your surround sound or music through a soundbar. On the other hand, playing music a bit louder than usual can help disguise the sound of thunder and fireworks, helping calm the dog with loud noise anxiety.
Placing headphones on your dog’s ears is not a good idea. If they have no hearing issues, the music could damage their hearing due to the sound level. If they have hearing problems, exposing them to loud music will damage their hearing more. Please don’t place earbuds or headphones in or on your dogs or other pets’ ears.
In addition to music, many dogs like to listen to audiobooks. The sound of a person talking to them is soothing. I haven’t found any research to support which books pets like to listen to the most, but if I had to guess, I would say aquarium fish love “Moby Dick,” dogs like “The Adventures of Lassie” and cats enjoy the “Cat in the Hat.”
The next time you leave for the day to go to work, or even if you are stepping out for just a few hours, leave your music source playing in your absence so your pets can enjoy a little bit of classical or old-time rock and roll. Or turn on the TV so they can watch their favorite shows. Mini-Cooper is counting the days to the next Masters tournament.
Please, remember to adopt, don’t shop.