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Music for the well-being of pets

Recent scientific studies have shown that playing music tends to calm animals and make them feel comfortable in a new environment.

Have you ever happened to leave your dog alone in the house and find upon returning that he has “let off steam” by destroying everything from flip-flops and the remote control to door jambs and the legs of chairs and tables?
“These are not spiteful,” points out Mauro Ferri, a veterinarian in Collegno (Turin) and an expert in animal behavior science, “they are real anxiety attacks related to behavior problems such as attachment disorder or hyperactivity disorder.” Thus, since chewing has a calming effect, the dog pounces on objects. This happens because the animal has low self-esteem and thinks it cannot live without its human companion of choice. Cats, on the other hand, often scratch curtains and couches or relieve themselves outside the litter box; again, if neurological problems are ruled out, this is indoor anxiety.

While waiting to consult a veterinarian with expertise in behavior, we can help our four-legged friends by resorting to “pet music,” music for dogs and cats that we find on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube and Spotify.

Some time ago, the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) conducted a study whose goal was to understand what kind of music dogs like to listen to.
To carry out their study, the researchers introduced music into the daily lives of some dogs residing in a Scottish shelter for several days. Basically, the kennel residents were allowed to listen to a different genre of music each day.
They checked the level of stress present in the shelter guests, monitored their heart rate and detected the level of cortisol, which is the concentration of the stress hormone, as well as observed their body language. Thus they found out which music is able to instill maximum relaxation in our faithful friends.

Thanks to the results of this study, volunteers and employees of Scottish kennels understood with what music it was possible to relax their guests until they found a new home. Therefore, soon after the results of the study were published, shelters in Glasgow and Edinburgh, followed by others around the world, began to play relaxing music for their dog friends.
After the release of the Scottish Music Studio, many dog lovers and several animal shelters became interested in the subject, asking for a playlist of soothing music for their paw friends. The SPCA has since released an album, with support from John McLaughlin. On Spotify we can find his playlist for pets.

What music do dogs like to listen to?

Research conducted by animal behaviorist Deborah Wells revealed that puppies take pleasure in listening to certain types of tunes, especially classical music, which has the extraordinary power to calm them down and make them very relaxed. In contrast, the same study showed that pop music and radio music in general does not have the same effects as classical music.
It seems that our animal friends also have their preferences, just as we do. In addition, researchers have found that playing classical music sounds to the dog’s ears like a real human conversation.
Combining a classical melody with the sounds of nature — for example, the chirping of birds or a flowing river — has an even more relaxing effect on our friend. There are compilations of classical music with nature sounds, as well as extremely relaxing environmental music such as Michel Pepè’s playlists.

Relaxation therapy through music turns out to be especially effective during New Year’s Eve because it helps dogs cope better with the deafening discomfort derived from the noise of fireworks.
Excellent results have also been observed in other areas, one of them being clinical.

Musician Alianna Boone conducted a scientific experiment that showed that hospitalized pooches tend to have a lower heart rate when soothing harp music is played. This suggests not only that music helps animals relax, but also allows them to recover more quickly from their health problems. Like humans, dogs are better able to cope with their negative experiences if they feel calm and fulfilled.

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