Best Music for Anxious Dogs

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
Music soothes the savage beast… and also the anxious one. If your dog is anxious, playing music may help calm him down.

If you’re like me, you make a point of leaving your radio on, your iPad playing, or even your television broadcasting whenever you have to head out and leave your pet behind for a couple of hours. We think it helps keep our fur-kids company by masking unsettling sounds (like thunder, loud cars, noisy neighbors), and to be honest, it also makes us feel a little better about having to close the door behind us.

We’re not alone, because pet parents throughout the world have been creating this same “ambient noise” for their pets each time they head off to the office, gym, or grocery store. And studies show there’s nothing wrong with that – your pet is already used to music, and voices, and various outside sounds, so it does in fact provide a level of continuity and comfort. In fact, further research even suggests that the calming effect it delivers to your pooch, ceases the moment the music stops and he’s no longer receiving those soft, stabilizing sounds. Yes, your dog can become somewhat addicted to listening to music.

So, how do you customize his tunes to create a doggy Zen zone versus just white noise? How do you ensure the sounds he listens to after you shut the door, are something he actually enjoys and finds soothing? Playing DJ to your pet is easier than you may think once you understand his taste in music, and know where to start. Ready to learn the basics in music appreciation?

The Tone:

The goal is to calm you pet, not get them hyped up and feeling anxious. So, let’s start with the overall sound you need to be looking for.

  1. Dogs respond best to low tones, with simple structure. Think cello, piano, basso – instruments that will deliver a steady, soothing sound to your pet.
  2. Music accompanied by singing can still be soothing, as long as it retains the same lower, calming tones as the instrumental component.
  3. Look for music with a slower tempo, such as classical or even reggae with its simple, playful melodies.
  4. Avoid anything with a sharp, rapid drum beat or heavy digital modifications including hard rock or heavy metal that can cause him to become anxious.
  5. You can’t beat nature. The sound of water spilling over rocks, or washing up onto a beach, with birds chirping and the wind moving through trees sure beats leaving the television turned up, and is sure to calm your pooch

The Tune:

If your objective to playing music your dog will respond to, is to find a calming sound that will help him wind down and forget you ever existed (let alone left him by himself) here are some tried and true chill-out favorites:

  • Debussy – Clair de Lune
  • Beatles – Hey Jude
  • Brahms – Piano Concerto No. 1
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers — Buffalo Soldier or Could You Be Loved
  • Enya – Ebudae (or anything Enya)
  • Adele — Rolling in the Deep
  • Justin Bieber — Love Yourself
  • Carole King – So Far Away, You’ve Got a Friend, Home Again (hmm… is a pattern emerging here?)

But not all dogs are instant audiophiles and as you try new sounds, watch for his reaction. Some songs may have a component that triggers baying, panting, or pacing due to anxiety. And some may even cause your pooch to “sing” along, it the mood hits. Be on the lookout for happy howling to know you’ve picked a winning tune.

Now, if you just can’t decide which tunes will suit your pet, sites like Spotify feature “Dog Music” with a roster of calming, musical sounds for dogs that are sure to make you think you’re at the spa. Another site called Dog Music for Pets also has you covered with their 8-hour audio of Relax My Dog music. Slow, soothing classical tones that run non-stop, so you simply pop it on for your pet before you head out the door. Warning: may also cause drowsiness to humans so don’t linger around after hitting “play”.

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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