Dogs are credited as man’s best friend, and it’s no surprise that they form deep emotional bonds with their owners. However, this bond can sometimes lead to a problem known as separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety in dogs is a behavioral condition where dogs become excessively anxious and distressed when they are left alone. This anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as excessive barking, chewing, and digging. While separation anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, including heredity, inadequate socialization, and shocking experiences, it can be managed and even treated with the right approach. One of the approaches that have been gaining popularity in recent years is the use of music therapy.
Music therapy involves using music to achieve therapeutic objectives, such as reducing tension and anxiety. In the case of dogs with separation anxiety, music therapy involves playing soothing music for the dog when the owner is away. But does music really alleviate separation anxiety in canines? Let’s find out.
Genres of Music Dogs Enjoy
According to some studies, there are specific genres of music that dogs can relax to more than others.
Various research has been done to comprehend the effects of music on dogs with separation anxiety. One study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior learned that playing classical music reduced stress and anxiety in dogs in a shelter setting. The study involved playing classical music for dogs in a shelter for 45 minutes a day for five consecutive days. Classical music has been found to be the most helpful type of music for decreasing strain and apprehension in dogs.
Studies have shown that dogs who listen to classical music display less stress-related behaviors, such as barking, panting, and pacing. The reason why classical music works so well is that it has a slower tempo, lower pitch, and fewer dynamic changes, which are all factors that have a calmative effect on the nervous system.
Another type of music that can help calm dogs with separation anxiety is reggae music. Reggae has akin tempo and rhythm to classical music, but its distinctive sound can have an efficacious impact on dogs. A study conducted by the University of Glasgow found that dogs who listened to reggae music had a decrease in stress-related behaviors, such as whining and barking.
While classical and reggae music is effective in reducing dog anxiety, it’s important to note that every dog has different musical preferences. Some dogs may like better soft rock or jazz, while others may enjoy heavy metal or pop music.
Another study published by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) found that playing soft rock music had a calming effect on dogs in a shelter environment. The study involved playing soft rock music for dogs in a shelter for seven consecutive days. The results showed a significant decrease in stress-related behaviors such as barking, pacing, and salivation.
These studies suggest that music can have a positive effect on dogs with separation anxiety. Classical music and soft rock are effective, but other genres of music may not have the same calming effect. It’s also important to note that the volume and tempo of the music should be appropriate for the dog’s sensitivity.
Tips to Use Music to Calm Your Dog
When using music to calm your dog, here are some tips you can follow.
Create a playlist of calming music.
Create a playlist of classical music or soft rock that your dog can listen to when you’re not around. Make sure the music is at a low volume and the tempo is appropriate for your dog’s sensitivity.
Play the music before leaving.
Play calming music for your dog about 30 minutes before you leave the house. This will help your dog associate the music with your absence and create a sense of calmness.
Use a calming scent.
Consider using a calming scent, such as lavender, in conjunction with the music. Lavender has been found to have a calming effect on dogs and can enhance the music’s calming effect.
Consistency is key.
Consistency is crucial when using music therapy for separation anxiety in dogs. Make sure you play the music every time you leave the house to create a routine and sense of familiarity for your dog.
Seek professional help.
While music therapy can be effective in managing separation anxiety, it’s not a substitute for professional help. If your dog’s separation anxiety is severe, consult a veterinarian or a certified dog behaviorist for guidance.
Play the music according to your dog’s response.
It’s essential to experiment with different types of music to see what works best for your dog. You can create a playlist of different genres and observe your dog’s behavior to see which ones have a calming effect. You can also play different types of music at different times of the day to see if your dog responds better to certain types of music in the morning, afternoon, or evening.
Can Music Eradicate a Dog’s Separation Anxiety?
Music can be a valuable tool in helping dogs with separation anxiety, but it’s not a cure-all. It’s crucial to combine music therapy with other treatment options, such as training and behavior modification, to help your dog overcome separation anxiety. You can use music to create a calming environment for your dog while you’re away, but it’s important to address the root cause of the anxiety and work on building your dog’s confidence and independence.
In addition to choosing the right type of music, there are other factors to consider when using music therapy for dogs with separation anxiety. You should consider the volume and duration of the music, as playing music too loudly or for too long can have the opposite effect and increase anxiety levels. You should also ensure that your dog has access to water, food, and a comfortable resting place while you’re away.
How Will You Know if Your Dog Does Not Enjoy Music?
Dogs can communicate their discomfort or displeasure in a variety of ways. If your dog does not like the music, it may show signs of agitation, restlessness, or discomfort. Some dogs may bark, whine, or howl in response to music that they do not enjoy, while others may become destructive or attempt to escape. If your dog is exhibiting these behaviors when music is playing, it may be a sign that they are not enjoying the music or that it is causing them distress.
Music therapy can be a useful tool in managing separation anxiety in dogs. Studies have shown that playing calming music, such as classical music or soft rock, can have a positive effect on dogs in a shelter environment. However, it’s prime to note the type of music played, volume, and tempo are crucial factors in achieving the desired effect.
If your dog is dealing with anxiety near Matthews, NC contact our team at Caring Hearts Animal Hospital. Our team is Fear Free Certified and AHAA accredited. Make an appointment for your dog by calling us at (704) 893-2799 or by scheduling an appointment online.