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Anti Anxiety Rx: Music

This morning I was talking with one of my customers whose dog experiences separation anxiety. I had many suggestions for “Teddy” one of them was calming music.


Many years ago, in our pet store we sold music cd’s for pets called the I calmPet product line that cat and dog specific music collections. Whenever I play my piano (typically classical music) there is always an audience. Cats, dogs and horses prefer hearing longer, sustained notes rather than staccato, short notes. In other words, they’d rather hear Bach's Minuet in G (one of the most well known lullabies) rather than Symphony #9 Allegro by Dvorak.

After a bit of research I found that many shelter facilities use calming music daily. In fact, some shelters have a "quiet hour.” Research by Lori Kogan, licensed psychologist at Colorado State University in Ft Collins demonstrated that during a four month trial 117 shelter dogs were played different types of music for 45 minutes followed by 15 minutes of silence. It was noted that the dogs barked less, slept more and were more relaxed when hearing soothing, classical music rather than jarring music.

A holistic veterinarian, Dr Pamela Fisher of North Canton, Ohio founded Rescue Animal Mp 3 project. She shares free music loaded on Mp 3 players to almost 1400 shelters in the United States. That’s about 150,000 homeless animals that are able to relax a bit more in an extremely unsettling environment!


Dogs most dominant sense is their sense of smell which is 20x more than humans and then their hearing is their second strongest sense with a range of of hearing of 67 HZ - 64,000 HZ. Human’s hearing range is much less at 20Hz-20,000HZ. Conversely, cats most dominant sense is their sense of vision and then their sense of smell which is 14x stronger than ours. Felines also hear more subtleties than humans with a range of 45 HZ- 64,000 HZ. Because we don’t hear as well as our pets do loud music, fireworks, and thunder have a greater impact on their more sensitive audiology. Also since dogs and cats are able to control the independent movement of their ears they can move their ear towards a sound thus hearing it better. Pure tones and sustained notes have a calming effect on the nervous system. When animals are relaxed and content they are healthier and happier.

The next time you take your pet to the vet, introduce a new furry or human to your family, a loved one passes, or even “move" please play some relaxing, classical music for your furries they’ll appreciate you and their nervous system will too.


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