Monday, March 1, 2010
By Linda Cole
Music is an important part of our lives. We listen to a wide variety of tunes both in the home and away. I know Mozart or Brahms works great for a pet that is afraid of thunderstorms, but what about all those other times when we have the radio or stereo blaring with our favorite music? Does it upset our pets or do they like listening to the music we play?
My mom had a dog who loved singing along with certain commercials on TV. He even had a favorite one. Every time he heard it, he would race into the living room and sit in front of the TV so he could sing to his heart's content. He was also afraid of thunderstorms, and the 4th of July was no picnic for him. Mom decided to tape his favorite commercial along with a variety of others he liked and started playing them during thunderstorms to help relax him. We discovered he had a particular musician that he seemed to like and those songs were added to his special tape. Thunderstorms and fireworks still made him uncomfortable, but listening to his favorite music made both bearable.
Pets do seem to like listening to music, as long as it's non-threatening to them. If we keep the volume down, most pets enjoy listening to a soft mellow tune. Some even enjoy songs with a lively beat. Music can be a great therapy option for pets who are fearful. Classical music works the best as long as it's calm with no sudden crescendos or loud, rapid beating of drums in the background. Heavy metal gets a paws down from pets, because this type of music hurts their ears and is upsetting to them. Most pets will leave a room if the music is too loud and irritating to their ears.
Animal shelters are discovering how well pets like listening to music and have started playing soft tunes in their kennels to help dogs and cats relax. The music helps pets by reducing their anxiety and puts them in a more relaxed state of mind. Fearful dogs or cats are more likely to allow shelter workers to pet them when music is playing in the background. Veterinarians are learning that music can have a positive effect on pets after surgery while they are recuperating.
If you have a dog or cat who has separation anxiety, is fearful or afraid of thunderstorms or spends their day barking at everything they see from their perch in front of a window, try leaving a radio on and tuned to a classical station while you are away. The volume doesn't need to be turned up so the music can be heard everywhere in the house. That way, if the pet doesn't feel like listening to music, they can go to another room to get away from it. Many pet stores carry recordings made specifically for pets with tunes that are relaxing and pleasing to any dog or cat who likes to listen to music.
Music has a way of calming us down after a stressful day at work or a day shopping at the mall. It works much the same way on our pets. They can be just as stressed out by all the commotion going on in our lives as we are. Because they hear at a higher frequency than we do, all the noise we hear is amplified in the ears of our pets. Households may have one or more TVs on, with kids playing video games that have sounds of things crashing, things being blown up and sirens blaring. Let's face it – most video games are not quiet. Pets can go from one room to another only to find loud noises that can upset them more than we realize.
Not all pets like listening to music, though. Some seem to ignore it completely while others swish their tail back and forth as if they are searching for the beat. Some pets do have a preference when it comes to certain musicians or types of music. I listen to a wide variety of music and prefer something that is soft and mellow. My pets do seem to have their favorites as long as I don't have the volume cranked up so the neighbors can hear it, which also makes my neighbors happy. You can't go wrong with good music, relaxed dogs and happy neighbors.
Read more articles by Linda Cole