With humans, music therapy can help with physical rehabilitation, increase motivation, and provide support. Did you know that music can actually be therapeutic for dogs as well? There is an entire field of science—called bioacoustics—that studies how animals perceive sound. What have they learned about music and dogs? Keep reading to find out.
Super Sensitive Hearing
Dogs can hear sounds more than twice as well as humans can. The human ear can detect sounds up to 20,000 Hz. Dogs, on the other hand, can hear sounds up to 65,000 Hz. While this makes them much more sensitive to certain noises, it can also help them relax from soothing sounds like music. Imagine if you could hear the noise of the world even more than you already do. Traffic, appliances, or even the television quickly transition from background noise to overwhelming sound pollution. This is how your dog lives their life, but luckily researchers have found that certain kinds of music can help. Whether you are trying to drown out noise or you want to help your pup calm down, music therapy is a great option for dogs.
The Type of Music Matters
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the kind of music you play for a dog can elicit different responses. Something with aggressive tones and instruments like heavy metal music can actually increase anxiety. Researchers have found, however, that selections of classical music can calm a dog down. When exposed to classical music, many dogs started breathing slower and staying in one place instead of pacing. Dogs listening to classical music often barked less than they did before the exposure. In general, researchers found that simple music with basic rhythms and long notes had the most calming effect on dogs. Reggae and soft rock have also had positive results. While some dogs like anything with a beat (and might even sing along), most canines prefer soothing options.
Music for Therapy
Researchers have also found ways to use music as therapy for dogs. Certain music can be used to:
- Stimulate a positive immune response (for both tissue repair and to fight infection)
- Improve a dog’s nervous system
- Soothe anxiety
- Help with car sickness
- Reduce aggression in dogs
- Help cure illness
Variety is Key
Just like we do, dogs tend to tune out sounds they hear all the time, which means it’s not enough to create one canine playlist to use forever. If you have a very anxious pup, you might want to use tools like Spotify’s Pet Playlist. If your dog only gets nervous when going to the vet or meeting someone new, however, music can be therapeutic for dogs in helping with these specific scenarios. You can also use music to help your dog sleep better, or just add some brightness to his day.
At Union Lake Pet Services, we are always looking for new ways to offer the best care to your pets. From doggie daycare to training, we promise to treat your pets like they’re part of our own family. To learn more about our services or to get your pet signed up, please call (248) 363-6262.