When Pets Like Music, What Should You Play?

Music plays a huge role in our lives. Indeed, humans grow up singing at school, during sporting events, in the shower, or listening to the radio in the car. Aside from your lucky family and friends, who else gets to enjoy your vocal stylings? Your pet, of course!

While your furry counterpart may not be singing harmonies of their own, they are commonly exposed to them, which begs the question: do pets like music?

It’s Science!

Scottish researchers recently created a six-hour playlist representing five different genres and played it for a group of shelter dogs. While the pups listened to classical songs, soft rock, reggae, pop, and Motown music, their heart rates, cortisol levels, and behaviors were continually measured over the course of several days.

At the conclusion of the study, the results were mixed. While the dogs seemed to be most relaxed during the reggae and soft rock tracks, they each showed a general leaning toward their own musical preferences.

While classical music was previously the go-to for stressed out shelter dogs, this research showed responses to the genre that ranged from restlessness to boredom. At the other end of the spectrum, grunge music and heavy-metal genres promoted feelings of hostility, tension, fatigue, and even sadness.

It’s Personal

Pets like music, but it can also help them if they suffer from separation anxiety or other behavioral issues. Also, soft music is essential to calming scared or confused pets during fireworks or thunderstorms.

We recommend playing something in the background to distract your pet from frightening stimuli. White noise or recorded nature sounds can also be helpful when soothing a worried pet.

On the Level

We use certain frequencies when we create music (or at least appreciate music with personally appealing frequencies). Pets may not always feel the same way about the frequencies that we like to hear. For example, humans hear sounds that range from 20-23 kHz. Dogs, on the other hand, can hear up to 40-60 kHz, and cats can hear 45-64 kHz – ranges that are far too high for humans.

In other words, pets have species-specific musical tastes that center on pitches, tones, and tempos that are not only familiar, but are hardwired into their DNA.

While human music drifts into unrecognizable zones for them, music composed especially for cats and dogs uses much higher frequencies and beats similar to their own heart rates (which are, of course, much faster than ours).

Pets Like Music!

Since every pet is different, conducting your own research on this subject might be useful. Provide your pet with a variety of music genres to listen to and gauge their reaction to each.

Many pet owners leave music on for their pets when they leave the house. It seems an appropriate way to reassure them that their people will eventually return. However, this may not be necessary (unless you absolutely know your pet’s specific musical preference). Otherwise, due to the way your pet processes sound, most human music won’t register in the same way it does for us.

If you have additional questions about whether pets like music, please let us know. The team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates is always here for you!