Using Music to Calm an Anxious Dog

Using music to calm an anxious dog has proven to be as as effective as it is for humans. It reduces blood pressure and stress.

Many dogs suffer from anxiety.  Some breeds are more prone to the condition, but many have developed high levels of anxiety or separation anxiety through circumstances in their living conditions. Many rescues have experienced abuse by a previous owner. Others have become fearful of noises or sudden movements through their experiences while living on the street.  Using music to calm an anxious dog has proven to be very effective. 

Using music to calm an anxious dog has proven to be as as effective as it is for humans. It reduces blood pressure and stress.

When I adopted my rescue dog, Zorro, he had spent his very young life in and abusive situation.  When he was only a few months old, he was rescued and sent to stay with a foster mom until a sponsor was found to bring him to Canada. The foster mom spent three months caring for Zorro.  She was an excellent source of information when he was transitioning to his new life in my home. She explained that he did not do well in the crate, so she would use spa music to help him to calm down when she had to leave him.  This information has come in very handy a number of times since we brought him home two years ago.

Be Aware of what Causes Your Dog’s Anxiety

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Although he was a very happy guy, there were some definite signs of anxiety in a number of situations.  Separation anxiety was one of the most difficult challenges for him.  The three people in my home worked on a variety of schedules and, because of this, Zorro was rarely alone for more than an hour or two.

When we would leave him, he would bark and cry. We purchased a Furbo Dog Camera so that we could see what was upsetting him, but there was nothing unusual.  He would face the door and howl or bark, pace the floor and start again.  The Furbo notified us when he was barking.  This allowed us to speak to him from wherever we were.  This helped him a lot, but we wanted to prevent the anxiety as opposed to calming it.  We began leaving the radio on for him and saw a big change in his stress levels.

Music Masks Environmental Noise

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Zorro, like many other dogs, struggles with sounds from lawn mowers, snow blowers, construction tools and, of course, fireworks. We always leave the radio or TV on for him so he doesn’t feel alone. The “white noise” effect reduces his exposure to outside activity. The music or conversation from the television provide a familiar and soothing distraction.

Music is Not Just a Distraction for Dogs

It has been proven that music reduces stress in humans, and it has the same effect for dogs.  The flow of the music helps to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.  The physical response on the body encourages both mental and physical relaxation.  Your dog’s body will relax, taking down or eliminating the levels of anxiety. 

What Kind of Music is Best to Calm Your Dog

Just like people, your dog may respond to one type of music more than another.  It is a personal preference.  In most cases, classical music is recommended.  The light, flowing consistency of classical music seems to have a more soothing effect than something with a rapid or loud beat.  

We witnessed an immediate reaction to spa music with Zorro. We were on a road trip to the east coast for our family vacation.  Zorro loves the car and has travelled this road before, but something out of the ordinary happened on this trip.  We had been driving, and of course taking breaks, for about 9 hours, when Zorro became very agitated.

We had been listening to music along the way, so we tried turning it off for a few minutes. Our thought was that we were disturbing his sleep.  As it was 3:00 am we thought we may have been disrupting his sleep routine.  He was still unhappy.  We stopped and took him for a walk to stretch his legs and pee, and we offered some food and water.  He seemed fine after about 20 minutes, so we got back into the car.  He immediately began whining and turning around in his spot.

Remembering that his foster mom would use spa music to calm him, my daughter searched her song lists, found some spa music and we put it on for him.  It was like magic.  He stopped whining, turned around three times in his seat, curled up and went to sleep.  It was actually an incredible thing to watch.

Since then, whenever Zorro shows any sign of stress, we pull out the spa playlist or turn on the spa music channel on the TV. This either calms him immediately or significantly reduces his stress levels.

A Musician has Written a Song to Calm Anxious Dogs

A musician by the name of Garrett Charles Nash (Gnash) who rescued a dog with significant anxiety issues, researched the music theory to help his dog.  He found that certain rhythms helped dogs to settle down.  He has written a song called A Song for Daisy to help his dog that has been used in shelters to soothe dogs that suffer with anxiety issues. The song is 15 minutes long and incorporates a simple melody with a lot of repetition.

His work, along with my own experiences with my rescue dog, has proven that music therapy can significantly reduce a dog’s stress and anxiety levels.

Should your dog have difficulty with separation anxiety, noise reactivity or maybe she is always stressed, music therapy may be a good place to start. 

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