listening to music with cat.

Want your boxer to bark less or your Maine Coone to mellow out? Then steer clear of Metallica and opt for Bach. Pet music preferences vary from species to species and even depend upon each individual pet’s personality, but most studies show that classical music is the way to go if you’re hoping to set a relaxing mood or ease your pet’s separation anxiety. But if your cat or dog could customize their own playlist, what would they choose? 

In this blog, our team at Arlington Animal Hospital takes a closer look at pets and music, including the behavioral effects of music on animals. 

Do Pets Enjoy Music?

The short answer is “that depends.” Although it’s nearly impossible to determine whether or not pets “like” music, more and more studies are being performed to identify the behavioral effects of music on animals. Both dogs and cats can have a positive animal response to music, depending upon the genre. 

Easy listening, classical, and new-age music can help induce feelings of calmness in pets. And cats find soft classical music layered with nature-inspired sounds, such as purring or suckling, even more relaxing. 

The opposite can be said for animal response to music that is loaded with loud, heavy bass sounds and distorted guitars like heavy metal. This type of music causes higher levels of anxiety in pets.

Musical Enrichment for Pets

Musical enrichment for pets contributes to a pet’s overall health and wellbeing by reducing anxiety, alleviating feelings of boredom, and even by masking other sounds in the house that may be disturbing your pet. Plus, calmer pets sleep better, and better sleep boosts brain health and immunity. But not all sounds are music to a pet’s ears. 

Here are some tips for creating optimal musical enrichment for pets:

  • Services like iCalmPet take the guesswork out of creating pet-appropriate playlists for things like car rides, fireworks, and veterinary visits
  • Spotify offers a tool that helps you create a playlist based on your pet’s personality. 
  • YouTube offers numerous channels with soothing sounds for cats and dogs.
  • Create your own playlists with classical music, reggae, and soft rock for a dog; and choose classical music mixed with nature sounds for your feline friends.
  • Let the music play when you’re home, too, so your pet doesn’t associate music with being left alone.
  • Rotate your playlists because pets can become conditioned to sounds they hear every day. 

Don’t Pump Up the Volume

A dog can hear the same noise from 80 feet away that we can hear only if we are 20 feet away. And cats, with their ability to pivot their ears nearly 180 degrees, can detect sounds up to four to five times further away than we can. Because our pets excel at hearing, keep any music volume low.

Pets and Music Definitely Mix!

When it comes to pets and music, playing the right sounds at the right volume can be music to your pet’s ears. To learn more about pet music preferences or to schedule a visit, please call us at (703) 920-5300.