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Music, Dogs and Mental Health Relief - The Pets Larder A Natural Pet Shop

Music, Dogs and Mental Health Relief

This week the charity Mind has marked Mental Health Awareness Week to raise awareness and money to let people know that there is help out there, to deal with their mental health issues, when they need it. And many of us might just be feeling the pressure of late, with the cost of living crisis, war in Europe, the climate crisis and many other things making life feel just that little bit more difficult lately.  

Although there is definitely no panacea for dealing with any of one’s mental health issues, a common and research-proven method of reducing the effects of stress and anxiety, two of the most common forms of mental health afflictions with up to 8% of the population suffering in any one week, is to let a little more music into our lives. There have been many studies on the positive effects of music on our well-being, including a 2019 study published by the Canadian Centre of Science and Education which showed that university students who listened to classical music every day for two months showed a significant reduction in their anxiety levels. 

Just like humans, dogs can experience stress and anxiety in their lives. Whether it's caused by separation anxiety, loud noises, or unfamiliar environments, these feelings can have a significant impact on their overall well-being. Fortunately, the one powerful tool that can help us deal with our anxiety can also soothe their troubled souls too. In this blog post, we'll explore the remarkable benefits of using music as a stress and anxiety reliever for dogs, that can provide us pet owners with a simple yet effective way to bring a little harmony into our furry friends' lives.

A Very Relaxed Dog.

The Best Music For Your Dogs To Relax To

As we all know Music has a profound effect on our emotions, and the same holds true for our canine companions. When dogs are exposed to calming melodies and gentle rhythms, it triggers a relaxation response in their bodies. Research conducted by the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow suggests that reggae and soft rock were the most effective genres for reducing the stress levels and heart rates of our canine companions. The old trope that “dogs prefer classical music” surprisingly didn't reign true in this study, with dogs initially responding well to it but becoming bored after a few days. Sounds a lot like some of my classes at music school!!

The head of research for the SPCA, Gilly Mendes Ferreira, has speculated that the preference for reggae and soft rock is linked to the rhythms having a similarity to their own heart rate. “When a puppy is feeling stressed it will snuggle into its mother and use her heartbeat as relaxation, so this music mimics that”.

The SPCA also took their research one step further by collaborating with legendary pop songwriter John McLaughlin to produce the album Paws, Play, Relax, a record designed especially for dogs with proceeds going to help the SPCA.

Dog With Headphones on

Do Dogs Really Appreciate Music?

There is an awful lot of owner-led feedback available within the music-for-dogs realm to support the hypothesis that dogs appreciate music. RelaxMyDog is a whole production company dedicated to making music for dogs, with over 1.3 million youtube subscribers and over 50,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and with this comes a huge amount of user data. RelaxMyDog seems to have had success with a more ambient style of music, focusing on classical-inspired soundscapes and melodies. Despite what some research says this style seems to be working well for them, with some videos on their channel topping 40 million views alongside tens of thousands of positive comments, supporting the fact that their music helps to relax their dogs, to boot. That many dogs and owners can’t be wrong, surely!

Dogs, Music and Us

RelaxMyDog also thinks it is important for the owner to enjoy the music and be relaxed by it too, “if the human is relaxed, that energy can be projected onto the dog also”.

Music also has the incredible power to deepen the emotional bond between us humans and our canine companions. When we play music for our dogs, it creates a shared experience that can strengthen our connection. Sitting together and enjoying calming melodies or engaging in interactive play while music is playing helps create positive associations. This shared experience helps to alleviate stress and anxiety by providing comfort and reassurance for both humans and dogs alike. After all, what could be better than having a lovely cuddle with our dog whilst relaxing to some of our favourite tunes?

Dog Owner and Dog Enjoying Music

So, if you have a dog that seems a little wound up or is hopeless when you leave the house, why not try some tunes to keep their stress levels low and the vibes as relaxing as they can be? The Pets Larder playlists will be available to stream soon so keep an eye out on our socials and on Spotify for them.

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