Music therapy for pets


Music can be highly effective in managing a wide range of issues, including motion sickness, anxiety/ separation anxiety, fear of loud noises (eg, thunder, fireworks), excessive barking, and age-related issues in our pets.  

Music (sound) therapy works through vibration. The cells in all living things are constantly vibrating. The frequency and amplitude of the vibration determine the ‘health’ of the cell. Pets (and their humans) hear sound not just with the ears, but with the entire body-mind complex. The sound travels around and through the body, transferring vibrational energy to every cell in the body. This vibrational energy can be used by the body to correct or balance vibrational dissonance that causes motion sickness or anxiety, for example. In contrast, some types of vibrational energy (ie, music or sound) can add to the dissonance, thus worsening the anxiety.

Research has demonstrated that specific types of music can improve anxiety issues such as excessive barking, car sickness, or fear of separation or loud noises. A total of 15 common anxiety issues were tested in these studies. In one study, classical music had a marked soothing effect on dogs in animal shelters when compared to other types of auditory stimulation, such as heavy metal music.

In the second study, various types of classical music were tested to determine their effect on dog behavior at home or in a kennel. Researchers found that differences in instrumentation and tempo of the music produced markedly different results. Solo instruments, slower tempos, and less complex arrangements had the greatest calming effect. These effects are similar to those seen in humans. You can read more about this research at

Think about the type of music being played by the groomer, daycare, boarding kennel or vet and the impact it might have on your pet. Is it possible that the music you play on the car radio is increasing the risk that your pet will be car sick?  Music developed to address various types of pet anxiety is available and can be easily found by searching the internet. ( ; ;

If you have any doubt about the power of music/sound, consider how your own mood changes when you listen to different types of music or how the behavior of a crowd listening to heavy metal music differs from that of a crowd listening to jazz. Notice how your heart rate increases with an increase in the tempo of a tune and decreases when the tempo slows. How you react when you hear a siren, a 21-gun salute, a crying baby, a whimpering dog, laughter. Recall how some music can put a smile on your face or bring you to tears for reasons you can’t explain. Consider the evidence showing that music of the proper genre can have dramatic effects on the elderly in nursing homes, improving their ability to communicate and move about. (To view the documentary Alive Inside, go to )

There is no doubt that music can change things deep inside you that you didn’t know were there. And, the same is true for your pet.


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