Do dogs like music? If you’re a dog owner, you have likely looked at your dog and asked yourself this very question.
We know dogs are intelligent, but studies are still ongoing as to just how intelligent they truly are.
The more we explore the brains of our canine counterparts, the more we a learn about how they think and their emotional and cognitive level.
And just how much we have in common with them!
But do dogs enjoy all the same things we do?
We definitely know they love food, walks, and playtime.
But what about TV? Or what about music?
Do Dogs Listen to Music?
Do you remember the first time you left your puppy at home alone? I do!
The guilt drove me to leave the television on and turned to Animal Planet with the hope my new pup would feel less alone and less frightened while I was out.
Whether my ploy worked or not is hard to say since I couldn’t simply ask her once I got back if she enjoyed the shows or not.
But I can say that on the days I left the home quiet, my pup seemed a bit more stressed when I got home.
This got me wondering. If the sound of television on in the background could help my dog to stay calm while I was away, could music do the same?
Furthermore, does my dog have a preference as to the kind of music I play?
If you’re like me and are curious about your dog’s taste in music, keep reading. In this article, we are going to answer this often pondered question—do dogs like music?
Do Dogs Enjoy Music?
Perhaps the unsurprising answer to this question is yes! Dogs do enjoy music. And not only do they enjoy it, they have musical preferences unique to their own personalities!
Just like humans, certain types of music can calm your dog while other music can hype them up.
In fact, according to an article by Canine Corner’s Stanley Coren, dogs even have a sense of pitch and enjoy “singing”.
Although their idea of hitting a musical note may be much different to ours.
Wolves, for example, howl deliberately at a pitch different to that of other wolves. By ensuring they are not in tune, their voices stand out.
And dogs are known to howl in the same way.
In fact, the music that induces the most howling seems to be music ripe with wind instruments such as flutes, according to Dr. Coren.
Here is a video of a dog howling along to one such instrument, much to the delight of his giggling family members!
Do dogs like music? It seems they do!
So now that we know dogs like music, how can we tell what kind of music our dogs like?
How Can You Tell What Kind of Music Your Dog Likes?
Do dogs like all types of music? The Answer is a resounding no.
It’s no secret that music can affect our mood, and the same goes for our dogs. But what kind of music do dogs like?
A study conducted by Deborah Wells, a psychologist at Queen’s University, Belfast effectively showed that dogs behave differently when exposed to different genres of music.
In the study, shelter dogs who listened to heavy metal or grunge music began barking and showing signs of agitation.
On the other hand, when classical music was played, their moods shifted and they were much calmer and more relaxed.
However, when the dogs were exposed to pop music like Britney Spears or played recordings of humans talking to one another, they had little to no reaction at all.
So, if you’re looking at your dog for cues as to whether or not they are enjoying the music you’re playing, look for signs of relaxation.
Since studies have shown almost conclusively that most dogs enjoy classical music, that’s your safest bet.
If you want your dog to simply relax and feel good, try playing him some Beethoven or Mozart.
Here is a beautiful Husky enjoying (and singing along) to Bach.
Is Classical Music Good for My Dog?
Yes. As we’ve gathered from the above, classical music is considered soothing music for dogs.
Of course, when we are talking about relaxing music for dogs, some classical songs may be a bit too lively. Use your better judgment when choosing songs for your dogs.
Songs that make you feel jittery or anxious or a little hyped up will likely have the same effect on your furry best friend.
When choosing calming music for dogs, choose songs that are slower and softer. Here is a playlist with some lovely classical music for dogs to help them sleep.
Can Music Help Your Dog’s Anxiety?
Have you ever found that when you’re anxious, a good song can help relieve your stress?
The same is true for your dog.
Stress in dogs can be caused by many things including long periods of time alone when you’re away at work, thunderstorms, firecrackers, and more.
My own dog shows anxiety when I’m getting ready to leave the house or when she realizes it’s bath time.
Or even when the carbon monoxide detector beeps to tell me it’s time to change the battery.
During these times, I like to incorporate a little bit of soft music to help her relax and to show her she is safe.
Here’s my favorite anti-anxiety playlist for dogs, designed to help reduce your dog’s stress levels.
Can Some Music Be Harmful to Dogs?
When asking “do dogs like music?” it is just important to ask, “can music hurt my dog?”
Just as some music can improve your dog’s mood, other types of music can have a negative effect on them.
One study by Deborah Wells showed that dogs who listened to loud, chaotic music like grunge or heavy metal displayed signs of agitation, stress, exhaustion, and anxiety.
Exposing your dog too long periods of music that causes him stress and anxiety can have a harmful effect on him and even cause aggression and depression.
When choosing music for your dog, use your better judgment and remember, the calmer the better.
Is Howling During Music A Sign That My Dog is in Pain?
It’s true that a dog’s ears are more sensitive than our own, but you shouldn’t worry too much if you are listening to dog-approved music at an appropriate volume and your dog begins to howl.
Whereas you may think that howling is a sign of pain, sadness, and agitation in a dog, that’s not always true.
As we mentioned above, a dog howling may simply be your pooch trying to “sing along”.
However, if your dog begins to bark and starts looking agitated or a little amped up, your music choice may be too hyper for him and may be causing them anxiety.
In this instance, it’s best to turn the music down or even off.
How Loud is Too Loud When Playing Music for My Dog?
While there isn’t much in the way of scientific evidence that loud music is harmful to your dog’s ears, dogs do have extremely sensitive ears.
This means they can hear at higher frequencies than we can, so when you listen to music with your dog around, it’s important to remember this.
If the music is too loud—even soft classical music your dog is sure to love—it may be harmful to their hearing and could cause them unnecessary stress.
Always play music at a comfortable level and if it seems loud to you, it’s probably even louder for Fido.
Finally, Here’s a List of Dog-Approved Music
Since we now know that dogs and music go hand-in-hand, we should let them indulge!
There are many sources online where you can find specialized music for your dog. If you’re looking for music to reduce your dog’s anxiety, try these:
If you are looking for music to help your dog sleep, try these:
And last but not least, check out this fun compilation of dogs listening (and singing along) to music!
Does your dog like listening to music? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
References and Further Reading
Wells DL, Graham L, and Hepper PG. 2002. The Influence of Auditory Stimulation on the Behaviour of Dogs Housed in a Rescue Shelter. Animal Welfare.
Boone A and Quelch V. 2003. Effects of Harp Music Therapy on Canine Patients in the Veterinary Hospital Setting. The Harp Therapy Journal.
Kogan LR, Schoenfeld-Tacher R, and Simon AA. 2012. Behavioral Effects of Auditory Stimulation on Kenneled Dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
Bowman A et al. 2015. ‘Four Seasons’ in an Animal Rescue Centre; Classical Music Reduces Environmental Stress in Kennelled Dogs. Physiology & Behavior.
Wells DL. 2004. A Review of Environmental Enrichment for Kenneled Dogs, Canis Familiaris. Applied Animal Behaviour Science.