Is listening to classical music beneficial to kennelled dogs?

24 June 2019 – News

Rescue and rehoming environments or holiday kennels can be a stressful environment for the dogs staying in them so a study was conducted to explore whether auditory stimulation could be a useful tool in reducing this stress.

This study aimed to determine the effects of playing classical music to 50 dogs living in a rehoming centre for a week. The authors divided the animals in two groups.  Each was exposed to a week of silence and a week (6.5 hours a day) of classical music. The changes in their heart rate, behaviour and salivary cortisol levels were then analyzed.

Changes noted in cardiac parameters associated with lower stress were more pronounced in males and during the afternoon (following feeding, walking and socialization). Classical music was shown to have a positive influence, resulting in a reduction of vocalisation and an increase in the amount of time the dogs spent lying/sitting. Salivary cortisol measurements were not significant.

The effects were similar in cases whether the ‘music week’ followed or preceded the ‘silent week’.  However, the effects tended to reduce during the week, suggesting that the use of repeated music playlists could lead to habituation.

It would be interesting to investigate other forms of auditory stimulation and to explore whether using different playlists could prevent habituation.

Bowman, et al., ‘Four Seasons’ in an animal rescue centre; classical music reduces environmental stress in kennelled dogs, Physiol Behav (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.02.035