cat cuddling while listening to headphones.

In general, our pets are happy when we’re happy, and they often enjoy sharing our interests, whether that’s hiking, swimming, or relaxing on that cozy couch. But what about streaming your favorite singer’s new album or playing a tried and true vinyl record from your favorite band?

Can pets actually enjoy music?

Decrease the Decibels

Well, first of all, our pets won’t enjoy what causes them pain or fear. So, keep the volume and bass levels low enough to protect your dog’s or cat’s ears (and yours!). Also, bear in mind that if sirens, bangs, and thunderclaps lead to anxiety, then avoid the tracks with those types of sound effects when your pets are around.

And if that trap beat or heavy metal guitar solo gets you amped or hyper, remember that our pets may be affected by our energy, so you may want to stick to easier listening – or at least choose tunes that lower your stress.

That’s My Jam!

So what genres of music can have good behavioral effects on our animals? Can we actually provide musical enrichment for our pets?

It may not surprise you to learn that both dogs and cats seem to prefer sounds of all kinds that they can actually relate to. Animal response to music may be more positive with tones, pitches, and tempos that make sense to the world they know.

Strike the Correct Kitty Chords

Researchers have found that cat music preferences contain sounds that match “their own vocalizations” or “mimic purrs, bird chirps and even nursing suckling sounds.” As it turns out, the music that cats purr-fer may not be what we consider “music,” exactly. Smithsonian Magazine has a sample “song” that seems to appeal to felines based on how test subject kitties “purred, rubbed against speakers and oriented their head toward the music.” It includes a soft pulse that is undeniably like a cat’s purr!

It’s a Barky Bop!

Dog vocalizations vary pretty widely, so it’s not always about finding a perfect matching pitch for them. But what we do know, according to a Queen’s University Belfast study is:

50 shelter dogs were exposed to five types of audio: human conversation, classical music, heavy metal, pop, and a control. The result? Dogs behaved differently in response to different types of music. They were likely to spend more time resting when exposed to classical and more time barking when exposed to heavy metal (which probably can be said for humans too).

It appears that pooch music preferences lean toward the type that soothes. So if you’re not into classical yourself, maybe you and your pup can enjoy smooth reggae, jazz, blues, soft rock, or Motown together.

Music that Sets the Right Mood

If you want to share your Spot-ify or Am-meow-zon Music with your pets, it’s probably best to aim for genres that tend to soothe, lower anxiety, and lead to relaxation. According to a  “study published in The Journal of Veterinary Behavior, researchers discovered…that classical music helps dogs to relax but heavy metal music caused signs of nervousness and agitation.” That heavy metal vibe is probably not what you’re going for with your dog or cat!

Your pets really don’t need a pump-me-up playlist. Play time with their families should do the trick to put pets in a fun and energetic mood! And when it’s time to chill out, you can enjoy some moderate melodies together.

If you have questions about decreasing pet stress and strengthening your bonds, please feel free to reach out to us by phone at (704) 334‑4684 or via our website.