Dogs find classical music more calming than audiobooks, research reveals

23 August 2022, 14:46 | Updated: 25 October 2022, 17:10

Classical music can help calm your dogs faster, according to new research.
Classical music can help calm your dogs faster, according to new research. Picture: Alamy

By Siena Linton

Researchers played Mozart to 82 dogs to help them stay calm when left alone. Here’s what they found...

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As many a pet owner will know, separation anxiety can be a real problem for pet and parent alike.

In fact, researchers at Seoul National University noted that separation anxiety in dogs accounts for around 10 to 20 percent of cases that canine behavioural experts deal with, rising to as much as 50 percent in older dogs.

It’s no wonder, then, that researchers are keen to find the best ways to keep our furry friends calm when they’re home alone.

In a new study by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, dogs benefitted from the calming sound of classical music more than the human voice (via an audiobook), or silence.

Listen on Global Player: Music for Pets – uninterrupted calming classical playlist

A dog watches a busker playing violin.
A dog watches a busker playing violin. Picture: Alamy

In the study, 82 dogs of a variety of breeds were left unattended in a university office – with their owners’ consent – and were played either Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos, or an audiobook of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Included in the number was also a ‘control group’ of dogs who weren’t played anything at all.

The study found that, while no soundtrack seemed to reduce the pets’ initial stress after their owner left, the choice of background noise did have an effect on how quickly they calmed down.

Read more: Broadway violinist plays classical music for rescue dogs recovering from abuse

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According to the researchers, “dogs exposed to classical music were significantly faster to lie down than animals in the audiobook and control conditions”.

They also ‘settled’ sooner, which the study defined as lying down for longer than 30 seconds.

The study also took note of how long the dogs spent looking at the speaker. The dogs who listened to the audiobook gazed at the speaker for the longest, but it was noted that there was no evidence that audiobooks actually improved their welfare.

So next time you have to leave your beloved pet, why not leave them in the company of some calming classical music?

Help your pets to stay calm with our specially selected classical music playlist – Music for Pets on Global Player.