How Music Can Help a Nervous Cat or Dog

How Music Can Help a Nervous Cat or Dog

Like humans, cats and dogs have fears and anxieties that can cause physical reactions and stress; chewing, urinating and defecating, along with destruction and pacing. How you decide to calm your dog will depend on the situation. Thunder claps, garbage trucks, trips to the veterinarian and strangers can cause your dog to be anxious, scared or excitable. Sometimes anxiety is from being in a shelter for a long time, or earlier trauma, like abuse and abandonment.

The most common cat anxiety issues include:

  • Confinement anxiety – Dogs often get anxious when they feel confined or trapped. This is because they may be unable to flee whenever they feel threatened.
  • Separation anxiety -This is a very common and serious problem. It can lead to nervous behaviors such as destruction and pacing.
  • Noise anxiety – Most of the time, this will be obvious. Your dog is clearly frightened of a loud sound like thunder or firework boom.
  • Travel anxiety – A car to a dog is like a den. However, a dog is unaccustomed to a moving den. Consequently, they may become stressed and unsure of something unexpected and new.

Common Anxiety Symptoms to Watch for in a Dog

Admittedly, anxiety in a dog can manifest in a myriad of ways. To understand if your dog’s behavior is anxiety related, look no further:

  • Chewing up shoes, walls, furniture, garbage and anything else in sight,
  • Excessive howling and barking,
  • Aggression towards other animals or people,
  • Peeing and pooping in the house,
  • Eating his poop,
  • Solitude or hiding
  • Panting and shaking.

Dog owners often ask if music can help calm nervous dogs the same way it can relax people. Well, the answer is yes and it can also help cats as well.  Just changing his or her mood with the right music can relax him enough to fall asleep and rest without ruining your home in the process. While behavior modification and training is essential, calming modalities like music therapy can also help with anxiety issues.

Enter, Music Therapy

Undoubtedly, music therapy is known to be very effective in humans, and it is now thought that animals, especially dogs, can also reap the benefits of music. Calming music can help reduce respiration rates, heart rate and eventually reduce anxiety, bringing about calm and peace. Most people leave their radio on all day in hopes it will help their dogs’ battle their loneliness and keep them entertained. What they don’t know is that dogs understand music differently than we do. Dogs hear at a higher frequency than people do and process audio differently. The most effective kind of music consists of lower tones and slow speeds, and also consistently slowing the tempo can help increase the effects.

Play Classical Music

Studies have shown that most classical music pieces help calm dogs down. Playing classical music when you notice anxiety symptoms in your dog can help reduce extreme stress and anxiety and destructive behavior, especially when incorporated with other useful modalities like flower essence. Even better, associating a classical music piece with a calming experience, such as reiki and massage, can trigger an intensified effect when music is played later.

Playing Music While Brushing Your Dog

Body work such as acupuncture, Reiki, or even massage is among the most useful modalities for calming fearful or anxious pets. Something as simple as Massaging your dog gently with a brush from head to tail in long slow, gentle strokes relaxes and soothes the dog’s muscles. Even better, it works like a charm when incorporated with music therapy. However, it is important to ensure you are using a high-quality brush that is specially made to wash away loose and shedding hair from dogs, and with technology to reduce falling hair on the floor.

dog slicker brush

When it comes to what kind of brush to use, we always recommend using a dog or cat slicker brush as it can serve for both large and small sized pets. Ideally, it comes with additional features including a groomer and shampooer.   Slickers are also perfect for loosening and de-tangling dead undercoat, and spreading essential oils for high luster and shine.


Music therapy is a very useful modality for calming your dog and usually helps with a variety of situations. Being a conscientious and responsible dog owner requires you to put pet wellness into practice and keep abreast of any changes in your dog. Most importantly, be aware of changes in the behavior of any kind to be addressed and sourced to the root of the problem.

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