by Bonney Brown
You only need to hear a few chords to recognize a favorite song and in seconds the tones can transport you to a different time or place—producing emotions far removed from what you were thinking about just moments before. Music can be calming or stimulating for us and some experts even feel that music has health benefits. Research has demonstrated that music, virtually any kind, stimulates growth in plants. So it is no surprise that animals may benefit from music, too.
Humans tend to like music that falls within our vocal range and with a tempo similar to that of our heartbeats. Most people tend to consider music outside these parameters to be grating.
Charles Snowdon, an animal psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has done research into the musical preferences of animals says that they prefer “species-specific music” with tones and tempos that are familiar to them.
Dogs and cats hear a broader range of sounds than we do especially higher pitched sounds. Their heart rates, at least for smaller animals, tend to be faster than ours.
Snowdon has worked with cellist and composer David Teie to create music to suit the preferences of animals. Their Music for Cats, which you can listen to online, is designed to appeal to felines based on their resting heart rate and the natural range for cat vocalizations. There is other cat music available too; most of it seems to incorporate sounds of nature or purring with classical music.
Through a Dog’s Ear is one of the companies producing music for dogs. Based on classical music, including selections from Bach and Vivaldi adjusted for a dog’s hearing range and heart rate, it has been shown to have calming effects on dogs in animal shelters and vet clinics as well as home environments. They offer special music collections designed to sooth senior dogs and to calm dogs that are stressed by car rides.
There are many samples of music for pets that you can listen to online with your dog or cat. I have enjoyed watching animals respond to it and the music seems to have a nice relaxing effect on humans, too. So the next time you and your furry friend are feeling a little stressed, you might both enjoy kicking back for a little easy listening.
Events that Help Homeless Pets
Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption Drive aims to find homes for 1,200 orphaned pets by the end of the year. Adoption fees at Nevada Humane Society are $45 for adult dogs, $10 for adult cats and $30 for kittens. Open 7 days a week for pet adoptions at 2925 Longley Lane, Reno.