The relaxing virtues of music in humans are well known. Music calms humans and improves their living comfort and health. Music also has benefits for animals, be it our pets but also farm animals, laboratory animals, wild animals living in zoos, etc.
What are the effects of music on humans?
Music influences the secretion of hormones and the nervous system. Music is particularly involved in stress reduction and at welfare.
The effects of music vary depending on the individuals and the music played. The effects are greater in women. It is important to take into account the musical preferences of people to fully enjoy the benefits of music.
Studies have shown that music is particularly useful during exams, lowering students’ heart rates and anxiety. Music can also improve the quality of sleep as well as mood, etc.
Music has benefits for sick people (epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain, etc.). Music is also used for therapeutic purposes: we talk about music therapy.
Music can be used by healthcare professionals (hospitals, clinics, medical offices) to soothe patients and medical staff whether in the waiting room, surgery room, recovery room, during hospitalization… In this case, we preferentially use soft music and relaxing.
And in animals?
The animals are very sensitive to their environment, this influences their behaviour that their health : temperature, size of living space, noise, etc.
As in humans, music presents anxiolytic effects in most animals. High intensity sound is, however, a source of stress for animals.
Animals also seem to have musical preferences. It is advisable to preferentially use a relaxing background music which covers other noises that could be stressful for animals. In dogs, it seems that it is better to use classical music to soothe them, other types of music would on the contrary tend to make them bark (heavy metal). Regarding cats, a study was interested in the music to which they are most sensitive. It seems that they prefer music specially composed for them based on the tempos of purring and the sound emitted by the little ones during breastfeeding, two soothing situations for cats.
To enjoy the benefits of music, it must be broadcast several hours a day To animals.
Music can be very useful first of all for dogs and cats suffering from separation anxiety. Owners can try to play music while they are away to reduce the anxiety of their animals. Do not hesitate to read our sheet on separation anxiety in dogs for more details.
As in humans, playing music is also beneficial in veterinary clinics, whether in the waiting room, the consultation room, during hospitalization or during surgery. Music soothes both animals and their owners. Veterinarians and veterinary assistants will also be more relaxed.
The effects of music are also very useful for animals living in shelters. A study was conducted by an American behaviorist on the effect of music on dogs in shelters. Dogs have been shown to be calmer when listening to classical music and therefore more apt to be adopted than more restless dogs.
In livestock, music would not only relax the animals but also improve their zootechnical performance (increased laying in laying hens, milk production in dairy cows, etc.).
Music also seems to have positive effects on laboratory animals, wild animals living in captivity in zoos, etc.