A study conducted for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has found that playing classical music to dogs in re-homing centres seems to have a calming effect on them.
The researchers picked two groups of dogs. The first group was kept in silence, and the second group had classical music played in their kennels. After a week, the conditions were swapped to if this would make any difference.
The dogs who had been listening to classical music were found to have significantly lower stress levels than the control group. This information was found by monitoring the dogs’ heart rates, analysing saliva samples and observing their behaviour.
While the difference was most pronounced in male dogs, both sexes spent less time standing and barking when they had been listening to the music. However, the effects of the music appeared to be temporary, with behaviour returning to normal in as little as a day.
It has been suggested that the dogs may become acclimatised to the sound, and begin to tune it out. It is possible that the pooches may enjoy a variety of music, just like humans.
Despite this, the Scottish SPCA's education and research manager, Gilly Mendes Ferreira, described the results as “very encouraging”.
She explained: “The average length of stay for a dog in our care can range from one to three weeks for small dogs and pedigrees, while larger breeds can remain with us up to six months and some breeds over a year.”
"We want to make each dog's time with us as comfortable as possible and this research is at the very forefront of animal welfare.”
The research was carried out by Ms Ferreira, along with Glasgow University PhD student Amy Bowman. The SPCA will now consider how best to use this discovery to benefit the dogs in their care.
The SPCA now hopes to conduct further studies to see how dogs react to other genres of music.
Written by: Hannah