Does your pet enjoy your sweet beats as much as you do? We’re glad you asked. Here’s everything you need to know to answer the question: can dogs hear music?
A great playlist can turn your day around by the time the bridge is over. Our special moments are often accompanied by the song playing in the background. Music is arguably the most powerful way that humans express themselves. So, it’s normal to wonder: is my pet listening along?
Do they hate your music? Do they love it? Is it hurting their ears? These are the questions that keep pet lovers up at night. But guess what? The wandering eases up here and now because we have done the research for our fellow pet parents:
Yes, dogs and cats do hear music! Whether or not they enjoy it is entirely up to the genre, pitch, and animal.
Cats and dogs’ ears are not the same as human ears. That’s why we pay attention when we see our dog’s ears prick or when we see our cat’s hair stand on end. Humans with normal to good hearing can hear frequencies as high as 20,000 hertz. Anything higher than that and we can’t hear a thing.
On the flip side, animals can hear much higher frequencies. In terms of distance, dogs can hear sounds at a distance that is four times what humans can hear. Dogs are also able to hear frequencies as high as 40,000 hertz.
If you think that’s a high pitch, you’ll be amazed to know that cats are able to hear frequencies as high as 64,000 hertz.
Can dogs hear music?
Scientists have found that dogs are able to discern between different pitches. That means they can recognise and respond to different notes in speech and in music.
Dogs communicate with one another via sound. We can trace this back to their history of travelling in packs, both living and hunting together. It’s one of the many things that drew humans and hounds together – our mutual ability to vocalise different pitches and tones to communicate.
Dogs are also able to match pitches – which we can hear when you listen to a pack of wild dogs or wolves. Packs can hit the same note together to communicate a singular message (location, hunting strategy, danger etc.)
Dog music preferences
There have been plenty of studies done on dog music preferences. An interesting one to read is by Stanley Coren on whether or not dogs have musical sense. Scientists have researched how dogs react to different genres by monitoring their physical reactions when the music is played.
These reactions indicate if certain genres evoke any sort of behaviour from the dogs. It was noted that dogs become agitated and restless listening to heavy metal. You’ll notice if a dog is agitated by the music being played if they pace the room or bark often.
What music makes dogs most relaxed? Classical music and, funnily enough, reggae.
Can cats hear music?
This may or may not come as a shock, but cats… don’t really care. That’s kind of their whole brand, yes?
Cats can hear music, but they’re quite ambivalent about the whole thing. It’s been tricky for researchers to pin down if there’s a genre cats are pleased by. The general finding was that the only thing that bothered them about music was volume. Considering how sensitive their hearing is, that makes perfect sense.
Felines aren’t pack-oriented like dogs are. They don’t use noise to communicate with other cats, which is why they don’t respond to music as viscerally as dogs do.
Read more: 8 Strange Cat Behaviours and Their Meaning
Music for pets
Pets respond well to music they can hear themselves in. This doesn’t necessarily mean hearing meows and barks, but hearing tones that they usually make.
For dogs, lower notes and slower tempo makes them feel relaxed. Cats respond well to higher tones – think harps and flutes. Luckily for us, there are musicians out there that are working to create music just for your pets.
Your pet is an individual. They have their own quirks and preferences, and you’ll get to know them over time. Be considerate of them when you’re playing loud music and be aware of their behaviour around certain sounds.
If you see them become nervous and wriggly, they’re probably not enjoying it very much and you can move them into another room. If they seem chilled out, feel free to continue the jam sesh.
If it seems like your pet has become more sensitive to sounds in general, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet for a checkup to make sure there aren’t any problems with their ears. We also recommend getting Oneplan Pet Insurance if you’re looking for a way to spend less on vet bills (and get paid BEFORE you see the vet!)
Yours in Not-so-average Pet Advice,
The Petinsurance.co.za Team