3 November 2022, 16:35
Thunderstorms, fireworks, bright lights and loud noises, can be very scary for animals. Thankfully, research suggests that classical music can help.
Did you know, dogs are capable of hearing sounds up to four times as far away as humans can hear them? It’s no wonder, then, that fireworks, thunderstorms, and other loud noises can cause dogs, cats, and other pets so much stress.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help your pet handle the hustle and bustle of Bonfire Night – backed up by scientific research.
Ahead of Classic FM’s Pet Classics, our presenter Charlotte Hawkins spoke to RSPCA Chief Inspector Clare Dew about the best ways to keep pets calm during firework displays, from playing them classical music to setting up their own cosy corner at home.
Read more: How to keep your pets safe this firework season, according to the RSPCA
One of Clare’s recommendations is to desensitise pets ahead of time by playing them music – specifically, classical music without words.
“It drowns out the noise of the fireworks and gives the animals something else to concentrate on”, she told Classic FM. “Music, particularly classical music without words, is one of the best things to keep anything calm.”
Clare’s advice is backed up by several studies. A study by Colorado scientists in 2012 looked at the effect of playing different genres of music to dogs in kennels, while their owners were away. Those who listened to classical music spent more time sleeping, and less time barking, howling and crying, than dogs that were played other genres.
In more recent years, research by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also backed up the claim that classical music lowers stress levels, and, in 2022, researchers at Queen’s University Belfast also discovered that dogs settled down sooner when listening to classical music, compared to audiobooks.
Read more: Dogs find classical music more calming than audiobooks, research reveals
Speaking to Charlotte for Classic FM, Clare Dew shared some extra tips for keeping your pet as calm as possible, adding: “My own rescue dog Frank struggles at this time of year, and he finds it reassuring to know we are there at home with him.”
Charlotte’s own dog also loves to chill out with Pet Classics, as she says: “I’ve seen first-hand from my dog just how difficult a time it can be for pets during the fireworks, but it’s amazing the difference relaxing music can have in helping to calm and soothe animals”.
But don’t just take our word for it. Take a look at how chilled out this pup was last year…