It’s true. Dogs experience anxiety and apprehension, just like people do. This phenomenon becomes more pronounced in new situations such as moving to a new home, introducing a new family member (human or animal) or even just a disruption in the normal ebb and flow of the day.
The normal symptoms of anxiety in dogs includes excessive barking, whining, pacing, circling, panting, drooling and other obsessive-type behaviors. Dogs can also exhibit stress by either overeating or not eating at all. Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea will accompany other stress behaviors as well. In some dogs, these symptoms are generally mild and cause no real damage to either your property or to your dog physically, but in some cases, these behaviors can be significantly destructive.
Anxiety in dogs can be effectively treated with the use of medication, however most medications approved for treating anxiety in dogs are simply sedatives which can leave your dog lethargic and can have some serious side effects. However, there have been several studies conducted in both the United States and in Europe that have shown that music, especially classical and harp music, can significantly reduce stress in your dog without the harmful side effects of medication.
This research has shown that humans and dogs alike experience a physiological change when listening to these types of music, affecting our brains, heart rate, blood pressure and more. As a matter of fact, these studies have proven that listening to at least thirty minutes of slow, rhythmic melodies like those produced by a piano or harp has the same effect as taking a 10 mg Valium.
What’s even better is that you can produce the same results whether the music is live or replayed through a CD player. This means that you can place a CD in a player at a low volume on repeat and calm a dog with separation anxiety all day long without the negative side effects of medication! This technique is much more desirable than leaving a radio or TV on all day for background noise since research has shown that some rhythms have the opposite effect on dogs. This technique allows you to control what your dog hears in order to gain the greatest level of calming.