Spotify has pawfect news that will be music to your pet’s ears. The streaming service has introduced personalised pet playlists designed to match the mood and characteristics described by owners with some of their own music tastes.
Users can generate a playlist for a dog, cat, iguana, hamster or bird, and use sliders to determine features such as how energetic, friendly and curious they are. An algorithm will then choose tracks the person likes which align closely with their pet’s traits, so music can be enjoyed together.
Neil Evans, a pet physiologist and professor at the University of Glasgow, said: “While there is a lot of scientific research that has shown that short periods of music can make dogs more relaxed, we have shown that providing dogs with varied auditory enrichment can be used to reduce stress and anxiety over longer periods of time.
“When dogs have appropriate auditory enrichment they may bark less, lie down and sleep more, and their body’s are in a more relaxed physiological state.”
Read more about pets:
According to a survey of 3,000 pet owners who stream music in the UK, around three-quarters say they already play tunes to their animals and believe they love listening to music.
The platform has also created a new podcast for lonely dogs designed to keep them calm when their owner is away from home, called My Dog’s Favourite Podcast. Each episode features dog-directed praise, stories, affirmation messages and reassurance, with the soothing voices of Ralph Ineson and Jessica Raine.
Dr Samantha Gaines, RSPCA dog welfare expert, said: “While nothing can ever replace the company and presence of a dog’s two-legged friend, research is increasingly showing the effect of music on dog behaviour.
“The type of music a dog listens to is important and research has shown that some music can help dogs relax while other types may have a less beneficial effect so it’s really great Spotify have curated and produced music with dogs in mind.”
Reader Q&A: Is stroking good for pets?
Asked by: Michelle Rayner, Liverpool
Yes. Stroking is the equivalent of grooming and grooming is the way that cats, dogs, monkeys, and many other animals maintain their relationships and care for each other. They enjoy it, as well as being a means to keep clean.
But – and it’s a big ‘but’ – grooming has to be consensual. Animals approach each other cautiously, gaining permission to groom or asking to be groomed. We have to do the same.
If you hate being touched in the wrong way by a stranger or by someone you dislike, then you can imagine how a dog or cat might feel if unexpectedly stroked.
A recent study measured levels of stress hormones in cats and found that the most stressed were cats that didn’t like being stroked but still tolerated it. The results were widely misinterpreted as meaning you shouldn’t stroke your cat, but this was not what the study showed. Lots of cats love being stroked. The real lesson is that stroking is an intimate activity and pet owners need to treat it that way.