dog in car

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Expert reveals the best — and worst — doggy playlists to keep your anxious pet pooch relaxed on long rides

LONDON – If your dog gets stressed on long car rides, don’t worry, just put on some Bee Gees! Researchers are sharing the 10 most calming songs for dogs, with the 1977 hit “’How Deep is Your Love” topping the charts.

It turns out two in three dog owners say their furry friends gets stressed out while traveling. That’s bad news for the 75 percent planning to take their pet on a staycation this year, with 72 percent of these dog owners traveling by car.

Luckily, Sam Sutton, senior lecturer of music at the University of West London, has compiled the perfect playlist to soothe your dog’s nerves in the car. Also making the list are Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry,” Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I’ll Do It for You,” and Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

“A recent research study from the University of Glasgow suggests music can indeed affect dogs’ behavior,” Sutton says in a statement. “Dogs were exposed to a variety of sounds and styles to assess physiological and behavioral changes. The interesting thing they witnessed was that dogs displayed positive behavioral changes when exposed to certain music types. Reggae and soft rock appear to have been the canine tunes of choice.

“Perhaps the combination of pristine studio production and pleasing sound aesthetics contribute to what makes the dog’s playlist of choice,” the lecturer suggests. “Reggae is often associated with sunshine and chilling out, so perhaps this type of soothing emotional response is shared with our canine companions.”

Sutton worked with hotel booking platform justhooit to create the dog-friendly playlist.

Not every song is pet-friendly

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 dog owners also found that 68 percent are tuned-in to what their dogs are feeling, saying they’re aware that certain types of music stress them out. Only 28 percent had no idea music could upset a dog.

With that in mind, Sutton also created a list of songs to avoid while traveling with a dog. This includes ACDC’s “Back In Black,” Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” and Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.”

“Since a dog’s hearing range is wider than the human’s, you may want to avoid any music with whistling as this could trigger their natural sense of response and curiosity,” Sutton says.

“It is heart-warming to see 81 percent of dog owners would change their in-car listening habits to ensure their furry friends don’t go barking mad on the motorways if caught in traffic jams,” adds Adrian Murdock from justhooit.

Get your anxious dog ready for long car rides

The poll also found that 36 percent of dog owners can’t identify the signs of stress and anxiety in their furry friend when they’re traveling. Another 26 percent admit they didn’t know stress can actually make their dog sick by weakening their immune system.

Thankfully, Blue Cross behaviorist Becky Skyrme has some top tips to get any dog ready to hit the road stress-free.

“Becoming familiar with car travel from the earliest possible age will really help them to learn that cat travel is a normal everyday event. For slightly older dogs, or for dogs that are worried about travel, there are lots of other things you can do,” Skyrme says.

“Some dogs experience motion sickness and this can be greatly helped by speaking to your vet. Otherwise, it’s all about helping your dog to feel safe, secure and comfortable in the part of the car they will be traveling in,” the behaviorist continues.

“To begin with, start with a stationary car. Use their favorite things to reward them for jumping in and out, and then start to build up the time they spend inside the car. Then progress to going on short journeys that end in something really positive happening, like a favorite game, fun walk or receiving a tasty food treat.”

“This will help your dog to build a positive association between car travel and their favorite things. If the problem persists always seek help from your vet or a qualified behaviorist,” Skyrme explains.

Top 10 calming songs to play your dog while travelling:

  1. “How Deep Is Your Love” – Bee Gees
  2. “No Woman No Cry” – Bob Marley
  3. “(Everything I Do) I’ll Do It for You” – Bryan Adams
  4. “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner
  5. “Dark Side of The Moon” – Pink Floyd
  6. “One In 10” – UB40
  7. “Hounds of Love” – Kate Bush
  8. “Desperado” – The Eagles
  9. “Many Rivers to Cross” – Jimmy Cliff
  10. “Love is King” – Sade

Top 10 worst songs to play to calm your dog while travelling:

  1. “Black Dog” – Led Zeppelin
  2. “Back In Black” – ACDC
  3. “Paranoid” – Black Sabbath
  4. “Chop Suey!” – System Of A Down
  5. “Duality” – Slipknot
  6. “Enter Sandman” – Metallica
  7. “Smoke on the Water” – Deep Purple
  8. “Runnin’ with the Devil” – Van Halen
  9. “Ace of Spades” – Motörhead
  10. “Master of Puppets” – Metallica

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. Cheyenne says:

    Dark Side of the Moon is an album, not a song.

    1. Retief says:

      That was my first thought too – I’m guessing they meant Brain Damage.

  2. Vendicar Decarian says:

    Other than the “Dark side of the moon”, it appears that Dogs have very poor taste in music.

    Perhaps they would prefer Trance or Techno, or maybe some Juno Reactor.

    1. Jillibean says:

      My dogs prefer Yiruma and Jim Brickman and Andre Gagnon and Mike Strickland and Lois Line and Emile Pandolfi. Their soft music chills them out. 🙂

  3. Kelly Renskers says:

    My dogs calm down when I play classical music. They don’t like opera or horns. But seem to get restless when a rock station starts that my husband likes. lol

    1. Vendicar Decarian says:

      Dump the husband.

  4. Bruce says:

    The best music to play animals AND people is BING CROSBY… is like MEDICINE.

    And also classical will calm down unruly children in a car as well as animals.

    Have never heard of any of those weird, anti-musical songs. Try going back to the standards, those are what is best.

  5. Brian B says:

    HA HA, B.S. My Wienerschnitzel would tear their ears off on this list. When i leave the house to keep them calm i have PBS Kids on, so put a tv in back and stream it. My Cockatiel did love Macy Grays voice and would cat-call her every time she would sing. Thank you Macy it made it so much easier on our move.

  6. dammitt says:

    Where do they stand on yacht rock?

    1. Vendicar Decarian says:

      Knot yacht rock.

  7. Laura says:

    They would most likely prefer soft classical music, but today’s wildly undereducated population would probably never consider that.

  8. Eileen McKenna says:

    I used to leave music playing for my dog when I had to go out. But I read that dogs prefer the sounds of human voices, so now I leave the TV on PBS.