It is scientifically proven that classical music can have a relaxing effect on the human body, slowing the pulse rate, lowering blood pressure and decreasing stress levels. But can the same be said for our dogs?

With over 8.5 million dogs living with us in our homes, that’s the question which inspired EUKANUBA to team up with composer, Iain Jackson to create an original classical score, performed by a ten-piece string orchestra, and assess the impact the music had on the dogs’ stress and anxiety levels.

Commenting on how he approached developing the score, composer, Iain Jackson said: “There were two key elements in writing this piece of music for the dogs. Firstly, we wanted to create something that would have a calming effect and help to relax dogs. And secondly, we wanted to tell the story of a dog’s life from puppy into junior, adulthood, then as they mature and become a senior dog.

“We wanted the music to demonstrate the building blocks of each individual life stage, representing a dog’s nature, personality and overall wellbeing, whilst also celebrating the companionship that we share with our dogs. This acted as our blueprint for developing the score, telling a true ‘Dog’s Tale’.”

I was slightly apprehensive that all of the new experiences we were introducing the dogs to could cause them to be slightly stressed in an environment that we wanted to be calming. But it was the complete opposite

To demonstrate the impact, the music was played to a focus group of dogs of all life stages, across a variety of breeds, including a three-month-old Lhasa Apso puppy. Introducing the dogs to unusual looking instruments, in an unfamiliar environment, with new people and dogs they hadn’t met before, could have been overwhelming, which is why the results are incredibly surprising and impressive.

EUKANUBA’s Veterinary Training Manager, Kellie Ceccarelli, was on hand to monitor the dogs’ reactions and assess their pulse rates, ensuring that they were calm and not stressed. Each of the seven dogs had their pulse rates taken before entering the studio to set a benchmark of their relaxed state and then again after listening to the piece of music. Each dog’s pulse rate lowered, with an average 22 per cent reduction across the group, demonstrating that classical music can in fact have the same calming effect on dogs as it does on humans.

We now know that classical music has a real impact and really could help dogs and owners to live life well together

Discussing the results, Kellie said, “I was slightly apprehensive that all of the new experiences we were introducing the dogs to could cause them to be slightly stressed in an environment that we wanted to be calming. But it was the complete opposite. They were calm, relaxed and quickly settled on the beds with many of the dogs falling asleep. And to see an average reduction of 22 per cent in their pulse rates was really quite staggering.

“One of the best parts for me was the effect the music seemed to have on both the owners and the dogs together, it almost seemed to strengthen the relationship between them. This is not something we anticipated, and it was very emotional to experience.

“At Eukanuba, we want to help people to live a long, healthy life with their dogs, and we now know that classical music has a real impact and really could help dogs and owners to live life well together.”

With such positive initial results, ‘A Dog’s Tale’ by Eukanuba organised a debut performance at Crufts – with Iain leading the ten-piece string orchestra in a bid to gently relax and calm the dogs attending the event from all over the world. To download the track, visit www.SoundCloud.com/EukanubaUK or watch the creative process as documented by EUKANUBA by visiting https://vimeo.com/258770525

This is a guest essay by Kellie Ceccarelli. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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