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Effect of different types of classical music played at a veterinary hospital on dog behavior and owner satisfaction

Whitney J. Engler DVM1 and Melissa Bain DVM, MS2
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  • 1 School of Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the effect of different types of classical music played during a veterinary visit on dog behavior and owner satisfaction.

DESIGN Prospective randomized controlled study.

ANIMALS 74 dogs examined at a veterinary teaching hospital.

PROCEDURES Dogs examined for a wellness visit, presurgical health evaluation, or nonurgent illness were exposed to 1 of 3 treatments (modified classical music, the same music in its original format, and no music [control]) while in the examination room. Owners completed a standardized survey regarding the dog's behavior and their satisfaction with the visit. Clinicians completed a separate standardized survey regarding the dog's behavior. Information regarding monetary charges, procedures performed, diagnoses, and physiologic variables was obtained from the electronic medical record after the appointment.

RESULTS Owners rated their dog's anxiety level in the waiting room greater than that in the examination room regardless of treatment. Mean anxiety and aggression scores of dogs during the physical examination as rated by owners were significantly greater than those assigned by clinicians. Visit satisfaction for owners exposed to original classical music was significantly greater than that for owners not exposed to music.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested placing a pet and its owner into an examination room instead of a waiting room immediately after clinic arrival may ameliorate pet anxiety during the veterinary visit. Playing classical music at a low volume can be a simple and cost-effective way to improve owner satisfaction with the veterinary visit. Further research is necessary to determine the effects of music on pet anxiety.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the effect of different types of classical music played during a veterinary visit on dog behavior and owner satisfaction.

DESIGN Prospective randomized controlled study.

ANIMALS 74 dogs examined at a veterinary teaching hospital.

PROCEDURES Dogs examined for a wellness visit, presurgical health evaluation, or nonurgent illness were exposed to 1 of 3 treatments (modified classical music, the same music in its original format, and no music [control]) while in the examination room. Owners completed a standardized survey regarding the dog's behavior and their satisfaction with the visit. Clinicians completed a separate standardized survey regarding the dog's behavior. Information regarding monetary charges, procedures performed, diagnoses, and physiologic variables was obtained from the electronic medical record after the appointment.

RESULTS Owners rated their dog's anxiety level in the waiting room greater than that in the examination room regardless of treatment. Mean anxiety and aggression scores of dogs during the physical examination as rated by owners were significantly greater than those assigned by clinicians. Visit satisfaction for owners exposed to original classical music was significantly greater than that for owners not exposed to music.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested placing a pet and its owner into an examination room instead of a waiting room immediately after clinic arrival may ameliorate pet anxiety during the veterinary visit. Playing classical music at a low volume can be a simple and cost-effective way to improve owner satisfaction with the veterinary visit. Further research is necessary to determine the effects of music on pet anxiety.

Contributor Notes

†Deceased.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bain (mjbain@ucdavis.edu).