Raise the Woof! Dogs prefer upbeat Christmas songs

Wondering what your dog's favourite Christmas song is? A Guide Dogs survey of 1,000 pet dog owners across the UK has found that dogs’ favourite Christmas songs are ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!, Jingle Bells, and ‘All I Want for Christmas’ by Mariah Carey.

These choices come as dog owners say that upbeat songs are most popular with their dogs (22%), proving more popular than songs that are quiet (18%), instrumental (14%), or slow (14%). 

The study found 90% of owners said their dogs like music, although what they get from music can vary. In line with their music taste they’re most likely to be energetic - wagging their tail, or generally being excitable. However, some also appear calm or fall asleep.

Such positive reactions have led more than a third of dog owners (47%) to admit they play music to suit to their dogs’ musical preferences at least once a week all year round. And in fact, they’re 33% more likely to prioritise their dog’s taste in music over their parents’ and 23% more likely than their friends’.

But this isn’t just for fun, with a quarter of dog owners (25%) claiming that music is helpful to keep their dog calm or comfortable. This is significant as a third (34%) say their home is busier and louder at Christmas time and a further 26% that their dog’s routine changes over Christmas. 

We can see from the poll that music can bring out fun moments for dog and owner to share, so take a look at our top 10 list and let us know your favourites this Christmas.
Dr Helen Whiteside, Chief Scientific Officer at Guide Dogs

Top 10 Christmas songs for dogs

  • Last Christmas, Wham! (10%)
  • Jingle Bells (9%)
  • All I Want for Christmas, Mariah Carey (6%)
  • Driving Home for Christmas, Chris Rea (6%)
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, Wizzard (6%)
  • Merry Christmas Everybody, Slade (6%)
  • Silent Night (6%)
  • Fairytale of New York, The Pogues (6%)
  • It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Michael Bublé (6%)
  • A Wonderful Christmas Time, Paul McCartney (5%)

It isn’t just Christmas songs that get dogs in the groove though. Dog owners say their furry friends enjoy pop (20%), classical (15%) and reggae (9%) too.

Chief Scientific Officer at Guide dogs, Dr Helen Whiteside, comments on the findings: “As we look forward to spending the festive period with friends and loved ones, this Christmas will be a step change for an entire generation of new dogs born during lockdown. Houses are likely to be busier than normal and many dogs’ routines will change. 

“Music is often used to calm dogs in times of change and stress, so it is unsurprising that it will play a key role for dogs this Christmas. But also we can see from the poll that music can bring out fun moments for dog and owner to share, so take a look at our top 10 list and let us know your favourites this Christmas.”

Advice for playing music around your dog

Whatever you are up to this festive period, Guide Dogs shares some top tips for dog owners wanting to play music this Christmas:

Start off at a low volume

Dogs have super sensitive hearing so while you’re trying to work out what dogs like, play at a low volume. Dog owners will likely know cues from their dog’s behaviour that means they’re happy but falling asleep to music can be just as good a review as them dancing or wagging their tail

Play something familiar at times of change

As this poll tells us, homes at Christmas are likely to be louder and busier. And in addition to this, routines such as when they go for a walk or eat a meal can change if on the move. At these times, it can be helpful to play a song that your dog is familiar with

Play music in the car too

The festive period can include travel and for many dogs, this can cause nausea or sickness. Distractions such as music can reduce these feelings for dogs

Show how the music makes you feel

Dogs respond to how their owners feel. If they see that you are happy and enjoying music, or finding it calming, they are likely to reflect that in their own behaviour and emotions

Don’t just play music when the dog is home alone

As we’ve seen, many dog owners like to play music when out of the house to keep the dog company. It’s important that this isn’t the only time music is played, however, or the dog will associate music with you leaving the house.

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