The ultimate calming road trip playlist… for dogs

Some dogs love car journeys, but others are less pleased as passengers. Luckily, one academic has produced a calming road trip playlist just for dogs

Some dogs love car journeys. You know the type: tongue hanging out, bright eyes staring at the world whizzing by, occasionally (though inadvisably) popping their head out of the window.

Others, however, are less happy travellers, which can be an issue for any pet parent wishing to get more than a few miles from their home. But there’s help at hand. A professor in the UK has come up with a calming playlist for dogs – and it’s all backed by science.

Who let the dogs out?

Sam Sutton, a senior lecturer in music at the University of West London, created the playlist – available here on Spotify – using findings by the University of Glasgow. The four-hour playlist, called Desert Island Dogs, features 57 tracks and includes some all-time classics from the likes of Bob Marley, Elton John, Journey, Fleetwood Mac, and Kate Bush.

“[The findings] suggests music can indeed affect dogs' behaviour,” he said. “Dogs were exposed to a variety of sounds and styles to assess physiological and behavioural changes. The interesting thing they witnessed was that dogs displayed positive behavioural 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.

“Reggae is often associated with sunshine and chilling out, so perhaps this type of soothing emotional response is shared with our canine companions.”

Hounds of hell

While these tunes will soothe any pent-up pooch passengers, others can have the opposite effect. As a guide, Sutton also produced a list of tracks that are likely to stress your dog out. In a savage blow to metaller pet parents, it includes the likes of Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Motörhead.

Of course, if your dog is stressed out by car journeys (or the sound of Ozzy Osbourne's voice), you can see your vet about it. Not only do many pet insurance policies cover the fees for that visit, but also any behavioral therapies the vet might recommend – although this probably won't stretch to vacation in Jamaica for you and your pup.

Here are Sutton’s top 10 songs for the calming road trip playlist for dogs – and 10 you really need to avoid if you don’t want an anxious animal in your vehicle.

Top 10 calming songs to play to your dog while travelling

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