Pet sounds: why your dog loves listening to Bob Marley

It starts with an elegiac sweep of strings, softly playing in a minor key, before chirruping into birdsong, and then back to ambient strings. This continues for 12 hours.

To the untrained ear, this may sound like one of the sleep playlists that have gained popularity in recent years, but the human ear is not the intended audience for this music – it is for dogs. For embedded within this relaxing (or maddening) muzak are canine-friendly frequencies to help reduce stress or separation anxiety.

Far from being a novelty, dog-oriented music is fast becoming a successful new genre, with the production company RelaxMyDog at the forefront of the trend. Founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Amman Ahmed and producer Ricardo Henriquez, the service reaches an audience of 10 million users a month: 600 years’ worth of their content was streamed in September alone.

With the fireworks season of Bonfire Night, Diwali and Thanksgiving upon us, this is RelaxMyDog’s busiest time of year. Ahmed, 31, describes the idea behind the company: “There are a lot of medications and herbal remedies to calm pets, but I wanted to make something that was 100% natural, through music. We started with a team of two but now we’re 12 people staffed in Manchester in the UK, El Salvador and India, and our audience is equally global. This year, we’re on track for our content to help around 15 million pets.”

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 2/11/18]