Lonely pets left in the house while their owners are at work will be able to turn to personalised "pet playlists" and podcasts for dogs to keep them company.
An academic from the University of Glasgow has worked with music streaming service Spotify to create the personalised lists, which take into account an animal's personality and characteristics to keep pets company while their owners are out.
Each "pet playlist" includes approximately 30 tracks based on the listener’s preferences - including upbeat music for energetic dogs or slower tempos for shy cats. Meanwhile, ‘My Dog’s Favourite Podcast’ has been created in partnership with animal experts and features a mix of soothing music, dog-directed speech and original sound design "to provide comfort and help alleviate stress" for dogs who are temporarily home alone.
Over half of UK dog owners say they leave their dogs at home by themselves between one and five hours due to work and other commitments, while nearly three quarters of pet owners claim that audio sound helps to soothe and calm their pets at home.
The first hour of each podcast block has "dog-directed praise, stories, affirmation messages and reassurance", narrated by Game of Thrones actor Ralph Ineson and Call the Midwife star Jessica Raine, to help the dog relax as the owner leaves the house.
Neil Evans, pet physiologist and professor at University of Glasgow, who consulted on the project, said: “While there is a lot of scientific research that has shown that short periods of music can make dogs more relaxed we have shown that providing dogs with varied auditory enrichment can be used to reduce stress and anxiety over longer periods of time.
"When dogs have appropriate auditory enrichment they may bark less, lie down and sleep more and their body’s are in a more relaxed physiological state. We worked with the Spotify team on the development of My Dog’s Favourite Podcast, advising on the types of music, sounds and speech to be included based on the ability of auditory enrichment to benefit dog welfare.”
Olga Puzanova, head of consumer marketing for the UK and Ireland for Spotify, said: “Humans love music for so many reasons, including the comfort and companionship it can provide when you need it most - and now we know that pet-owners appreciate their pets’ music fandom.
"Spotify’s research shows that 74 per cent of pet owners in the UK play music for their pets, 76 per cent believe their pets like music and most pet owners think music can help pets relieve stress, boost their happiness and keep them company.”