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Do Dogs Like ASMR? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ

Written by: Kathryn Copeland

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

golden retriever dog lying on the floor

Do Dogs Like ASMR? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ

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If you are not familiar with ASMR, you’re not alone. While millions of people experience it, not everyone does. You might have heard that it is deeply relaxing and helps people sleep. If it can be so beneficial for humans, does it also work on dogs? Unfortunately, since responses to the practice are varied, even among humans, no one is sure if dogs like ASMR or not, though it’s certainly possible.

In this article, we explain what ASMR is, how it works, and whether it can be effective for your dog.

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What Exactly Is ASMR?

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response.1 It’s a sensation characterized by a tingling feeling but is also described as a static or goosebumps sensation. It tends to start on the scalp and move down to the back of the neck and sometimes the spine and limbs.

This tingling sensation is brought on by various sounds, visuals, and touch. Different people respond to different triggers, but common stimuli for ASMR include:

  • Whispering
  • Slow movements
  • Tapping and typing sounds
  • Massages
  • Hair cuts
  • Hair brushing
  • Eye contact
  • Personal attention
  • Light patterns
  • Chewing
  • Humming
  • Crunching sounds
  • Applying makeup
  • Folding paper
  • Slowly turning a page
  • Scratching sounds
  • Squishing sounds

People seek out these stimuli because they are calming and pleasurable, and ASMR is even said to help with sleep, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.

dog lying on couch
Image Credit: el-ka, Shutterstock

Does ASMR Work?

It is difficult to determine whether ASMR works because not everyone responds to the same stimuli. For example, while some people find whispering relaxing, others don’t experience any effect.

A 2015 study was the first to investigate the subject,2 and a 2018 study found that ASMR does seem to provide certain therapeutic benefits for some individuals’ physical and mental health.3 Participants’ heart rates slowed while watching an ASMR video and this is also seen to be the case when other reliable relaxation methods are used.

But the reason behind ASMR and why it only affects certain people is still relatively unknown. Since people respond differently to various stimuli, studying ASMR is challenging. Additionally, there haven’t been enough studies conducted on the subject to date.

Do Dogs Respond to ASMR?

If some people benefit from ASMR, you might think that some dogs will too. However, while there have been a few studies on human subjects and ASMR, no studies have examined whether canines respond to ASMR in the same way that humans do. This means there’s no scientific evidence to determine that dogs will respond to ASMR, so it’s just conjecture.

Dogs feel emotions like we do, but their brains aren’t exactly the same as ours. Until there have been studies on canines, we can’t know if a dog can experience ASMR tingles in response to a specific trigger.

 

The 6 Ways You Can Help Calm Your Dog

ASMR may or may not be a thing for dogs, but there are a few known methods that can help calm anxious or stressed dogs. Dogs can experience various common fears and phobias, and understanding what is triggering your dog’s anxiety can assist you in addressing the problem. Your vet will be a great ally here. Learning about your dog’s body language can also allow you to notice changes in behavior and give you time to help calm them down before their anxiety increases.

Dog walker strides with his pet on leash while walking at street pavement
Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

1. Exercise

Taking your dog out for a long walk and other exercise can help release stress through endorphins.


2. Physical Touch

You can spend time petting and cuddling your dog, or you can also try massaging them.


3. Calming Apparel

Most dog owners are likely familiar with the ThunderShirt, which applies gentle pressure and has proven to help calm dogs.


4. Music

Maybe finger tapping on a table won’t calm your dog, but studies have shown that dogs become calmer and more relaxed when they hear classical music. Additionally, white noise, such as fan or rain sounds, can also help in soothing your pet, especially during thunderstorms and fireworks, by masking the noise.

woman using smartphone with her dog on the background
Image Credit: Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

5. Aromatherapy

There are studies on the effect of specific odors on dogs. It was discovered that lavender and chamomile seemed to relax canines more than other scents.


6. Safe Zone

Make sure your dog has a safe space, which can be their crate or a small room. Play classical music, dim the lights, and use aromatherapy (be sure to only use dog safe oils such as lavender and chamomile). If you’re using a crate, be sure to cover it with a blanket or crate cover to make it den-like (and Zen-like) and comfortable.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are a Few ASMR Video Recommendations?

You can check out ASMR artists like Sara Coromo, who does tapping and crinkling, and Gentle Whispering, who uses soft talking, personal attention, and hand gestures. There’s also Goodnight Moon, who whispers and gently grooms her dog in the video.

Is There a Natural Sedative for Dogs?

There are various techniques that you can use to calm your dog down naturally. You can also try things like pheromones and calming treats.

What Are the Signs of Anxiety in Dogs?

Dogs suffering from acute or chronic anxiety will typically show the same signs:

  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Ears pulled back and held tight against the skull
  • Licking lips
  • Shaking
  • Whining
  • Urinating and defecating in the home
  • Excessive barking
  • Restlessness
  • Pacing
  • Destructive behavior
  • Whites of the eyes showing (typically called whale eye)
dog sitting on sofa and barking
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

ASMR affects certain people in positive ways. So, if hearing someone whisper or tap their fingers on a table helps you sleep or decreases your anxiety, that’s great!

However, the jury is out regarding dogs and ASMR. That said, you can feel free to experiment with your pup! Try playing any of the ASMR videos found widely across YouTube for your dog and see what happens. Your dog might calm down, but if it doesn’t work, try classical music and maybe even aromatherapy.

In the long run, learning your dog’s body language and having a plan in place when you know that they might become anxious will go a long way toward helping your best friend feel more secure.


Featured Image Credit: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

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