Going Out: Should I Leave the Radio On for My Pet?

June 22, 2020
Do you leave the TV or radio on when you leave home so your pet doesn't feel alone? We'll tell you if it's the right thing to do.

Many people leave the TV or radio on when they’re going to leave their pet alone at home for a few hours. Sometimes they do this because they consider that their pet will feel less alone. Especially in cases of dogs that suffer separation anxiety whenever their owners leave for work, for example.

Humans are really noisy beings. This is because our main form of communication is the spoken word, and when we’re in a group, these sounds make us feel safe and protected. However, despite being used to us as a species, not all pets tolerate the noise we produce in the same way.

As with other aspects of the relationship we build with animals, there’s a tendency to equate emotions and feelings, and ultimately understand them through an anthropic vision. Nevertheless, each animal species has its own etiology, which is the way of perceiving and communicating with the world.

To make our pets really happy and emotionally balanced, we must always try to understand them from their own perspective.

A hamster holding a miniature guitar.

The radio and separation anxiety

Currently, many dogs that are part of a family suffer or have suffered separation anxiety. Sometimes, such behavior only occurs in the first months of the animal’s life. After this time, if detachment is properly worked out, they can stop suffering these episodes when being left alone in the house.

Conversely, many dogs can develop separation anxiety at any time in their lives depending on a multitude of factors. Therefore, we believe that separation anxiety in dogs is one of the main behavioral problems that occur in veterinary clinics. Canine educators and trainers also face this issue when working with anxious dogs.

Some dog owners that have to deal with this problem choose to try to make the animal feel accompanied at all times. Thus, they leave the radio on for them when leaving the house. But is this a good solution? Let’s have a look.

At first glance, and without going into specific cases, the answer’s no. Leaving the radio on for a dog with separation anxiety won’t solve the problem. On the contrary, it could even make it worse.

Separation anxiety in a dog is only solved with the full involvement of the owners, guided by a dog expert. The dog needs to trust you and to know that you’ll be there to guide it to achieve its own self-control and develop autonomy. These behavioral problems require professional help, and leaving the radio on will not solve the disorder.

A dog with headphones.

Parrots and the fear of silence

Parrots (or Psittacids) are also very popular pets. In their case, do you think they would benefit from having the radio on when you go out? In this particular case, we must say yes. But why though?

Psittacid birds naturally live in large social groups in the wild. Anyone who lives with a parrot can claim that it is one of the noisiest pets you can live with.

These animals are continually emitting gurgles, trills, whistles and squawks in their natural habitat. For them, silence implies that something bad is happening. When a flock of parrots becomes silent, it’s usually because a predator is approaching and they know it.

For this reason, it’s always a good thing that parrots have some ambient music or other sounds in the house. Especially if they don’t live with more of their kind. But remember, at night, there must be a quiet environment so they can rest properly. This is why people cover their cages as well with a sheet or something similar.

Cats: stealth masters

Another typical family pet is the cat. Because of its solitary and predatory nature, this domestic feline is extremely silent. Any adult cat owner knows that his pet’s favorite hobby is spending the day snoozing.

Usually, cats are very quiet animals that prefer silence or soft ambient sounds. In fact, in homes where there are many raucous noises, continuous banging, or screams, cats end up developing behavioral problems such as redirected aggression, depression, or anxiety.

However, when the owner leaves the house, cats can also suffer. Despite their reputation as independent beings, cats are social animals that need a stable group and frequent contact with their members. However, leaving the radio on is not the best option for them.

A cat resting on top of a keyboard and with the radio on.

Is it OK to leave the radio on for your pet?

Leaving the TV or radio on so that your pet won’t feel alone will depend on you and whether or not you consider that they need it. Maybe your dog prefers to always have that background noise because it helps them calm down or, on the other hand, your parrot may hate noises of that kind.

Above all, we recommend discussing this type of issue with a professional who can study the case and help you clear up any doubts. Have you ever tried leaving your pet with the TV or radio on? Has it worked for you?

We hope you enjoyed reading some of the points of view to consider when caring for our dear pets’ well-being. Until next time!

  • Bergman, L., & Reinisch, U. S. (2006). Parrot vocalization. Manual of parrot behavior, 219.
  • Rafael Cal Estrela. (2019). Pensando en ellos. Habla con Ellos: Educación canina.
  • Sargisson, R. J. (2014). Canine separation anxiety: strategies for treatment and management. Vet Med Res Rep, 5, 143-51.
  • Overall, K. L., Rodan, I., V. Beaver, B., Carney, H., Crowell-Davis, S., Hird, N., … & Wexler-Mitchel, E. (2005). Feline behavior guidelines from the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 227(1), 70-84.