Does your pet fret fireworks on New Year’s Eve? Tune your cat or dog into this new soothing companion

Pop legend Ed Sheeran will help prevent the nation’s dogs from hitting the woof amid terrifyingly loud firework displays on New Year’s Eve – after one of his smash hits was picked for a new pet-calming music video channel.

Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’ features on the 175-minute loop, along with other songs by the likes of Norah Jones, Billie Eilish, Ronan Keating and Taylor Swift.

The music videos were specifically chosen for their ability to soothe dogs – and cats – following a month-long analysis into the perfect tone, tempo and visual elements required to distract pets from the frightening firecrackers and screaming rockets set to soar into the sky as we enter 2022.

The two separate channels for quaking cats and cowering canines were developed by free TV Music AppROXi, in collaboration with top UK pet behaviour specialist Professor Peter Neville.

Sudden or prolonged loud noises can scare the lives out of cats and dogs, who have to endure an annual night from hell as the nation celebrates the start of the new year.

Dogs are calmed by footage of open fields, lots of green grass, lakes and slow-moving rivers, so ‘Mine’ by Taylor Swift is perfect for pooches, as it evokes a warm feeling within dogs.

The playlist for pups consists mainly of music videos by female vocalists, such as ‘Pure Shores’ by All Saints and Norah Jones’s ‘Don’t Know Why’, which both feature lush green pastures and running water.

It also contains ‘Feel’ by ROXi backer Robbie Williams, with the music video featuring the superstar from Stoke on horseback amid a stunning mountain range.

That coupled with his gentle, lilting voice will distract a worried dog, grab their attention and relax them during noisy firework displays.

Sade’s 1992 classic ‘No Ordinary Love’ is also featured, as the music video shows the singer as a mermaid underwater among walls of coral reef and swaying marine shrubs.

Sheeran’s track made it onto ROXi’s ‘New Year’s Eve: Destress Your Dog’channel due to his gentle voice and the song’s slow and calming melody.

Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’ will also be a feline favourite due to the music video’s soft furnishings and alluring sofas and chairs, as well as the soft lighting, pink pastel colours and slow movements.

Lily Allen’s ‘Smile’ music video also features inviting soft furnishings coupled with the comforting tune and rhythm.

ROXi’s ‘New Year’s Eve: Calm your Cat’ channel features songs such as Savage Garden’s ‘I Knew I Loved You’ – due to the gentle tempo and lead singer Darren Hayes’ kind, reassuring voice.

Ronan Keating’s ‘When You say Nothing At All’ was chosen for both playlists due to the flowing slow melody, his affectionate voice and an abundance of greenery in the music video.

Research by free TV Music App, ROXi, which gives free access to 70 million music videos, albums and songs on your TV, discovered around three quarters [71%] of the nation’s pets become stressed or agitated on New Year’s Eve, with 30% of owners admitting they try and calm them by leaving the television on.

One in four [25%] have also used the sounds of a radio or a CD to try and soothe them.

In terms of music to comfort pets, one in five pet parents [20%] have opted for pop, 13 per cent have opted for acoustic music, while 23 per cent use nature sounds like running rivers and waves crashing onto beaches to calm their four-legged companions.

One in four pet owners [24%] said they believed their pet was soothed by images of other animals, while one in five [21%] have used nature-based visuals to calm them.

Soft lighting [10%] and comfortable furnishings [11%] also emerged among a list of common methods used.

Around one in six owners [15%] have placed their pet in a quieter space for the duration of the local firework display, while 13 per cent have even gone as far as to send them to a friend or relative who lives somewhere quieter.

The study of 1,038 pet owners also found the majority of dogs react by barking [29%], while pets also run away [23%], hide [26%], or try to find a quieter spot [37%] when faced with noisy New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Hand-picked tracks to calm pets

The tracks were hand-picked from ROXi’s extensive library of 70 million music videos, albums and songs. They feature in ROXi’s relaxing NYE music video channels for calming your cats and de stressing your dog’s available on ROXi’s new free TV Music App, out now on millions of Smart TVs including Sky Q, Fire TV, Android TVs and Google TVs including compatible Sony Bravia, Panasonic, Philips and Toshiba TVs with Samsung TV and others coming soon.

Rob Lewis, chief executive of ROXi, which boasts Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue among its backers, said: “New Year’s Eve can take its toll on our poor pets. The sound of fireworks with the sky lit up can really rattle them.”

“Interestingly, our research found that one in four owners try to calm their pets by leaving the music on. But this year, we’re urging owners up the ante by tuning into music videos for their pets to watch on TV; a welcome distraction from what’s outside the window.”

“We’re hoping to inspire people to leave their TVs on this NYE; it’s not just a savvy security hack but can also be a soothing companion for your cat or canine. Which is why we’ve done a deep dive into our extensive ROXi music library – to create these bespoke New Year’s Eve Music Channels – a collection of soothing sounds and mellow music videos to help the nation’s anxious animals – which are available for free on our new TV Music App.”

Professor Peter Neville

Pet behaviourist Professor Peter Neville, who worked with ROXi in compiling the playlists, said: “Cats and dogs have a far more acute sense of hearing than humans. So, the loud explosions, crackles and whistles are likely startlingly audible across an even wider range than we humans experience.”

“The loud noises and flashing lights of fireworks may sound and look different each time, whilst exploding at different intervals, so dogs and cats can’t get used to them in the same way as they habituate to the sound of traffic or aircraft flying overhead, for example.”

“So, these playlists could help make a big difference for our pets on New Year’s Eve. All of these songs may keep your dogs and cats calm, either by the soothing effects of the melody or the calming visual content of the video, or both.”

“For example, Naughty Boy ft Beyonce’s song ‘Runnin’ (Lose It All)’ has subdued lighting in the moody underwater scenes early on, and then later, the track develops and becomes quite upbeat to help distract a frightened dog without alarming them. That sort of content is very calming. It may even remind dogs of walking along riverbanks, seeing the water ripple on a warm summer’s day, totally relaxed.”

“If they watch this sort of video, they will hopefully become absorbed in it, which will help take their minds off the fireworks. All the tracks are slow and don’t have massive or sudden high-pitch noises or huge loud drum beats, so these will be comforting to dogs.”

“Flowing soporific jazz tracks from Miles Davis and Joe Sample for example, also seem to have a calming effect on dogs.”

The feline channel differs, as cats have black and white vision. They see more in shades of grey, so darker imagery in music videos is cool for cats.

Professor Neville added: “Cats are evolved to hunt in low light levels at dawn and dusk, so their eyesight is adapted to be sensitive to contrast and sudden movement – not colour. So we went for tracks with darker scenes in the videos with no bright lights or sudden flashing images. Unlike many dogs, most cats aren’t so fond of water, so we avoided wet sights or sounds in our feline friendly music channel.”

“Cats have evolved to alert to very high frequency sounds, so music from bands such as Savage Garden with a lilting male singer who doesn’t sing too high, is perfect. In terms of videos for cats, we had to pick visuals that look warm and welcoming. Cats like comfort – so we ensured the playlist features videos with nice cushions and soft furnishings.”

“Pets like gentle melodies, flowing soft tone voices and classical music and instruments, and not loud guitars or sudden bangs and crashes on drums and cymbals. So, we avoided tracks with loud beats, discordant or shrieking female high notes – especially for cats – and loud or shouting deep male voices which dogs and cats alike can see as threatening. These sounds can all alert or alarm animals – or mimic their own pain and distress calls – which is the very opposite of our aims.”

The sound of a mother dog’s heartbeat or a cat purring would also make a respective comforting backing track for our pets. After all, nothing identifies anything as being catlike or made for cats quite so much as a contented purr.”

Dogs & Cats channels

New Year’s Eve: Calm Your Cat Channel

Billie Eilish – I Love You

Lily Allen – Smile

Chris De Burgh – Lady In Red

Savage Garden – I Knew I Loved You

Ronan Keating – When You Say Nothing At All

Taylor Swift – All Too Well

Ed Sheeran – Perfect

Solange – Cranes in The Sky

New Year’s Eve: Destress Your Dog Channel

Ed Sheeran – Perfect

Ronan Keating – When You Say Nothing At All

Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why

Billie Eilish – Your Power

Robbie Williams – Feel

Sade – No Ordinary Love

Naughty Boy ft Beyonce – Runnin’ (Lose It All)

All Saints – Pure Shores

Taylor Swift – Mine