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July 2014

Music and Pets

Animals are very sensitive creatures.

By that, I do not mean that they are touchy, feely, “Let’s talk about our feelings” kind of sensitive. I mean that animals are very much in tune to their surroundings and their bodies. Music therapy can be used to change the environment from stressful to calm, as well as target health concerns.

Sound therapy, Vibrational therapy, Music therapy, and Entrainment are all different words for the same concept: that the right music can heal the body, mind, and soul. As Tree McKenna Cinque, Crystal Master and Sound Practitioner says, “Sound Therapy, whether through the use of sound tools, singing bowls, or voice helps lift the issues out of tissues.”

Music therapy has ancient origins. Australian Aborigines and Native American Indians used sound to heal from within in their sacred ceremonies. The priest’s of ancient Egypt used vowel sounds to balance chakras. Chakras are energy centers located throughout all living creatures. People have seven major ones located along the axis of their bodies, while animals have eight major chakras. The Tibetans still use bells, chimes, bowls, and chanting, during their spiritual meditations and practices. Music therapy has modern applications as well. It’s used in hospitals for pain management, labor and delivery, neonatal care, pediatrics, oncology, physical rehabilitation, and psychotherapy. It is also used with Alzheimer patients and to break up kidney stones. Music therapy is used in zoos to calm agitated animals and in dairy farms to increase milk output.



What exactly is music therapy?


Music therapy is based on the premise that everything in life has a corresponding musical note or vibrational level. Some of this is instinctive knowledge. For instance, you already know that you can identify someone over the phone by the sound of his or her voice. Our understanding goes deeper than that. Nanotechnologists at UCLA discovered that the sound of yeast cells differ from that of mammalian cells. A black hole in the heart of the Perseus galaxy cluster was recorded at 57 octaves below middle C in the note of B flat. A healthy heart vibrates at F. The earth itself “hums” at 7.8 Hz, which by the way is the vibration of the alpha waves of our brains.


How does this all relate to animals?


While we hear in the 200 to 20,000 Hz range, animals can hear up to 200,000 Hz. Hence, they are far more sensitive to music than we are. Playing high-energy music can stress out a pet resulting in behavioral issues. Or on the flip side, you can calm a stressed pet with lower energy music. In addition, you can mitigate particular health concerns by choosing the corresponding musical note associated with the problem.

"Animals and pets are so tuned into vibration and sound much more so than humans. Animals have the capacity to hear more octaves and tones than humans and our profoundly affected by sound. Their emotional state or well being can be manipulated or entrained with music whether its from your ipod, your voice or a tuning fork. They seek to be in a state of natural balance not unlike us. We all can thrive harmoniously together when our intentions are continuously created from a place of love. And what better way to express our love to our pets then the most spiritual art forms" Jennifer Zulli (New Age Artist/Musician, sound healer and Founder of SOUND (Center for Arts & Mindfulness) in Newtown, CT.


How do you Incorporate music therapy into your pet’s life?


The two easiest mediums to add are music and singing bowls.

Music, such as Steven Halpern’s “Chakra Suite”, uses musical notes to balance chakras that are out of alignment, closed, or overly open. Play calming music throughout the day, such as harp, easy listening, or classical. It will reduce stimuli, which in turn, lowers stress levels. Lowered stress levels may improve behavioral issues.

Singing bowls are made from either metal or crystal and vibrate when played to a particular frequency or musical note. Most common singing bowls are found in 11 different notes. A bowl that resonates at C would correspond to the root chakra. Playing this bowl would help with any concerns connected to the root chakra. Tonka, an older pet, loves when mom plays her root bowl. In fact, he places his arthritic bum as close to the bowl as he can get.

Animals with healthy, balanced chakras are more effective at self-healing. Many energetic practitioners use it as a complement to their chosen modality.Adding music therapy to your pet’s environment is easy and the benefits will extend across the board to all members of your family. It can be an effective part of your overall health maintenance plan for your pets that should also include regular veterinary visits.

Lemon's First Groom

I have been in the pet industry for over 15 years. In that time, I have been honored professionally by the pet industry as well as, personally by my fabulous clients. Any recognition I have previously enjoyed pales in comparison to Lemon’s first groom.


What makes Lemon’s first groom so special?


Lemon’s owner is the daughter of one of my long-term clients who traveled over five hours so I could give Lemon his first groom. Alicia knew that Lemon needed regular grooming and wanted to make sure it was a pleasant first experience for him, as it could set the tone for the future.


When I arrived at her mother’s home, I asked that she and Lemon come join me in the grooming van. I want her to see what a grooming entails, as well as educate on owner responsibility, and correct any misinformation about his needs. We let Lemon explore a little bit while we chit chatted. This exploration gives Lemon an opportunity to become familiar with his environment. I have soothing music playing very softly in the background.


After a couple of minutes, I placed Lemon on the table and went over what to expect from this groom. During the explanation, I keep my hands on Lemon and pet him. I make sure she understands that I will go at his pace and it will not be a perfect groom. The expectation of the first groom is simply to familiarize Lemon with the process. Alicia’s one rule is she cannot stop the groom or become flustered. It sends the wrong message to the puppy. This is happy time, I don't want Lemon to make the connection that this is something to be scared about.


I demonstrate how to comb and brush, cut nails, and clean ears within the confines of his normal body range of motion. I suggested equipment, as well as the benefits of quality versus cheap products. Since I don’t sell equipment, I emailed her links to reputable online sources. We discussed what clip she envisioned on Lemon and suggested several grooming schedules that should work for her based on the amount of time she wanted to spend in between. 


Whenever Lemon became anxious, I stop and pet him while continuing talking to his owner. I offer owner approved treats, but Lemon isn’t interested.


So far, he is a champ.


Into the tub he goes. I am grateful for my Sav-Ur-Fur nozzle because I can put it on soaker rather than the spray setting for the recirculator. If I didn’t have one, his first bath would be by hand. His face, however, is washed by hand. Since she plans on bathing in between grooms, I go over eye care with her and suggest shampoos and conditioners.


After his bath, I put him back on the table and put a Happy Hoodie over his head. The Happy Hoodie will protect his ears, wick out water from his head, and act as a calming agent. I take the nozzle off my high velocity dryer and Lemon is fluffed dried.


It’s now time for the finish work.


Lemon is brushed out and combed. I let him sniff the clipper and run it over his body while it is OFF. I turn it on and start the clipper work. Lemon has just about had it for the day. A couple of passes with the clipper and he has had enough.  It is not a complete job. But we finished on a pleasant note.


Once we were done, he eagerly took treats from me. If Lemon had continued as my client, I would have worked with him to accept to the clipper.


It sounds like I have spent hours on Lemon hasn’t it. His groom took one hour from start to finish. It is why I don’t discount puppy grooms. The time and gentleness allocated now will result in saved time and ease in the future.



Why Should A Pet Professional Take A Pet First Aid Class?

Why Should A Pet Professional Take A Pet First Aid Class?

(Details on my next two upcoming pet first aid classes are inlcuded at the end of this blog along with a demo video of the class)


Because the truth is accidents can and do happen. None of us schedule 2pm: Trip and fall over dryer hose. As professionals we owe it to the pets in our care to be prepared for the unplanned.

Be Aware. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) says that 60% of all veterinary visits are emergency in nature. They go on to state that 25% more pets could have been saved if only one pet first aid technique was applied before veterinary treatment. A study done in the American Veterinary Journal states that only 10% of pets needing CPR would survive if CPR is not done before arrival at the veterinarian. Another study by the AAHA shows preventable accidents as the leading cause of death and disability among pre-senior pets.

Be Knowledgeable. What are some of the safety issues that relate directly to groomers?

• Sudden blunt force trauma happens if a pet falls off a grooming table. Or you trip over exposed cords. Or you can slip on a wet floor while carrying a pet. Take advantage of the Golden Hour. It takes approximately one hour for adrenaline to dissipate from the body after an injury. Symptoms are not felt until the adrenaline is gone. Once symptoms present, itʼs generally too late. Look to Natasha Richardson as an example of someone who wasted her Golden Hour. She was the actress who died after hitting her head in a ski accident. She refused on site medical treatment. When symptoms presented later, it was too late.

• Neck injuries or strangulation when an unattended pet or even when an attended cat jumps off a table while looped.

• Hypothermia caused by prolonged exposure to cool temperature. It can happen when placing a wet pet under a cool air dryer. You only need to lower the petʼs temperature by four degrees.

• Dehydration as a result of no water provided to the pet. Stress can also cause dehydration. It can lead to organ failure or death in a very short time.

• Burns resulting from overexposure to hot blades or hot air dryers. So will chewing on electrical cords. Using equipment without Ground Fault Interruptors (GFI) outlets around the tub can result in electrocution burns. Thermal burns can occur when a hot air dryer heats a metal cage.

• Heatstroke from being left too long with a hot air dryer. Enclosed kennel dryers are notorious for this. The young, old, immune-suppressed and brachycephalic dogs and any cat are particularly susceptible. Brachycephalic dogs have the pushed in faces. Examples are Shih Tzuʼs and Pugs.

• Bleeding injures and wounds caused by scissors and clippers. In addition, hematomas and sebaceous cysts may erupt while in your care.

• Heart failure caused by stress, chewing on electrical cords, electrocution as well as preexisting medical conditions. Cat groomers should monitor the cats stress level closely. They are prone to stress induced heart failure.

• A seizure brought on by poisoning, stress, HV dryer and preexisting medical conditions. Poisoning occurs when a pet ingests, inhales or otherwise absorbs improperly stored cleaning and pesticide products. Older dogs are more susceptible to a seizure brought on by the HV dryer.

• Injuries caused by kennel or tub grates.

• Any pet can have an allergic reaction to any product we use.

• Choking on an inappropriate sized treat or toy and any treat given to a dog that gulps his food.

• The HV dryer can blow out an eardrum or cause an anal prolapse when used improperly.

Be Proactive. Most of the above are preventable accidents. Wrap up cords and hoses when not in use. Make sure there is a clear path from one area to the next. Keep the bathing area floors dry. Store toxic materials in a closed cabinet. Monitor pets at all times. Exercise caution when using your equipment. Do you have the phone numbers handy to your local vet and the after hours office? Do you know how to get to the after hours office? You donʼt want to try and find it in a panic. Walk through your shop and note possible problems and correct them. Go home and do the same. Your four legged furry family members will appreciate it.

Be Prepared. Take a pet first aid class. Written materials and videos alone are not a pet first aid class. To properly learn these skills, your Instructor must be properly trained. Be choosy. Ask questions. What did their training consist of? Pet first aid and CPR is best learned through a combination of lecture, demonstration and hands on skills. A professional level class should include the following: bleeding and shock, restraining and muzzling, primary pet assessment,rescue breathing, CPR, fracture and limb injuries, insect bites and stings, snakebite, seizures, first aid kits and emergency preparedness kits, poisoning and poisonous substances, choking and snout to tail assessments. A better class will also advocate a healthy pet lifestyle. This includes the importance of dental care. Furthermore, it should also stress the importance of both when to seek veterinary care and of establishing a relationship with your vet.

Be Proud. Hang that certificate for all your clients to see. Knowing these skills is the difference between life or death, between temporary or permanent disability and between a short recovery or a long recuperation. These skills will also give you the confidence needed when an emergency arises. Your clients will know you care.

Be Responsible. Iʼve had three occasions with my own pets that required pet first aid. All three situations ended up being very minor when they could have easily escalated into a far more serious situation. Have release forms that allow you to perform pet first aid and CPR on the pets in your care.

Taking a pet first aid class is the right thing to do. We are responsible for the pets in our care and in our lives. They would do the same for us.

Next class is on Monday, July 21st at SuperZoo in Vegas. For details and to register: click here.

The folllowing class is Sunday, August 3rd in New MIlford CT. For details and to register: click here.

And....... a demo video of our pet first aid class.