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By Dr. Michael Fox, Published April 13 2012

Pet Care: Music to soothe your pets

Dear Dr. Fox: The other day I decided to listen to a CD of Gregorian chants. My two formerly feral cats walked up to the speakers and stayed in a relaxed trance until it was over. I got the same reaction earlier today.

Do cats like certain kinds of music? Are mine unique?

– D.K., Minneapolis

Dear D.K.: Many animal shelters play classical music CDs from the company Through a Dog’s Ear to help calm the canines. Many cats may benefit from hearing the chants of Gregorian monks, or possibly even the purr-like chording of Tibetan Buddhist monks.

Dogs have a happy panting laugh, recordings of which have reduced barking in shelters when played for the dogs.

I know of one cat shelter that was visited regularly by a harpist. When she played, the cats would stretch, roll and relax – they were clearly soothed by the sounds.

Dairy farmers have long used music to calm cows just before milking. Music affects virtually all animal species tested, but I am genuinely concerned about the neurological and endocrine issues facing young people due to the cacophonous, anapestic beat-driven, money making “music” industry that does more to agitate than help meditate.

Dear Dr. Fox: I have a 4-year-old, 2.8-pound Chihuahua who has terrible breath. I know she needs her teeth cleaned, but I am deathly afraid of something happening to her when she is anesthetized. I have a close friend who lost his dog during this procedure. I know that not cleaning her teeth is unhealthy.

I brush her teeth almost daily with Petrodex Dental Care toothpaste and also use PetzLife Oral Care spray. This seems to help her breath, but I don’t know if it is enough. Is there an alternative method for cleaning teeth? – L.F., Wentzville, Mo.

Dear L.F.: Your dog may need professional dental care, especially if she has infected and loose teeth – a common problem in toy breeds. A veterinary checkup is called for.

Using the PetzLife Oral Care products as directed, coupled with the daily brushing, will help reduce the risks of complications from bacterial infection and oral inflammatory substances if dental surgery is necessary.

In many instances, following a daily regimen of oral health care treatments, veterinarians can safely and effectively remove scale or tartar from afflicted teeth by having an assistant restrain the dog, rather than giving a general anesthetic, which is never a risk-free procedure.

Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox’s Web site at www.twobitdog.com/DrFox.