Kirsten Brand’s little dog Emma, like many dogs, is very to sensitive to loud noises. Fireworks, thunderstorms, sirens send her running for cover. Kirsten had tried various remedies to lessen Emma’s distress: playing with her or feeding her treats to distract her from the noise, putting a special shirt on her that feels like a comforting hug, even dog-calming medications. Nothing worked all that well, until Kirsten found the solution while she and Emma were on a flight.
As the other passengers boarded, Emma jumped every time an overhead compartment was slammed shut. Kirsten had on noise-canceling headphones, so she held them to Emma’s ears. Emma settled down immediately. Definitely awkward. Certainly not a long-term solution. But Kirsten knew her mission was to create noise-canceling headphones specially for dogs.
Kirsten graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Packaging Engineering and had worked for Mars Petcare for several years and enjoyed “dabbling” in other fields. She first searched the Internet for information on using electronics to cancel problem frequencies. Then she reached out and gathered together a network of people who created the Pawnix prototype. Then Emma the dog became a “guinea pig.” Emma was subjected to loud noises of all types while she wore various iterations of the Pawnix. Her response (or lack thereof) to the noises let the team know when they had arrived at the right formula to keep Emma calm and unperturbed.
The big test came on New Year’s Eve at a concert with midnight fireworks. People were impressed with Emma’s apparent obliviousness to the very loud noises. The Pawnix reduces those deafening sounds of fireworks to the level of a quiet vacuum or a dishwasher running.
- Pawnix uses both active and passive noise-canceling methods. Active noise-canceling is the role of the electronics. A microphone picks up sound and converts it into a wavelength. The headset duplicates this wavelength and flips it 180 degrees. When these two wavelengths meet in the ear, they cancel each other out. Passive noise-canceling is the function of the foam material that has a high Noise Reduction Rating, as well as the shape of the foam and how it fits around the head and ears. Pawnix is most efffective at reducing low frequency noise (frequencies from 20HZ to 8000HZ).
- The material is made from a four-way stretch antimicrobial fiber with wicking properties that is super-soft and cushiony, like a pillow. It is easy to put on and provides a compression effect that relieves anxiety and keeps the dog calm.
- The electronic unit is encased in neoprene that works with the shape of the dog’s ear and provides the decibel reduction. You can place the speakers directly on your dog’s ears, in front of the ears, or lean the speakers up against the ear. Note: The neoprene has a low level of water resistance. It is not waterproof! Don’t let your dog stay out in the rain with the Pawnix on, and do not immerse the unit.
- With Bluetooth technology, you connect your smart phone or tablet to the Pawnix to control the volume of the headset. It also allows you to play music softly enough to protect your dog’ ears.
Introducing Your Dog to Pawnix
Don’t wait until that thunderstorm or fireworks display starts. Let your dog wear the Pawnix during fun times: when you are playing with him or giving him treats or on a walk on a nice day. Once he associates the Pawnix with happy times, he will allow you to put it on his head during those unhappy (noisy) times.