If part of your flying family includes a pooch, I think that protecting your dog’s delicate hearing in a 92-, or higher, decibel airplane cabin is part of responsible pet care. Shortly after our family acquired a puppy, I ran across Mutt Muffs, from Safe and Sound Pets, at Sun-n-Fun. I had a long talk with the knowledgeable representative in the booth and bought a pair.
Mutt Muffs are ear defenders for dogs. Triangular in shape, they come in five sizes from “X-small” for 5-10-pound dogs to “X-large” for dogs over 95 pounds. Each pair is attached with adjustable straps and come in an assortment of colors, although if you want other than black, it costs a bit more than the basic $55 to $58 price—depending on size.
The user-friendly, informative website states that the inner foam of each ear cup is made of the “same ester resin used in many high-end commercial headsets designed for humans.” A 25-28-dB sound reduction is claimed. Mutt Muffs are worn over the dog’s ear flap, not under, increasing their effectiveness.
The website explains that dogs understand cause and effect and will wear Mutt Muffs because they can tell that they make a difference in the noise level. The rep I spoke with suggested having the dog wear them around its neck on the drive to the airport—to get used to the smell and feel. Once in the airplane, wait until the engine is running to put them on the canine so he or she will recognize the sound difference and be less likely to refuse to wear them.
Using Mutt Muffs proved less than ideal—over several flights. Our dog was willing to wear them, but it took repeated adjustments to get them to fit correctly—and they are difficult to adjust.
A worse problem presented itself rapidly. Dogs move around. In the confines of the middle row seat of a Cessna 210, ours kept hitting one ear muff or another against something—and the headset would promptly fall off. After repeatedly picking up and putting the Mutt Muffs back on during a number of flights, my wife and I eventually gave up.
I like the concept and the quality of construction of Mutt Muffs. I was not satisfied with how hard they are to adjust and how easily they get knocked askew or off the dog’s head.
I think hearing protection is important, so I’m going to keep trying to use them for a few more flights—maybe as our dog matures, he won’t move around as much.
Get Mutt Muffs at www.safeandsoundpets.com, 443-536-6287.