ThunderShirt is an interesting, unique and effective product for helping to keep dogs calm. There’s nothing else like it for dogs that I’ve ever seen. Interestingly, though, pressure has been used to comfort cattle, infants (through swaddling), and people with autism for many years.
So what exactly is ThunderShirt? ThunderShirt is a vest we can put on our anxious, stressed or scared dog. The vest is fitted to our dog with easy to use ‘hook and loop fasteners’ making it very easy to adjust to our dog’s exact size. We wrap a ThunderShirt snugly around our dog (though not too tightly), and it then provides constant pressure on her torso. It’s like experiencing a calming, comforting hug for humans!
Why Use ThunderShirt?
So, in which scenarios may we consider using ThunderShirt? There are so many situations or behaviors for which a ThunderShirt will come in handy! Here are the most common situations in which ThunderShirt may be useful, but this list is not all-inclusive:
Does your dog become stressed or scared during:
- Construction noise
- Loud children
Does your dog experience:
- Separation Anxiety
- Travel stress
Does your dog display anxious behaviors, such as:
- Leash pulling
- Running away
- Even seizures!
If your dog experiences any of the above behaviors and you have not found an effective training solution, or you want to stop dosing your dog with lots of medication, then ThunderShirt is definitely worth trying. Can you imagine how different life might be if your dog didn’t hide in the corner and whine during every thunderstorm? Or what if your dog stopped chewing up your blinds every time you leave the house?
Annie Tests a ThunderShirt
My Annie is a highly anxious dog in her everyday behavior. She is not a dog who is scared of storms or loud noises. Instead, her anxiety manifests as a need to be ‘on’ and ready for action at all times. She sleeps very lightly, must get up and follow me immediately as soon as I stand to do anything, and is a leash puller. She will whine and bark if she isn’t doing what she expected to be doing. She is 10 years old, and this anxious personality has been present since I adopted her at 6 months old, though she has mellowed some with age.
For Annie and I, ThunderShirt testing happened during a regular day with nothing new or stressful going on around us. As soon as I put the ThunderShirt on Annie, who was very tolerant even if she was annoyed by the brief process, I noticed a difference in her energy. Her usually tense and assertive demeanor suddenly changed to a calm and relaxed vibe. It was so strange to actually see a difference in Annie’s everyday, regular energy appearing right before my eyes.
For the rest of the day, Annie wore her ThunderShirt. As recommended by ThunderShirt, I took it off of her and checked to make sure there was no irritation and that the vest was not too tight every couple of hours, since this was her first day to wear it.
Throughout the day, Annie did not seem to feel the need to stand and follow me every time I got up to use the restroom or get a glass of water. When my husband got home from work and the dogs and I heard the garage door start to open, instead of the usually loud and annoying barking that Annie starts in my house, she remained completely quiet and merely stood up slowly and walked to the door to greet my husband!
I already mentioned the easy to use ‘hook and loop fasteners’ which make Thundershirt adjustable. The vest also has a patch on which you can put a calming spray, such as lavender and a reflective patch on the back which comes in handy for nighttime walks. ThunderShirt is machine washable, soft and comfortable, as well.
- Calms without medication
- Easy to use
- Effectively calms my dog from her usually high anxiety
- Can be used to help with multiple issues
- Washable, comfortable fabric
- May get dirty easily if worn outside
- Eventually, ‘hook and loop fasteners’ will fray and become less sticky
- Thundershirt may not be effective for every dog.
The Bottom Line: My Opinion
After the change I visibly saw in Annie’s energy, and the few small victories we had with her calm demeanor throughout the day, I am a fan of ThunderShirt! I am especially excited that this change occurred without any training or special actions on my part. All I did was put a ThunderShirt on Annie. I would definitely recommend ThunderShirt to my friends and family with anxious dogs!
Sizes, Price, and Where to Buy!
ThunderShirt is available from size XXS to size XXL. My Annie, who is 40 lbs and has a barrel chest, wore the Medium size very comfortably, and it is meant for dogs who are 26-40 lbs. You can find the right ThunderShirt for your dog, no matter what her size here or at any of Hollywood Feed’s store locations for $44.95 in any size (which is less expensive than new blinds or a new comforter, and definitely worth it to see your dog happy and calm!)
If you’re curious and would like to try ThunderShirt out, remember the Hollywood Feed Promise:
If your pet doesn’t love it, or of you don’t love it, we’ll gladly replace or refund it.”
~ Shawn McGhee ~ Proprieter ~
So, there’s absolutely no harm in trying ThunderShirt yourself, and in fact, there may be a great benefit for you and your dog!
Who has used a ThunderShirt before to help calm your dog? What was your experience like, and for what behavior did you use ThunderShirt? Let us know in the comment section below!
Read more about ThunderShirt and its uses in:
Fear, Anxiety, Stress and Phobias in Dogs
Fun on the Fourth for the Whole Family: Keeping Your Dog Safe Around Fireworks
How to Take a Vacation When You Have and Anxious Dog
Dogs and Fireworks Don’t Mix: How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Calm this New Year’s