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Thundershirts: Great options for calming anxious dogs

Pug wearing a thundershirt

Do you have an excitable or nervous dog? One who freaks out over fireworks and thunderstorms or who acts like her world is ending whenever you leave them at doggy daycare?

Several of Rover Stay Over’s customers have canine companions who behave like this, and they’ll often share tips on what works to calm their furry babies down.

Lately, some of Rover’s four-legged guests have been wearing special wraps that aim to reduce dog anxiety. And, per their owners, they work!

(not an actual ThunderShirt)

 

The principle behind ThunderShirts is that they provide consistent, calming pressure, not unlike the loving hug that embraces a swaddled baby. In fact, veterinarians have described the practice as reminding a dog what he felt like as a baby, snuggling safely into his mother’s body.

A group of researchers ― including renowned expert Dr. Temple Grandin ― tested whether this swaddling technique actually works to reduce dog anxiety. While they advocate for more research, here’s the gist of what they found in their study:

“Results from this study showed dogs who wore the ThunderShirt to manufacturer’s specifications had lowered heart rate, decreased visual orientation towards the door (looking for their owner), as well as trending toward reduced yawning and tongue-flicking stress behaviors.”

Sounds effective, right?

Dog kennel and boarding customers have shared similar anecdotal tales of the wrap’s effectiveness in calming their excitable dogs, especially when it comes to noise phobias. According to ThunderShirt’s website, the vests work in at least 80 percent of cases.

The ThunderShirt looks like a lightly quilted vest  that wraps around the dog’s body, with hook-and-  loop straps that help the vest maintain a snug,  secure hold on the dog. They come in various  styles and colors, too ― from a muted gray to a  bright fuchsia, and even a camouflaged option ―  to match your dog’s personality.

What do you think? Have you ever tried a  ThunderShirt or used the swaddling technique to  calm your dog? Has it worked for you? What other approaches have you tried? Reach out to Rover Stay Over on Facebook to share your advice.