Thunder Vests for Dogs!

labrador with thundershirtDogs being scared of thunder, gunshots or fireworks is a common problem. Many dog owners are reporting this and a lot of them just don’t know what to about their dogs fear of thunder and loud noises.

It is not only the fact that the dog is suffering from this but a dog can also get injured when panicking because of a thunder storm. In the case that the dog is outside and unattaced it can even get dangerous. The dog might run off and get hit by a motor vehicle.

There are different solutions and ways to tackle this problem. You will find a few in my article: Why are dogs afraid of thunderstorms? 9 Tips on how to help your dog. In this article I will cover Thunder Vests for Dogs, what they are and how they can help.

Thunder Vests or Thunder Shirts (both terms will be used in this article but mean the same thing) work by applying pressure on the dogs torso. This has the effect of the dog calming down, blood pressure decreases, heart rate and breathing goes down as well. Studies of this technique has been made on both animals and humans. Moderate pressure massage on humans has been proven to have a calming effect, and applying light pressure when caressing an infant will also calm it down. Tests of this technique has also been performed on pigs with the same results. The funny thing with the pressure technique is that even though good results has been noted, nobody knows exactly WHY it is working, studies has shown that it works but not why.

thundershirtSoo the thundervest is really a “wrap” which you put on your dog. The pressure added to the dogs torso will help to calm it down. The effect of the thundervest (or thundershirt) varies widely. Some owners report significant improvement while some don’t seem to get any results at all. Generally speaking, around 80 percent of owners notice decreasing stress and nervousity in their dogs. Results has been noted not only for fear of loud noises but also for other issues such as Separation Anxiety. However results vary and the vest should not be seen as a solution for all fear related problems..Also the thunder vest does NOT Solve an anxiety related problem but it is cure which helps to calm your dog.

Thunder vests combined with other methods

The thunder vest is perfectly safe to use together with other methods in order to calm your dog during during stressful moments such as thunderstorms. If you administer calming drugs for example you can do this while your dog is wearing the thunder vest.

How soon can you expect results when using a thundervest?

Ususally the the thunder vest will work right away. If you put it on it should have a calming effect almost immidiately. If it doesn’t, then it probably won’t work for your dog or it is not well attached.

Where can you get it – and which options are available?

Thunder shirts (or thunder vests) can be bought at thundershirt.com and amazon.com. They retail at the price 39.95$ and come in 7 different sizes covering all dogs from the size of Chihuahua to the largest dogs such as Great Danes or Sankt Bernards. There are also thundershirts for cats and they come in three different sizes. The thundershirt is easily attached with long, super sticky velcro straps. Important to attach it properly in order to get the desired effect. Below is an illustration on how to put it on.

Thunder Vests for Dogs
Thunder Vests for Dogs

 

 

 

 

Conclusion – Is the The Thunder Vest a good alternative?

A thunder vest (or thunder shirt) is a cheap and simple way to reduce anxiety in dogs. There are no risks with its use and it can also be combined with other methods in order to increase its effect. I would say that it is certainly a method worth trying. There are plenty of dog owners who are happy with its results. The fear of thunder (or other loud noises) can be a real nuissance for dogs and this item provide a simple way to improve the situation.

imagesHowever…..Thunder shirts does not offer a miracle cure which will solve all of your dogs anxiety problems. The effect varies from dog to dog and even if the thunder shirt has a calming effect it does not solve the problem at its root. When it comes to certain types of anxiety such as for example Separation Anxiety, you are much better off finding the real cause of the problem instead of trying to get your dog calm by putting a “pressure vest” on it.  The thunder shirt should be seen as a tool which can be used to soothe and calm your dog when it is suffering from anxiety.

If you have any experience from using a thundershirt on your dog, I would be very happy to hear from you. You can leave your comments below.

 

Comments 6

  • I’ve heard so many great things about the Thunder vest. My sister just purchased on for her dog. After reading this article I think I might be convinced to purchase one myself. I was under the impression that they were just a warmer vest for your pet. Now I see more benefits after this article. Thanks for some clarity.

  • I think this is a wonderful idea.

    Where I live, there are a lot of thunderstorms in the winter time and the sky really crashes too when it happens.

    It terrifies my Labrador and my hear really goes out to him as i feel there is nothing I can really do.

    Except for keeping him warm and feeling loved I have always been short of ideas.

    This seems like a great addition to combat this issue. I think it will keep him warm, and if it can reduce his stress levels during these times that has to be a good thing.

    I see they come in various sizes, so i will head over and check the options.

    Thanks so much!

    Chris

    • The thunder vest actually works by putting gentle pressure on the chest. This is sort of like pressure massage, both for humans and animals. Results has been verified scientifically but nobody really knows WHY it works only that it does. The thunder vest is effective in 80 percent of cases and to further help your your dog you might want to take a look at this post: Why are dogs afraid of thunder? 9 tips to help your dog

  • My dog is fearful of most things on wheels and is fearful of walking along the streets would a thunder vest help at all with these issues

    • A thundervest might relieve your dog a little and make him/her a little calmer. The best way to deal with your situation though is to train your dog and give him/her confidence to face his/her fear. This process usually takes a fair bit of patience. It is important to expose your dog gradually to its fear and never push her when she is scared. When your dog is scared of something you have to remain really calm and appear to be in control. If you make a fuzz and pet and caress your dog, you are actually re-inforcing her beliefs that there is something wrong, so just show your dog that you are relaxed and in control and that there is nothing to be scared off.
      I have two things to suggest to you: first take a look at this post: Fearful Dogs – Training Tips
      I also think you should consider getting professional help in dealing with your dog. An online dog trainer would be a quick, easy and cheap way to learn how to deal with your dog’s fear. To learn more about online dog training and how it can help you, you can take a look at this post:
      Online Dog Training
      I wish you the best of luck and if there is anything more I can do to help you feel free to write again and I will do what I can to help you out.
      Cheers,
      Jojo

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