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.
Soo 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.
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.
However…..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.