The idea seems almost too simple to work; that a constant gentle pressure "hug" could calm an anxious pet's nervous system. Based in part by the work of Temple Grandin, the Thundershirt serves this purpose for pets who are afraid of loud noises (fireworks and thunder
) and other anxiety-based behaviors.
It is an easy, relatively low-cost, and drug-free product to try out on pets who suffer from loud noises. My own dog slept through fireworks wearing it, so I will definitely continue to use the Thundershirt as needed for anxious times.
Photo Gallery: Sophie wearing the Thundershirt
This product is based in part on the work by Temple Grandin
, noted author, Doctor of Animal Science, and professor at Colorado State University. The thought is that gentle pressure provided by this shirt calms the nervous system. Does it work? I tried it on my own dog Sophie, who suffers from loud noise phobias.
We adopted Sophie
as a 6 month old dog from the shelter. Sophie is now 8 years old. Noise phobias - fear of thunder, fireworks, gun shots - have been something we have dealt with from the start, intensifying as she has gotten older. (We also deal with separation anxiety, but that is another topic.)
Last year, I was ready for the 4th of July. We tried out the DAP collar
, and had amazing results. My previously noise-phobic dog was now sleeping through thunderstorms after wearing one collar for 30 days. It was so effective that I was unable to fully evaluate the Thundershirt, but did create a photo gallery of Sophie wearing the Thundershirt
In fact, the DAP collar worked so well over the ensuing months that I became complacent. We headed into this year's fireworks season unprepared.
The fireworks seemed even crazier this year. I did not have a DAP collar. Sophie became upset, pacing, panting, whining, wanting to hide in the closet. I forgot I had the Thundershirt and made a makeshift one
. I think it helped.
Then, on the next night, I remembered the Thundershirt and put it on Sophie. It fits perfectly in all the right places. It is well-constructed and snug without being too tight to cause discomfort. She laid down right away. That was a great first step.
Then it was time for bed, fireworks still going on (ugh). I left the Thundershirt on Sophie. She fell asleep, which meant I could, too.
The real test was at 5am. We awoke to a continual bam-bam-bam. More fireworks. I wasn't sure at first though, because there was Sophie, sound asleep. This is not typical
for her. In a situation like this, she would be nudging me awake, whining and pacing. She was slumbering away. Whew.
This is an encouraging test of the Thundershirt that I was unable to do last year, and I would recommend this product to those pets who suffer from loud noise phobias and other anxiety-based problems, either alone (mild cases) or in conjunction with other therapies.
Thundershirt web site