Product Review: Thundershirt for Dogs

Most dogs hate loud noises, right? My dog is terrified of thunder and fireworks. And anything that might even remotely sound like them. We've tried medication, but I really don't like giving him doggie Valium - and even more importantly, it doesn't help much. I had heard of the Thundershirt for dogs, but didn't know anyone who had tried it. I checked it out online, and it seemed to have good reviews, so we bought one right before July 4th.

Thundershirt for Dogs product review

If you are unfamiliar with the Thundershirt, it's made for use with dogs who have anxiety during storms (or fireworks). It's a medium-weight stretchy "wrap" with velcro strips that you wrap tightly around the dog before the anxiety sets in. The pressure is supposed to feel like a "hug", and that in turn keeps them calm. Or calmer.

Going by the measurements on the box, we bought a size medium for Riley. When we got it home, I had a difficult time getting it on him. Of course, he wasn't cooperative at all. Then we kept turning the shirt around & around, trying to look at the directions and figure out how it was supposed to work, The flap kept flipping back over the Velcro and sticking, so we had to keep pulling it off, which upset Riley (the noise and the movement). Then when we finally figured it out, it was really snug. I know they're supposed to wrap snugly, but this was pretty tight. He didn't seem to be distressed by it, but it bothered me. After all this, I needed a Thundershirt of my own. Or maybe just a stiff shot of tequila.

Nothing "important" was covered, but for some reason, he didn't want to pee while he had it on. That was annoying, because trust me, once you get this thing on, you don't want to take it off until you absolutely have to...and you can see in the picture below that we were unable to adjust the flap well because the shirt was a little too small for Ri.

Later that night, we had a small storm. Riley ran upstairs and hid. He shivered and shook. And he didn't want to go downstairs or outside. All in all, he acted exactly like he does when he's not wearing the Thundershirt. You can see in the picture below that he's pretty anxious. Poor doggie. :-(

Yep. 80% of dogs show improvement. Whatever. I have one of the special 20% who resist conformity. Yay, me.

Luckily, the shirt came with a 90 day money-back guarantee - because it was $40 (actually we paid $32 because I used a 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath, & Beyond). As far as I could tell, it didn't calm him at all. Pretty much all it did was cause me anxiety while I was trying to put it on him!

So even though there seemed to be a good number of people who were happy with their Thundershirt, it's not something I could recommend based on my own experience. However, dogs (like people) are different, and what doesn't work for my dog might work for yours. It's great that they offer the money-back guarantee, so I would recommend buying it locally if possible. That way if it doesn't work out, you can easily return it and get your money back.

Have you tried the Thundershirt? How did it work for you? What do you do to keep your pets calm during storms and fireworks?

(Disclosure: I did not receive any sort of compensation for my review of this product. I purchased it myself, and all opinions are as always, strictly my own.)

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