Feb 01 2012
I have two Labradoodles. Maggie and Fiona are littermates and they are seven years old now. They have always both had anxiety issues to some degree. Fiona still can’t ride in the car without drooling about a gallon. Both of them are anxious when they experience loud noises, like the vacuum cleaner, thunderstorms, fireworks, local artillery firing, and other such noises. During Christmas had a contractor doing some work in our house. They often used rotary saws, shop-vacs and the dreaded nail gun. Then New Year’s Eve came. Everyone (including us) was setting off fireworks and that just finished poor Maggie off. She trembled for two days and she was beside herself unless she was sitting next to someone on the couch or the chair (which is usually strictly against the rules). The following week didn’t seem to bring her much relief. So as I always do when I have a problem, I turned to the internet to see what I could learn. I came across a website advertising The Thundershirt. The Thundershirt is a pressure garment that applies the same principles as pressure garments designed for people with autism and other sensory perception disorders. The product’s website offered a lot of good educational information about the different uses for the product. Additionally, they offered a 45-day money back guarantee. I decided it was definitely worth investigating.
I shopped around on the internet and found the shirt offered on a variety of pet specialty websites, major pet store websites like PetCo and Petsmart, on Amazon, and directly from The Thundershirt website. I have not had the opportunity to physically check Petsmart and Petco stores’ inventory, but the websites imply that the item can only be purchased on line.
The product comes in three colors – plain heather-gray, and pink or blue rugby-striped. The product seems to be price controlled because everywhere I checked, the gray one was $39.95 and the striped versions were $44.95. The only variable seems to be whether the vendor charges shipping. I opted to purchase mine from Amazon because I shop there a lot and it was an Amazon Prime-eligible item. My experiences with Amazon have always included super-fast shipping and I wanted this product right away. I chose the pink rugby-stripe for my Maggie. Within 48 hours, I had The Thundershirt in my hands. I was so excited that I opened the package, rushed through the instructions and put it right on her. I didn’t realize until later that I was supposed to introduce her to the shirt gradually, by offering her a snack delivered on top of the shirt. (?) I just stuck it on her and hoped for the best. I could not be happier with this product. The improvement was immediate and it has continued to work in a number of anxiety inducing environments since we purchased it.
When I was initially researching the product, I read this blurb from The Thundershirt website:
Thundershirt is a proven solution for dog anxiety. With over an 80% success rate, Thundershirt’s gentle, constant pressure can eliminate fear of thunder, fireworks, separation anxiety, car anxiety, problem barking and more. Anytime a dog is anxious, fearful or over-excited, Thundershirt’s gentle, constant pressure can have dramatic results. Drug-Free. Easy to use. Money-back guarantee. Our mission is to help relieve the suffering of the millions of dogs dealing with anxiety and fear issues. In doing so, we hope to strengthen the bonds between dogs and their families, reduce the number of abandoned dogs, and help shelters and rescue groups place dogs in need of families.
The Amazon website offered a lot of the same information, but offered this additional promotional information.
With its patent-pending design Thundershirt’s gentle constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious fearful or over-excited. It does not require training to use simply put the Thundershirt on your dog when they are feeling anxious and the constant pressure will relieve their anxiety. For more complicated anxiety cases we recommend using Thundershirt as part of a behavior modification program. TheThundershirt is also a very useful tool for managing excitability or hyperactivity with strangers on the leash or in a training environment. Thundershirt’s calming effect helps a dog to focus (or refocus) her energies in a more constructive direction allowing training to be more effective.
I cannot say enough positive things about my experiences with this product. My dogs have suffered anxiety. Only recently did it become so overwhelming that I was compelled to seek relief for my poor pooch. Though I cannot speak personally to the product’s effectiveness with other behavioral issues like barking, jumping and leash-pulling, I can assure you that it has been a Godsend for Maggie’s anxiety. I enthusiastically recommend this product for anyone whose dogs suffers from any sort of anxiety.
– Sara G.