Has anyone used a ThunderShirt to calm a pet?

The first time I heard of the ThunderShirt was approximately 2 months ago when I applied for a house / pet sit. One of the questions I will ask during the application process is, “does your pet have any behavior issues, such as afraid of thunderstorms?” The homeowner responded yes, that her dog was afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks. She further stated that her dog wears a ThunderShirt for calming effects.

The creator/inventor of the ThunderShirt, Phil Buzzard created the ThunderShirt for his dog, Dosi who was afraid of thunderstorms/fireworks.

As stated in the below article, “ThunderShirts are garments designed for dogs and cats, that apply pressure to their torso in the hopes it produces a calming effect on them.”

Have you ever heard of the ThunderShirt? If so, did it work for your pet(s)? I have read that it works for some pets–not all.

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I’ve heard of them but never had experience with them. Second-, third- or fourth-hand scuttlebutt was that it did help somewhat. Again, no direct knowledge.

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A few years ago, I did a sit in Hawaii over Christmas and New Years. There were two dogs and the littlest one was scared of loud noises and had some type of shirt or jacket like that. I can’t remember the exact details. All families gather together and have fireworks at their homes at New Years. I asked the owner if I could instead wrap him in a blanket and cuddle him on my lap while the fireworks were going and she was fine with that. Selfish on my part, as I just loved cuddling this little guy and he loved snuggling in his favourite blanket. We were both happy. :heart_eyes:

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Hi @Snowbird Yes, exactly…that is how the creator of the ThunderShirt got his idea. He initially used a t-shirt to wrap around the dog’s chest with tape holding it in place. The idea is like swaddling a baby for comfort to reduce anxiety.

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I hadn’t heard of Thundershirt. I work with autistic children and I immediately thought of the weighted jackets or blankets some use to help them calm. I see the article made reference to this sort of thing. A great idea for an anxious dog during fireworks if they will tolerate it.

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I’ve never used one myself, but I volunteer at a dog rescue and a few of our fosters have used them on their foster dogs and had positive feedback. This weekend in the US there will be lots of loud fireworks for the 4th of July celebrations so it’s definitely worth looking into if you have a pup that is fearful of loud noises.

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My girlfriend uses often. Can’t make a judgment, because the dog hide herself in a closet. I have seen better results with some CBD specific for dogs.

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Hi @anon49809275 I hadn’t heard of the ThunderShirt until a few years ago when we were house sitting on the Caribbean island of St Vincent looking after a pup who had been swept away in catastrophic flooding a few years earlier but later rescued. He was terrified of rain and thunder especially, as you can imagine. The owner had discovered the Thundershirt and this pup found it so comforting and reassuring and stopped his trembling. As soon the rain began we’d pop the Thundershirt on and he’d then find a space to stay calm until the rain or storm passed. It was interesting to see too that he really wanted to be given his own space each time with no interaction from humans.

Have you seen the Temple Grandin movie? About the autistic lady whose innovations revolutionized practices for the humane handling of livestock? (Well worth watching but be prepared to cry!) I’m sure @Debbie will have seen it?

It reminds me a little of that. For humans we sometimes need holding to calm distress, (Temple Grandin created a special box for herself), but for animals there sometimes needs to be an alternative and I think in our pups case the ThunderShirt provided that.

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Hi @Vanessa-ForumCMgr Hi Wow, what a wonderful story of the pup rescued after being swept away in a flood on the Caribbean Island of St Vincent. That is also wonderful to hear that the ThunderShirt was helpful in calming the pup.

No, I have not seen the Temple Grandin movie? I googled it and it’s offered on Amazon Prime. I may watch it later today.

You mentioned, “For humans we sometimes need holding to calm distress”

As humans, we sometimes hug others for comfort during moments of happiness, sadness, or when we are excited. The ThunderShirt seems to mimic a ‘hug’ and offers a similar kind of comfort.

When COVID 19 first occurred, we were told to stay at least 6 ft from each other, which meant no hugging. It felt strange to see friends / family and not give them a hug. As time went on and the world slowly opened up, getting that initial hug was ‘like a breath of fresh air.’

Perhaps the ThunderShirt feels like that to some pet(s)–a breath of fresh air.

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Do let me know what you think about the Temple Grandin movie. I think she’s an amazing lady… she’s in her 70’s now and still doing Tedx talks.

I also use a t-shirt with the my scent, depending on the size of the furbaby. Sometimes I’ll cut a sleeve off and use that. Whatever helps. Some essential oils help too.

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Hi @Cristy Welcome to the Forum Community!

Regarding the t-shirt with your scent and cutting a sleeve off, how does that work? Does the pet wear your t-shirt and / or part of the sleeve?

Also, what type of pet(s)?

Hi @Vanessa-ForumCMgr I just finished watching the movie, “Temple Grandin”. I won’t give it away for anyone who has not yet watched the movie. I will though share that this was such a heartwarming and moving movie of Temple growing up with the challenges of autism. Yet, Temple’s mother saw her autism as a gift, not an embarrassment.

Acceptance, education, and patience are essential tools that anyone can use to interact with individuals who appear to be different from ourselves.

I will take unconditional respect for others and the humane treatment of animals any day of the week.

Thank you for recommending this movie; yes, there were moments when I had to hold back tears.

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Yes. Got one for my geriatric Shih Tzu and she loved it. Definitely helped her. The only time she didn’t wear it was when it got above 85 degrees. She wore it under her other coat in the cold months.

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I’m glad you enjoyed it @anon49809275 - I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t been moved by this story.

No truer words there and they apply to so many areas of life :pray:

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Yes I have one for my Golden Retreiver. He hates thunder and races up and down the hallways in terror really. Once his Thundershirt Is on he calms right down and goes to sleep.
He also wears it when going to the vet as he doesnt like them much either!!

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Hi @Janewithdogs. Welcome to the forum. What a great idea to use a Thundershirt when going to the vet. Our dog Misty would have loved that. :dog2: :heart: :people_hugging:

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I tried one with one of my Jack Russells, and no use whatsoever. Have tried tee shirts, calming drops, anti stress collars, etc etc. now I just let her be and she makes a nest under my bed

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Yes I had one for my dog who was terrified of storms. It did help. She was still scared but it was manageable and enabled her to stay in a room with me instead of shaking to pieces in a dark corner. The only thing that completely sorted it out was driving around in the car. Why that was safe I don’t know. But the thunder shirt was a reasonable 2nd place.

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My friend in the U.K. swore by them for her cocker spaniels. On a sit in Thailand we had one for the elderly Jack Russell we were sitting for. We tried it but it didn’t seem to help her. Her owner was also scared of storms. What actually worked, was us ignoring the storm and carrying on normally, not paying her any special attention. By the time we left she was calm in storms.