Thundershirt: A Review.

I have blogged about our sound-phobic collie in the previous post, ‘About Dogs and Fireworks’, here.

The Old Boy is not severely phobic. He doesn’t destroy things, but he does follow us from room to room painting and holding his tail between his legs. When he really can’t cope, he goes upstairs and hides in the shower.

We’ve always just managed his fear by ignoring his behaviour and letting him follow us around when he wants. I’ve tried a DAP diffuser, but it didn’t seem to help, and I don’t want to try drugs as his last blood test showed he has raised liver enzymes.

His behaviour doesn’t really  impact on us, but it’s clear that he’s scared by fireworks. So when I read about Thundershirts, I thought they might be worth a go.

A Thundershirt is basically a pressure wrap in the form of an easy-to-put-on dog coat. All the fastenings are velcro, and once you’ve read the instructions and put it on a couple of times, it’s easy enough. Slow, constant pressure has been shown to reduce anxiety in many species, and it seems it can help with sound phobic dogs.

I thought it might be difficult to get it on a panicky dog, but after The Old Boy had it put on once, on the Sunday before Halloween, he started to come downstairs looking for it as soon as it got dark. And when I had it in my hands, his tail would go from being tucked between his legs to wagging.

For him, it seems to have helped quite a lot. He isn’t panting and seems more relaxed. He’ll actually sleep beside us while the fireworks go off, but if we move rooms, he will often come too. Having said that, he spend most of November the 5th curled up in his bed sleeping happily, after a couple of trips downstairs to check we hadn’t abandoned him.

So, on the basis of our experience, I’d have to recommend the Thundershirt as worth a try. I don’t know how it would work in severely phobic dog, or one who suffers from any other phobia, but for our 10 year old collie cross with moderate sound anxiety, it’s helped a lot.

If you have a dog who doesn’t like loud noises, then it might be worthwhile seeing if Santa will bring them a Thundershirt in advance of the New Year celebrations.

I purchased a Large Grey Thundershirt from Amazon for £33.72. I would recommend you go for a smaller size if in doubt as the L size is a little loose on my 28 kg collie. If you do buy one, please come back and let me know what you think.




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