on November 6, 2009
Our older dalmation has severe thunderstorm anxiety. She shivers, hides, pants, and whines. It is terrible! I was another skeptical shopper, but willing to try the Thundershirt after reading about it in my Yahoo group. Some people in the group were getting good results.
I am happy to say that we have also had good results. Now, that doesn't mean it's an instant and 100% cure. It has lessened our dog's anxiety during storms by about 75%. She is still anxious, but she doesn't tremble, pant, whine, or hide. She will still pace some, but mainly she just lays down and looks unhappy until the storm is over. So it's a huge improvement.
I read another review about how tight the shirt is, so much so the reviewer worried about the product's safety. All I can say is that I think they bought the wrong size. We adjust the shirt so that it is snug, not tight. Our dog didn't like the shirt at first, and looked at us like we had lost our minds when we put it on her the first time. But she has gotten used to it. She even stands and looks at us when a storm is approaching, waiting for us to get her shirt.
We live in South Florida, the lightning capital of the world. So we have frequent strong thunderstorms. The Thundershirt has helped us get through this last rainy season with less problems and a happier dog. I think it's worth trying and I am glad we did.
on February 26, 2012
OK - currently I'm rating this 4 stars, but I may come back and change this depending on how things continue to go.
For some background - I have a chihuahua mix who is deeply attached to me. He has issues with separation anxiety and a hyper-aggressiveness toward other dogs, particularly large dogs. If he so much as sees a dog or anything else that may be threatening (a person walking by or a noise downstairs) he will start barking as ferociously as a chihuahua can bark. It's problematic for me because he is an agility dog and I have to constantly be aware that he may try to attack the dogs near me at any moment he feels like they're encroaching on his territory (namely, me). I've done obedience training with him since he was 10 weeks old and he's a SUPER well behaved dog aside from these issues.
After researching online, I came to realize that he may be suffering from some form of anxiety, which is causing him to act out because he feels threatened. Thus, I came upon the Thundershirt.
I'm really not the type of person to purchase items that seem gimmicky, and admittedly, this shirt screams gimmick. However, with nearly 600 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 star rating, I had to try it. Anything is worth trying if it will remedy a big issue in my dog's life. I don't want him to feel like he has to protect me all the time as that causes undue stress.
So, after receiving the shirt, I opened the box and was greeted with a very cute plastic packaging for the shirt. Almost like a manilla envelope except see-through. The shirt was very well made and soft to the touch..but I was more concerned with testing it out rather than inspecting the intricacies of how it was made.
I put it on my dog after taking a moment to think about the logic behind the velcro straps and it fit him nice and snug. I ordered an extra small - my dog is about 8 lbs but very lanky and it fit him perfectly. I opted to go with the sizing on the Thundershirt website vs. the Amazon website as I've been burned by Amazon having improper sizing info in the past.
I was debating on an XXS vs. a XS.
For example - on Amazon an XXS states:
Size XXS for dogs less that 12 pounds and with a chese size of 9" - 13.5"
Whereas the Thundershirt website states:
Size Chest Size Weight
XXS 9"-13.5" < 7 lbs.
That's a HUGE difference. So I highly recommend using Thundershirt sizing to decide on which is best for your dog.
Here is the complete chart:
Size Chest Size Weight
XXS 9"-13.5" < 7 lbs.
XS 13"-18" 8-14 lbs.
S 16"-23" 15-25 lbs.
M 18"-26" 26-40 lbs.
L 24"-32" 41-64 lbs.
XL 31"-40" 65-110 lbs.
XXL 38"-50" > 110 lbs.
OK so regarding the efficiency of this shirt.
I tested it outdoors with my dog on our front driveway just absorbing the sounds and sights of a normal neighborhood.
My dog laid out in the sun and didn't seem reactive to much, whereas he normally would be. A neighbor walked their dog relatively near us, and my dog barked a little but he didn't run after the dog despite not being on a leash. Usually he won't leave my side but it can be unpredictable when it comes to dogs.
The next day I took him out again and this time I forgot to put the shirt on. He was more on edge, and when a neighbor brought out their little dog, my dog went crazy and went running up to their dog barking. I grabbed him and took him straight inside.
The next day, I tried it with the shirt again. This time children came running by, other dogs, etc. and he didn't move.. he actually just lay on his side and didn't react much. He might give a little bark here and there, but no where near his normal level of intensity.
I tried his shirt during his advanced obedience training. He's in a class with all large dogs and the first day (without the shirt)he was shaking and just terrified. He would bark everytime the other dogs seemed to be a safe enough distance away, and wouldn't perform anything in front of the class since he was so scared. (sometimes I think my dog is bipolar). The second day of class (with the shirt) he was way more calm and less scared of the other dogs. We walked by 3 large dogs and he didn't make a peep. He performed in front of the class and was just more mellow overall, although he is still shakey and seems scared.
I gave it 4 stars because I DO see improvement in my dog and it has only been about a week or so. However, I feel that although it takes the edge off him, I don't feel like the videos they post showing miraculous changes just by putting on the shirt are accurate. Perhaps there are dogs that this effect will happen, but I would consider it a rarity rather than the norm. I would have preferred more accurate marketing that really stresses the need to do behavioral modification in addition to the shirt. They do mention this, but its very brief compared to the marketing showing it as a miracle shirt.
And after reading so many reviews, it seems I'm not alone in this shirt being part of a process rather than a fix.
Overall, I recommend it and I'm going to try it with my friend's dog who is VERY hyper and see if it solves any issues with him.
EDIT: The shirt worked miraculously on my friend's dog. The dog is high strung, paces, jumps up on people and overall just "starving" for attention. Won't let you pet any other dogs and has to be the center of attention constantly, which wears my friend out.
We put the shirt on him and he just calmed down completely to normal dog levels. He lay down, relaxed.. yet, when the other dogs wanted to play, he still had energy to play. I played fetch with my dog in front of him and he just lay down and watched and didn't have the urge to go get the ball himself, which he normally would do.
We took the shirt off him to see if maybe he was just in a mellow mood and he immediately got hyper and started pacing everywhere again. She's going to be buying one of these shirts because it made such a big difference in how he behaved.
on October 20, 2011
I thought I wrote a review about the sizing but it's not in My Account, so I'm not sure what happened with it. My dog was between sizes (he is roughly 25 lbs and 21" around the chest). I called Thundershirt Customer Support and they suggested ordering by weight. Well, he generally weighs 25, sometimes more, often times less (24 - 28 range). They suggested ordering the size he weighs "most often". So I got the medium. It was way too big for him. I fitted it as tightly as possible and it was snug, but barely so. And it was long enough that he couldn't have urinated with it on. I returned it to Amazon (they don't do exchanges on this product) and re-ordered a size small. It fits fine. (An aside, but that's another great thing about Amazon. The return was so easy, just click through the web site to my order, print out the pre-paid label they provide, drop it at the post office and done.)
Now the amazing part. My dog, Baxter, BARKS at EVERYTHING. He also has terrible anxiety attacks, esp. separation anxiety. I first put the shirt on Baxter last night. I hid some food under it first and let him find it, and then put the shirt on him. No balking at all (unusual for Bax). My husband was cleaning the ceiling fan before our twice-a-year switch of air direction and some dust from the tops of the blades fell to the floor, so he got out the vacuum. Normally Baxter freaks out at the vacuum cleaner. Barks, whines, runs into the bedroom and hides under the bed, go batty if the vacuum comes into the same room as him etc. Last night, he just laid on his "throne" and didn't even move (we have an ottoman covered with an old tablecloth that is his preferred resting place). I took a picture and am going to try to put it on this site. You can see the vacuum cleaner cord plugged into the wall in front of him and he is just laying there looking at it while my husband was vacuuming. Totally amazing. I'll be curious to see how it affects the barking thing, but he hasn't barked yet! ***Added later same morning: Baxter fell asleep on the back of the couch, and I started a DVD workout. He usually gets agitated when I start exercising, but he never even woke up. I took a picture of him about halfway through the workout (I don't exercise with a camera - I paused the DVD) and I'll post the pic. He was even sleeping right in front of the ss speaker.
I took it off of him for the night, bc I wasn't sure about him sleeping in it. I haven't read whether others do or do not leave it on their dogs overnight, so I did not and can't speak to that. And he doesn't generally bark at night bc he's plastered up against me (Baxter-er the Plaster-er). I was really skeptical when I read the reviews, but now that I have it, I'm a convert! And as a reminder, I'd save the original packaging in case you run into a size issue as it makes the return that much smoother.
***Nov 7 Update*** Baxter still likes his shirt, but some of the newness has worn off, although he isn't as anxiety-ridden as he was pre-Thunder. I began integrating some reward-type "training" when he has the shirt on, and I'm hoping that will be associated with the shirt and get him back to where he was when we first got the shirt.
on May 24, 2013
I have a six year old golden retriever I have had since he was a puppy. For years I have been bothered by his anxiety when it thunders, storms, rains, winds come up, I mean you make a loud noise he shakes all over the place. He will run to you try to hide behind you, dig under the pillow you are laying on even if its the dead of night, once a year he gets really bad diarriah when the first thunderstorm of the year comes. It's just terrible, panting drooling, really literally shaking. I never thought there would be anything to help him! EVER. I didn't want to sedate him because I mean it's not good for him. So I bought this on a whim and it works! He runs to laundry room when it starts to thunder and he sits and waits for me to put it on him, if i don't notice (which is a first because I always dreaded storms) he will get me and lead me to it. He loves it, I love it, win win!
on July 6, 2010
Ever since my Ellie was a puppy...now 9, loud noises, like fireworks and thunderstorms are a problem.
She goes into complete panic mode.
This 80lb Shepherd mix looses her doggy mind, trying to climb in anything that has a door. The fridge if we are looking for something, the cupboards even the dishwasher, for example.
Tried doggy downers, but once she is in that panic she will not chew a tablet.
We live in Florida, where a wicked thunderstorm could pop up without warning.
So we purchased this shirt to see if this might be some salvation for us, and relief for the dog.
Well...she lets us put it on her with no fuss. I let her give it a good sniff over before attempting to put it on her.
She actually likes the shirt and shows some sign of excitement when it's presented.
Now during storms, and this took a couple of times, She seems to not to try to climb in the cupboards or have that look of abject terror in her eyes.
Now she gets the shirt...goes into the small guest bathroom. and lies on the floor in the the dark.
Don't get me wrong, there still is allot of pacing and panting before the final result. but it is more positive behavior.
I wouldn't call it a miracle cure, but it seems to help a take the edge off.
on August 11, 2012
Wow, this actually works! After reading some glowing reviews of this product, I was a little skeptical - it sounded too good to be true. But this is the second day my Lab cross has worn his shirt, and I am impressed with how different his behavior is when he has it on. He was a shelter dog and has always been very hyper, with lots of panting, inability to settle down, and licking to the point of creating sores and hot spots (no thunder or other loud noises required). My vet and I have ruled out all kinds of physical causes, and he's still having problems despite careful attention to getting him lots of exercise and positive training for basic obedience and fun behaviors ( e.g., changed work schedules to allow more time in the morning for more exercise). The only time when he would stop the compulsive licking and panting is when I would sit on the floor so he could "lay in my lap" (at 68 pounds, he doesn't fit, but he tries). We had used a soft cone for when we were trying to get a bad sore to heal, which was a little calming, but that was not something he could wear for long periods of time. I didn't want to medicate him, but was running out of other approaches. So when I saw this, I decided to give it a try.
Choosing the size was a little tricky. My guy is in the border zone between the L and the XL, so wasn't sure which size to get. Since it is supposed to fit snugly, I decided to try the L size; if that didn't work, I could send it back for the larger size. These things do have a lot of size adjustability built into the design, and this one fit well. The fitting instructions that came with the shirt were easy to follow. I followed their suggestion of introducing the shirt during a period of relative calm, and with some treats. We've had the shirt on and off several times, and he doesn't shy away from it like he did the cone. In fact, he is starting to stick his head through the neck (after getting the chest strap adjusted the first time, we leave that one fastened since he isn't a big fan of the Velcro noises). He stands still for me to fasten the shirt around his body - quite significant considering how hyper he was. Maybe it is my imagination, but he almost seems to breathe a sigh of relief after his shirt is fastened. I noticed a change the first time he had the shirt on. The panting stopped, his demeanor is calmer, and the licking is almost completely gone. So far, he has been wearing the shirt for a few hours at a time, taking it off when we go out to walk or play. It seems like there might be some calming effect that lingers for a while after removing it, but it is too early to really be sure. For now, we'll keep his shirt on more than off, and see how he does (the fit around his front legs and belly allows plenty of room, so there doesn't appear to be any irritation, and he has air-conditioning for when it gets hot). It's still early, but I am optimistic that I will finally have a dog that is able to relax and not continually give himself skin sores with his licking. If this works, the Thundershirt will become a line item in my dog budget.
One of my dogs is a real "severe weather alert system." He starts getting anxious long before the actual thunderstorm gets close, and his crazy behavior increases as the weather approaches. Panting, pacing, trying to climb on the furniture and us---all while the other two dogs sleep calmly through any disturbance. Our only solution was to isolate and babysit him in a windowless media room until the storm passed, and at 3am nobody wants to be that babysitter.
I bought this Thundershirt in size XXL, as my dog is about 130 lbs. He is apparently a lot longer than thicker, though, and this size is big on him. I would definitely suggest relying on the dog's chest measurement more than just weight when ordering. I was still able to get it pretty snug on him, and later performed a little seamstress work to get it to a custom fit. The material is like a t-shirt and he seems comfortable in it.
The first time the shirt was on (and I gave him a treat), I noticed a definite decrease in his anxiety. There was plenty of rolling thunder, flashing lightning, and hard rain the first time we used it, but instead of constantly pacing and jumping on me, he was willing to lay on the floor quietly. He was still concerned about the storm, with some panting, but he wasn't out-of-control nuts. I left the shirt on him until the storm was well past; when I took it off he was happy and I gave him another treat.
We used this about a dozen times now, and I can say it has been a major improvement in his storm behavior. If the weather isn't too extreme, he will now actually lay on the floor and we can stay in bed. If the storm is extreme, I still have to take him to the windowless room but when we get there he is calm and I can still catch some sleep on the couch. So overall, a success for us although not perfect.
on April 7, 2013
I have a rescue dog that is painfully shy and afraid of ALL noises. She wore this vest for the first few days that I had her and it made all the difference. It calmed her down and she felt more secure, still afraid of noises and newness but not terrified. Used it on my other rescue who dislikes fireworks and he was much calmer also.
on January 18, 2012
We bought three of these for our three rescue dogs who have nervous barking issues. They go crazy when people come over or even pass by. They bark when there's the slightest noise. It's really jarring for us and our neighbors.
We put the Thundershirts on and it made no difference. None at all. The dogs went crazy when someone came to the door and they seemed to bark even more than usual at noises.
We decided we'd return the Thundershirts the next day, but I told my husband I wanted our dogs to sleep with the shirts on.
Our dogs are terrible in the morning when our neighbors are leaving for work. They bark at people coming down the stairs or getting their mail or starting their cars or moving garbage cans.
But this morning.... NOTHING! Not a peep! They slept right through it.
Once they were awake and walking around they barked a little but I think the difference is that the barking that was born of nervousness has now become more of a habit.
So we're working with the shirts to eliminate the underlying nervousness and using treats (positive reinforcement) to reward the calmness.
For those who find the Thundershirt does not work on their dogs, it may be that the shirt is just not a simple fix for your dog. You may need to use the shirt in conjunction with some behavior mod to shake old habits.
I want one for myself, actually.
I'm going to post this review a couple different places so that others don't give up too early but experiment a little.
on November 29, 2012
Just got this last night. By the way, if your dog is at the bottom end of the weight requirement, get the smaller size. If it is too big it won't work! I had to exchange one. I have two anxious dogs. A boston and a boxer. As soon as I put it on my boston he IMMEDIATELY layed down on the floor where he was and went to sleep. It was kind of humorous how relaxed he became. Like he took a pill. As for our boxer, when we put it on him he just froze in place and stood completely still. After about three minutes he slowly started walking around. Because the boxer is the more anxious of the two, I think it took some time for him to settle into it. He eventually went to his bed and laid down. The boxer usually runs to the window to bark at passing cars or people all evening long. Last night, he only went once to the window and didn't even bark. He just walked over, took a look then came back. Both dogs were in their beds by the end of the night sleeping. They aren't comatose, though. If I call them they will come over alert but not shakey/panicky/excited. They usually follow me around the house and they didn't. They just laid in their bed while I walked through the house. I'll update later on this week to see if it continues to work. So far, impressed.