What He’s Wearing: Thunder Jacket Edition

Of course, I said yes when offered the chance to review a Thundershirt product.

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Two of the three current canine residents at Wayward House suffer from anxiety. The triggers are different.

For Luke, it’s stormy weather. Often, he realizes the weather is turning before we do. He paces. He pants like he’s having a heart attack. He glues himself to whatever human is in the house, following so close that he trips you. This might cause you to yell out, which frightens Luke even more.

Sometimes he just hides. He’ll stick his nose in a corner of the kitchen or climb into the bath tub where his panting sounds are amplified.

golden reteriver meme

A lot of times, we’ll just give Luke some Wal-finate, a generic antihistamine he often needs for his allergies, anyway. It makes him drowsy enough to forget about the storm.

But if I can avoid drugging my dogs, of course, I will. So, when a  thunder jacket for dogs by Thundershirt arrived in the mail, just as the skies began to darken, I immediately strapped that thing on Luke.

Boy, did he look good!

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The product did seem to work, as well. Although Luke definitely did not forget about the storm, he didn’t move around so much or pant his brains out.

He mostly just laid quietly in the bathroom.

And he didn’t seem to mind the jacket. I left the house for a couple of hours with him in it and returned to a happy dog who didn’t seem to have tried removing his outfit.

If I hadn’t seen the HBO movie Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes as an autistic woman who helps redesign livestock facilities to minimize stress on the animals, I would have thought the thunder jacket for dogs was baloney right from the start.

But there is a method behind the garment. Temple Grandin is a real person who realized that in times of stress she felt better when she was hugged tightly or squeezed herself into a tight area. She also noticed that cows seemed to get less freaked out when herded through a narrow chute.

The same idea is reflected in the thunder jacket, which fits very snugly on a dog, making him feel securely hugged, without restricting his movement.

Around the house, I found that the thunder jacket made both Luke and foster dog Charlie Machete calmer.

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While a chill Charlie Machete is always preferable around the house, where I really need that guy to cool out is in public.

His anxiety trigger is other people and dogs. That’s why I take him on walks with the KC Pittie Pack, where he can be part of the group in a structured, safe way.

For our special Coast to Coast Bully Walk on Pit Bull Awareness Day, I wrapped him up in the thunder jacket with the hope that he’d be extra relaxed for this extra special event.

Coast to Coast Bully Walk

Lookin’ good but actin’ naughty.

Unfortunately, instead of behaving like the preppy gentleman his thunder jacket and bandana made him appear to be, Charlie Machete acted like a buffoon.

He acted huffy toward two dogs in particular and pulled on his leash way more than usual. I was pretty embarrassed.

But I don’t blame the thunder jacket. We walked in a different location than usual, and there were many new dogs there Charlie Machete had never before smelled.

Also: When we got home, I realized that his gentle leader had chafed his face. That would make anybody irritable!

I left the thunder jacket on him to see if it helped at an adoption event later that day, but the event was canceled.

I’m glad to have the product, though. I will definitely keep using it on both big dogs to see for what other situations it may be helpful.

What makes your dog nervous?

Big thanks to onetime guest blogger Sonia Charry and PawPosse.com for hooking us up with a thunder jacket for dogs by Thundershirt!

Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for an honest review.

About Crystal K. Wiebe

I live with two formerly wayward dogs, and helping other dogs find new homes is my passion. I recently founded the company Beer Paws to help celebrate the relationship between people and pets.

Posted on November 3, 2012, in Dogs, Dogtography, Fostering, KC Pittie Pack and Friends, Luke, Machete, Reviews, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Dottie is horribly afraid of any loud noises, the dishwasher, the vacuum and several other things. I’ve thought about getting thundershirt for her but she usually just goes and hides under the bed in her cave and is fine after a bit. It’s her safe place.

  2. Thundershirts really are great. I highly recommend them for anxious dogs. Checkers was the same as Luke when it came to thunderstorms. And the shirt helped calm the shaking and panting and whining. But you’ll need to use some discretion with your senior dogs. Miss D has spinal osteoarthritis and the compression of the shirt seemed to increase her back pain.

  3. I’ve been using and selling Thundershirts for several years now, and mostly they are great! However, I discourage from thinking they are a ‘fix-all’ for behavioral problems. They aren’t. As you saw, they do a good job of taking the edge off anxiety driven behaviors.I find they work best situationally, in specific circumstances, where there is one stimuli pushing the dog over the edge – thunder, fire works, maybe car rides. I think they work less well, for overall anxiety – like those walks and dogs ratcheting Machete up. Multiple sources of stimulus, tend to overwhelm things.

    Great reference to Temple Grandin too. I always explain it like swaddling a baby or T-touch, hitting a bunch of acupressure points all at once.

  4. We don’t get the Thunder jacket here but it would certainly work for some dogs. Tellington Touch has a way of bandaging animals when they are nervous or fearful (especially with things like thunder) and it does work. Wish I’d known about things like this when I had my previous dog who was so scared of thunder that she suffered a stroke during one storm.

  5. My dog growing up despised when there was hunters on our farm – Oli was our great protector! Great jacket for the doggies – poor dude hanging out in the tub!

  6. Thanks for the review! Glad to hear the thunder jacket was helpful. I’ve used it on my Nala many times and LOVE it.

    Temple Grandin is a genius.

  7. After looking back to this review from the aisles of Costco, we bought one of these for our mini-Aussie…looking forward to testing it out!

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