The Thundershirt: Product Review
January 17, 2012 at 12:14:01 pm | Posted by Julie B. in Dog Behavior, Pet Adoption, Pet CareTweet
This Blog was written by our guest contributor Julie and the Thundershirt is modeled by her handsome shepherd mix Howard.
I first heard about the Thundershirt at last year’s HSUS Animal Care Expo. The founder, Phil Blizzard, had set-up a booth in the exposition hall, and I among many others walked by his display with both interest and suspicion. The Thundershirt was a new pet product on the market. And like the name suggested, it was literally a shirt, and it claimed to be the best solution for dog anxiety- this seemed to be a tall order for dog apparel. I had an anxious dog, and I had tried everything to soothe him, with little luck. So needless to say, I was skeptical. But curiosity got the cat, and I stopped at the booth to ask him some questions. Phil explained to me that the idea for the shirt came from Temple Grandin’s teachings: animals are proven to be calmer and more relaxed when they have pressure around their torso. He had tested this theory out by simply tying a t-shirt around his dog, who was terrified of thunder (hence the name), and was amazed at the results. Tired of tying, and hoping to help more dogs than just his own, Phil created the Thundershirt.
I didn’t take one home with me that day, but about a month later I did. I had moved to a new house and my dog Howard’s stress was at an all time high as he was becoming acquainted with the new and different noises in our very new and different neighborhood. I decided it was time to give the Thundershirt a try. I ordered the shirt online and received it in just under a week. Howard was a size large; he weighs about 68lbs, just between a large and extra large, so I recommend measuring around the barrel of your dog’s chest to ensure you get the right size. After looking through the pamphlet which explains how to properly put the shirt on, I gave it a go. I strapped it around Howard, hugging his body like a form fitting vest you might see on John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. I couldn’t believe what I saw… nothing. There was no dancing in this vest, instead Howard stood still, longer than I’d ever seen him stand still, and just gazed ahead. His ears went back, he smiled, and he didn’t move. It was unbelievable; Howard’s behavior had instantly changed. After he’d stood still for a few minutes, he walked to his bed, sat on it, and stared at the wall with a huge smile on his face. Normally a dog who had his ears perked and was ready to react, with the shirt on he seemed happy and calm and relaxed, (so much so that I was tempted to try the Thundershirt on myself and see if it had the same affect on me).
Over the past month of owning the Thundershirt, every time I’ve put it on him, it’s the same result: a more relaxed dog. There have been times when he’ll still react (aka the Fourth of July), but in general his anxiety is mitigated while wearing the shirt. I’ve talked to a few others who’ve used the shirt and most have had the same experience that I’ve had with Howard. But dogs, like people, are not all the same. I can’t promise every dog will react this way, but if you have an anxious dog, you know how hard it can be, and this could help. Howard will still have his anxious moments, but what a wonderful feeling it is to know that I’m helping ease that stress, that he is happy and healthy. That’s what we all want for our pets. Plus, who doesn’t love a dog in a vest?
Is your dog terrified of the fourth of July fireworks? Now is the time to start trying Behavior Modification Therapy to help get your pet ready!
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