Friday, May 21, 2010


I got this idea to write about this product from someone who wrote about it on “The GSD Showcase" e-mail list that I own. I thought it sounded like a great product so I wanted to share it with my readers. Any time I think something sounds interesting and might be of interest to my readers, I like to share it with you.

Anybody know what a “Thundershirt is? Neither did I until one of my members wrote about it. Seems she was having difficulty (or should I say her dog was) with the often very scary “thunderstorm” and all the ruckus and hoopla surrounding it. Like many dogs, he would freak out because of the loud frightening noises that these storms generate. You know that most of the time dogs can detect a storm coming before we may even know about it. My house dog gets restless and paces a bit. When the thunder angrily slaps the sky with its ferocious ear splitting intrusion, she starts barking which in turn gives an invitation to her daughters to do the same thing. So that leaves “yours truly” not only being “serenaded” by mother nature, but three very loud and vocal German Shepherds! The next thing they hear is my big mouth, yelling out, “Alright, enough already!”

No one cowers or hides under the bed or gets to the point of having high anxiety. They’re just not overly fond of it. However, some dogs are very traumatized by it. They may pace, shake, bark, whimper, hide, jump on the door or whatever is by them at the time, etc. They are having a true anxiety attack. Some people have resorted to giving them a pill to calm them down.

So anyway there looks like there may be a better, more soothing way to help the anxiety ridden animal. Here’s the letter that my member sent to my list. I’m posting it here with her permission. Thanks Deb!!

Hi everyone,
Not everyone knows that my GSD Bull has terrible storm phobia. Well he does. Sad and scary since I live at the end of tornado alley in Mo USA. I have tried everything, Ace, (fights it upsets his tummy), DAP Collars and diffusers they help but we spend about $600.00 a yr. on them. Bull paces, pants, paws at us. 2 weeks ago I thought he was going to explode his heart or Tourq. Well a golden friend of mine told me about the Thundershirt for her golden and how it helped Gus. So I bought one for Bull it was only $36.00. Well let me tell you they work...Last night a storm came thru. Bull pawed at me (I was asleep). I saw and heard the lighting, put his thundershirt on, and he went into the tub (lays there during storms) and went to sleep. No pacing, no pawing for me to help him. I just hope it works this well during a really bad storm, but I am thinking it will cuz any storm to Bull is a bad storm. Just wanted share in case any one has a storm phobic dog. You all know how stressful it is on us and our poor terrified fur babies
PS big thank you to Bob and Shiela

I had to laugh when I first received Deb’s letter. After reading it, I said to myself: “What the heck is a Thundershirt?” I never heard of it. So I went on the web and investigated myself. This is what I found out about this product. This product is great for the dog that has a fear of thunder or fireworks, separation anxiety, travel anxiety, crate training, problem barking, reactivity, leash pulling, etc.

The Tundershirt has a patent-pending design. Its gentle constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited. The company says that based on surveys completed by over 1,000 users, over 85% of dogs show significant improvement in anxiety symptoms when using the Thundershirt.

Why does this work? Experts such as Dr. Temple Grandin believe that gentle pressure works to calm the dog because it has a calming effect on the nervous system. Using pressure to relieve anxiety has been a common practice for years. Thousands of veterinarians and dog trainers now recommend Thundershirts for their anxiety cases.

The Thundershirt can be used to other things as well. It is also a very useful tool for managing excitability or hyperactivity with strangers, on the leash, or in a training environment. The Thundershirt’s calming effect helps a dog to focus or refocus her energies in a more constructive direction, allowing training to be more effective.

The Thundershirt looks like a vest that you put on your dog. You secure the dog in the vest with Velcro straps. It comes in different sizes, so make sure you get the one that is made for your dog.

Now the Thundershirt may not be right for every dog. Some dogs may be too frightened having anything new and unfamiliar wrapped around it's body. That's why it's important to introduce him to this product before a thunderstorm comes. Get him familiar with it. Some dogs just might be too sensitive to wearing it.

Geez, just think if this works so well for the dog, I wonder how well it would work for the human that suffers anxiety attacks? Just think of the business it would take away from the manufacturers of those little yellow pills!

I have known those that have put a dog to sleep because it had issues with noise and storms. I wonder why it’s alright for a human to have nervous condition or anxiety attack and it’s not alright for the dog? Now there may be a way to help these animals cope better with their fears. Who knows what they go through? Perhaps their hearing is more acute than the average dog and it really hurts their ears! Who are we to judge? We just don’t know what physical and emotional trauma the animal is experiencing.

My rating: Thundershirt based on the reviews: ( 3 - 4)


  1. You can also do the same with a simple body wrap made from an Ace wrap. Make a loop that fits over the dog's head and sits at the base of his neck. Take the rest and loop around his hindquarters just above his hocks and tie back to neck loop. It should resemble a big figure 8 looped over your dog. I used an old lead rope with the snap removed and this was my favorite version of the 'magic rope' to calm my old shepherd down.

    Other versions involve crossing the wrap over and under the barrel portion of the dog. Google 'body wrap', dog or Tellington Jones body wrap for lots more tips. May make it so you can whip something up at home in an quick hurry when needed.

  2. WOW.....learn something new everyday. But alas, I'm all thumbs when it comes to trying to put anything together! Thanks for sharing this tip!

  3. They do have something very similar to that for children more specifically those with AD/HD and sensory issues. It is a vest and can wrap as tightly and some even include weights that can be added.