The Thundershirt for dogs: Does it Work? - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

The Thundershirt for dogs: Does it Work?


MADISON (WKOW) -- It promises to help with your dog's anxiety and behavior problems without going to the vet or using medications.

We tested the Thundershirt on a dog who has problems with barking, noise anxiety and separation anxiety.

"Our dog's name is Magnus. I got him back in 2008 and he's always been, I guess what you would call spirited," said dog owner Ann Jamison.

"A couple of years ago we had a child and since then he's gone from more spirited to just a lot of anxiety, a lot of barking, jumping."

The Thundershirt promises to help calm your dog's anxiety once you put it on.

Directions say to wrap the flap under the dog's torso, fasten the Velcro, then wrap the neck straps around the front of the dog and secure. The shirt should be snug, but not restricting.

Dane County Humane Society Canine Behavior Supervisor, Bridget Pieper, uses the Thundershirts with dogs on a regular basis. The Dane County Humane Society has about 10 Thundershirts donated from the public.

"We use them on dogs that we feel are having a particularly difficult time in the shelter environment. While the shelter is not great for any dog, there are some that struggle more than others," said Pieper.

Pieper said the Thundershirt can also be used for dogs who experience aggression, health concerns and car sickness.

Experts compare the experience for the dog to swaddling an infant.

"I have heard reports from owners that have used them on their dogs that have not noticed a change right away, but over the course of several weeks or months they see a generally decrease in stress and anxiety in their dog," said Pieper.

Pieper says the Thundershirt doesn't help every dog that has anxiety problems.

"I think the Thundershirts certainly do help some of the dogs in that situation, but for others I don't see a dramatic change in their behavior," said Pieper.

While it may not work for every dog, Pieper gives the Thundershirt four out of four stars because she says if your dog has anxiety, it's worth a try.

"This day and age, we all got a lot on our plate and when our dog is presented with a problem that we need to fix, your dog is going to benefit and the cost is relatively small," she said.

Jamison said the Thundershirt was hard to get on Magnus, especially when he's barking and not being cooperative.

As for Jamison's rating on our scale? "I think I would give it 3.5 because it seems from the time here it's fantastic and it's working really well with him," she said.

Jamison said she would like to test the product out for a few months to see the long-term effects.

The Thundershirt comes in seven sizes from small to large. You pick the size of the shirt based on your dog's weight. It costs about $40. Thundershirts come in sizes for dogs and cats. You can order online or buy the product at a local dog supply store.

Click here for more information about the Thundershirt or click here for more information about anxiety research and the Thundershirt.

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