Do anxiety jackets work for dogs?

Are anxiety wraps effective? While there is little data confirming the efficacy of anxiety wraps, there is a lot anecdotal evidence that they do help some dogs. Pet owners often note a decreased anxiety to troubling stimuli when their dog wears a vest.

Although overcoming dog anxiety can be difficult, one of the most straightforward solutions is to put your dog in a Thundershirt. This all-natural, drug-free fix helps your four-footer feel secure.

Below, we’ll describe what a Thundershirt is, how it functions, and how to determine whether it’s a good choice for your dog.

Are Calming Vests Scientifically Proven To Work?

Deep pressure therapy, particularly for adults and children with autism, has been shown to reduce anxiety in patients, and this is what gave rise to the idea of calming vests for dogs. Hugs, thick blankets, or even body pressure from a therapy dog are all forms of deep pressure therapy that are used to help people unwind and get out of “fight or flight” mode.

In studies and surveys, only the ThunderShirt brand of calming wrap has been employed. The same vests made by various companies might not function the same way.

One study found that dogs who had not worn a ThunderShirt before experienced an increased heart rate shortly after putting it on. Once they habituated to it though, their heart rate decreased and they showed fewer signs of anxiety, such as lip licking, yawning, and staring at the door from which their owner exited.

According to a survey by ThunderWorks, the maker of the ThunderShirt, the calming vest is the most successful method of treating anxiety in dogs, with a rate of success of almost 82 percent. Drugs had a 76 percent success rate and environmental management had a 77 percent success rate, among other solutions. Owner-reported surveys are occasionally useful for understanding what real people are going through, but they are not nearly as reliable as scientific studies.

There was also a very small study of 16 dogs who were fitted with ThunderShirts during their ICU stay, and all but one dog experienced a significant decrease in signs of anxiety.

However, despite positive changes in body language and heart rate while wearing calming vests, dogs’ salivary urinary oxytocin and cortisol levels do not significantly increase.

Therefore, despite the fact that there may be visible improvements, your dog’s anxiety cannot be reduced by using a calming vest alone. It’s not a given that your dog will experience the same improvements as other dogs who have shown promising results.

When to Use a Dog Anxiety Vest

An anxiety vest’s calming effects are effective in a variety of circumstances. Put one on your dog during:

  • Thunderstorms
  • Fireworks
  • Shooting range noises
  • Loud neighborhood parties
  • Vert office visits
  • Traveling
  • Unfamiliar environments
  • Additionally, it is a fantastic substitute for medication for dogs with:

    The available evidence’s objective measures of anxiety are equally perplexing. In contrast to their counterparts who either wore a loosely fitting vest (to avoid applying pressure) or no vest at all, dogs treated with a pressure vest demonstrated a decrease in heart rate over time.

    Additionally, it is unknown what side effects could result from wearing a pressure vest, which could have an impact on how the data are interpreted. When wearing a vest, for instance, dogs in the studies spent less time lying down or looking in the direction of a door, but this ignores the possibility that the vest may make it more uncomfortable for the dog to lie down.

    Should owners of anxious or fearful dogs be advised to use pressure vests?

    The key takeaway is that pressure vests “might have small but beneficial effects on canine anxiety… and using them repeatedly may improve the likelihood of any benefit,” but that the owner shouldn’t expect “their dog’s anxiety to be fully alleviated or prevented, and it may have no beneficial effect at all.”

    Another study illustrated the requirement for a dog to adjust to wearing a vest by showing an increase in heart rate when the vest was applied. On the other hand, this also demonstrates that using a pressure vest can make some dogs anxious, at least in the beginning. This is something that veterinarians and owners should keep in mind before recommending or employing a vest.


    How long should a dog wear an anxiety vest?

    For the first few times, we advise taking off ThunderShirt every one to two hours to make sure everything fits properly and your pet is comfortable. Despite the rarity of irritation or other problems, it is always advisable to exercise caution. AND, if using the ThunderShirt for prolonged periods, make sure to take it off at least twice a day.

    Do ThunderShirts for dogs actually work?

    The verdict is in: compression can and does work to calm anxious dogs, and the ThunderShirt is perfectly designed to deliver that beneficial pressure. This conclusion is based on science, the opinions of experts, and our own experience. So yes, ThunderShirts do work for many dogs.

    Does the ThunderShirt work for dog anxiety?

    The results are comparable to those of swaddling a baby or applying a weighted blanket to an adult. One of the ways the ThunderShirt makes dogs and cats feel calmer is because studies have shown that the constant pressure can actually help to lower an elevated heart rate.

    Do vets recommend ThunderShirts?

    Many people use products made to give their dog a “therapeutic hug” when that occurs. The Anxiety WrapTM and the ThundershirtTM are the two most well-known brands on the market. They are actively advocated as a drug-free alternative by veterinarians, dog trainers, and canine behaviorists around the world.