‘Thunder shirt’ – Veterinary view

Thunder shirt‘ is a snug- fitting coat marketed to assist dogs with overcoming anxiety including thunderstorm phobia, separation anxiety etc.

It works presumably by providing alternative stimulation to the dog’s brain, interfering with fearful stimulae of  such as the sound of the thunderstorm. By the way, that’s how acupuncture is believed to work too.

The bad news is that ‘Thunder shirt’ will not cure your dog’s phobia of thunders. Especially in more severe cases (such as dogs tearing through wire fences and breaking doors) you will need to tackle the problem from more angles then one, which will probably include medication and behaviour lessons.

The good news is for a mildly fearful dogs the shirt could be a really useful tool.

The points to remember are:

  • Put the shirt on the dog in advance – don’t wait for the storm to start.
  • Don’t ‘reward the dog for bad behaviour by giving excessive attention. I find just holding the dog quietly works best.
  • If the dog is still stressing, don’t just suffer in silence. You Vet and you dog trainer can help a great deal.

About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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