– The Daily Dog has uncovered a product known as Thundershirt, which is designed to calm dogs during thunderstorms. We had been unaware of this product previously, so thought we would investigate further to see if it works as promoted.
Our own dogs were raised in the countryside, and were exposed to the loud noises of country life such as farm machinery, trucks, gunfire and so on from day one. We believe as a result, (and due to the humans around them not reacting nervously or fearfully when such noises occurred) our dogs quickly became accustomed to such noises; seeing them as part of everyday life. In fact during one memorable thunderstorm, we checked on our (then) very young dogs in their kennels, only to see them flat on their backs in the torchlight, legs in the air, fast asleep! However we know the experience for many dog owners is not so happy when it comes to thunderstorms and their dogs. In fact one of the team members at pups4sale recounts an afternoon he remembers as a young boy where his mother was called on to comfort a neighbour and her Labrador as a thunderstorm approached, only to find both neighbour and dog hiding under the kitchen table! As many dog owners can attest, thunderstorm anxiety is a very real phenomenon, and any product (preferably drug-free) that helps is welcome.
As part of our research into the problem, we discovered the Thundershirt is based on the principles espoused by the renowned animal behaviourist, Miss Temple Grandin of America. (If you haven’t seen the movie of the same name, including an amazing performance by Claire Danes in the title role, do yourself a favour and rent this great family movie over Christmas). The Thundershirt works by applying a constant, gentle pressure on the dog’s torso, which results in an immediate and dramatic calming effect on the dog. Sounds too good to be true? We thought it might be until we discovered Temple Grandin’s research was behind it. Indeed the reviews we have seen by Vets around the world who have used the vest on their own dogs bears out the regard we hold for the work of Miss Grandin. The reviews indicate when formerly fearful dogs are exposed to thunderstorms, fireworks, gunfire and other loud noises, they are virtually a different dog once wearing the vest. As one Vet said, “…Then it was time for bed, fireworks still going on (ugh). I left the Thundershirt on (my dog) Sophie. She fell asleep, which meant I could, too.The real test was at 5am. We awoke to a continual bam-bam-bam. More fireworks. I wasn’t sure at first though, because there was Sophie, sound asleep. This is not typical for her. In a situation like this, she would be nudging me awake, whining and pacing. She was slumbering away. Whew…” (This account is representative of the reviews we read during our study.)
At pups4sale we’d be interested to hear from people who have used the Thundershirt or similar products. and your experience in terms of the results they did or did not achieve for you and your dog. Next week we’ll be following up this Post with additional practical tips to assist dogs (and their owners!) during the thunderstorm season, whether you have a product like the Thundershirt available or not.
(Editor’s note: Although we have raved over the work of Miss Grandin, pups4sale has not sought nor received any financial inducement for the review of the product featured in this Post.)