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how to use thundershirts to help dogs with noise anxiety

Will a ThunderShirt Calm My Anxious Dog?

When your pet suffers from fear, anxiety, or stress (FAS), you’d give anything to find a solution to relieve their suffering (and yours too).

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I’m here to tell you I’ve tried LOTS of products designed to help pets that are mildly to massively stressed by things like strangers, loud noises, storms, separation from owners, or visiting the vet’s office.

I know from my own experience trying to help pets with fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) that pet parents don’t always know where to turn to find relief for their furry friends. I wanted to do something to help as many families as possible find the resources they need to help their pets. This led to the creation of Pet Anxiety Awareness Week (PAAW). This year, PAAW will be from June 25 to July 1.

By devoting an entire week to this difficult and heart wrenching issue, I hope not only to make pet parents more aware of the problem but to give them everything they need to help their furry family members. PAAW is all about sharing experiences, resources, education, and most of all hope!

I found a new solution several years ago that I’m excited to remind you about. It works great on many dogs AND cats that suffer from FAS. But first, let me give you some background.

Diagnosing Fear, Anxiety, and Stress

As you may know by now, Chilly started exhibiting signs of noise anxiety at about age 4. During noise events like thunderstorms or fireworks, he would begin to tremble mildly and look for a place to hide. As soon as the storm blew over or the boom-pow celebrations stopped, he returned to his normal, happy self.

First, it needs to be said that at the first sign your pet may be suffering from fear, anxiety, or stress you should visit your veterinarian. This is important because you want a veterinary diagnosis so you can begin the process of finding a solution or a way to help you manage their stress. Different pets will have different things that trigger their anxiety, and for some it may be difficult to identify exactly what is causing it. No matter what is causing the anxiety, though, most will probably display some of these common symptoms.

Pets with FAS may have symptoms such as:

  • Panting or shaking
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Destructiveness
  • Hiding
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Aggression
  • Self-harm

Although dogs may be more apt to display more obvious symptoms, cats can suffer from FAS as well. In fact, veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lisa Radosta says that “Cats have as much fear, anxiety, and stress as dogs in the home environment (but) cat owners are less aware of FAS because a hiding cat may not seem like a stressed cat to them.”

Steal the Thunder From Your Pet’s Fear

Chilly's ThundrShirt helps him manage his storm and noise anxiety
Chilly in his ThunderShirt

Many years before Chilly came into our lives, my dog, Buck, had severe FAS (diagnosed by his veterinary behaviorist), so I had learned a lot about natural, behavior modification, and pharmaceutical solutions. Everything I had learned while we were looking for a solution for Buck was a big help when Chilly began showing signs of anxiety.

The first thing I tried when Chilly began his “storm trembles” was a ThunderShirt. And it worked! Chilly’s anxiety would decrease about 70% due to the snug-fitting wrap’s “swaddling” effect. ThunderShirt applies gentle, constant pressure which is effective in calming many dogs. According to over 80% of purchasers notice a “significant improvement in symptoms” when their dog is wearing the ThunderShirt. That’s something to wag your tail about!

Now it’s important to understand that not every calming solution works for every pet. Furthermore, using more than one calming product together (layering) can enhance the solution.

One of the things I love about the creators of the ThunderShirt is that they are doggedly determined to help every dog they possibly can with FAS suffering. So much so that following the success of the ThunderShirt, they’ve researched and developed several other anxiety reducing solutions, including one of my favorites – ThunderEase.

Both dogs and cats produce natural pheromones that help them feel safe or communicate. Mothers emit them during nursing to help kittens and puppies feel secure. ThunderEase calms pets by mimicking these natural comforting pheromones. It can help to ease anxiety in a wide variety of stressful situations. This can also eliminate the undesirable behaviors (like barking, urine marking, or destroying furniture) that usually come along with FAS. ThunderEase is super easy to use too! It comes in a collar, a spray, or a diffuser kit.

The reason I love it is because it offers me a layering approach for Chilly’s FAS. The ThunderEase calms him, and the ThunderShirt adds additional comfort and calming. Plus, my cats benefit from ThunderEase too. Both Olivia and Turtle hate fireworks! Shocker, right? I guess what surprises me is that they don’t seem to flinch at noisy thunderstorms.

With ThunderShirt and ThunderEase as part of my pet-anxiety treatment plan, my “kids” and I are ready for the Fourth of July and those summer thunderstorms.

This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions and anecdotes are my own, and I never promote any products or brands I don’t believe in. ~Petfully yours, Kristen

Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience working with pets.

Through this blog and her book, Pampered Pets on a Budget, Kristen has helped millions of pet parents solve problems and provide the best care for their dogs and cats.

Working alongside hundreds of pet professionals, including veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers inspired Kristen to become a pet parenting “guide”, providing readers with reliable information about health, wellness and lifestyle for dogs and cats and the people who love them.

A dogged advocate for pet adoption and rescue, Kristen has featured over 1,000 adoptable dogs and cats from the SPCA on live television and radio appearances to get them adopted. Her blog, has been featured in over 100 media outlets – including the New York Times, USA Today, FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, Women's Day, Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Pop Sugar and more.

To stay up to date on the latest health and lifestyle trends for pets, Kristen regularly attends the top veterinary and pet product conferences, where she’s often a featured speaker.

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