A Thunder Shirt Could Help Your Dog's Anxiety During Summer Storms—These Are Our Top Picks
What Is a Thunder Shirt for Dogs?
Thunder shirts for dogs, also sometimes called thunder coats or thunder jackets, fit snug around your dog's torso to help calm anxious pups. In the same way that swaddling a baby or giving someone a hug gives them comfort, the pressure on your dog's torso can help them feel more calm in stressful situations, like during a storm, fireworks, trips to the vet, and more. Whether it's a wrap, vest, jacket, or shirt, they all work to accomplish the same goal—to help calm your precious pup.
Do Thunder Shirts for Dogs Actually Work?
Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RBT, Daily Paws' editor of pet health and behavior, has recommended thunder shirts to clients as one piece of the puzzle for supporting dogs with anxiety.
"They can be great tools for additional support to a dog that is experiencing stress, fear, or anxiety," she says. "However, they are not meant to solve or address the reasons why a dog is experiencing those things. They should be used in combination with good environmental management, positive reinforcement training, desensitization and counterconditioning, and possibly medication (if the pet has severe anxiety). While there is little data confirming the efficacy of anxiety wraps, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that they do help some dogs."
How to Introduce Your Dog to Thunder Shirts
So the answer is yes—these anxiety wraps can help your dog, as additional support. Just remember to test it out on your dog during several different calming scenarios before having to use it during a stressful one.
"You cannot just put it on the dog the moment a thunderstorm hits and expect it to go well," Bergeland says.
Dog parents should practice using a thunder shirt during non-stressful times for just a few minutes, giving them lots of praise and treats during and after wearing the thunder shirt, Bergeland advises. This way it isn't something new and surprising to the dog during an already stressful situation.
And keep in mind that some dogs won't like the feeling of it—just like some humans don't like being touched or hugged—so don't force it if your dog is uncomfortable.
The Best Thunder Shirts for Dogs
ThunderShirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket
Although there are many different brands and styles, ThunderWorks is the company who originally created the ThunderShirt. They make these anxiety vests for both dogs and cats, and they have various sizes, colors, and styles to choose from. They claim to have helped calm over 80 percent of dogs who've tried their famous ThunderShirt.
Shop Now: ThunderShirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket, starting at $40; chewy.com
American Kennel Club Anxiety Vest for Dogs
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has its own version of a calming coat for dogs, which works to help dogs feel safe in higher-stress situations by applying gentle, constant pressure. It also comes in three different colors, five different sizes, and is machine washable.
Shop Now: American Kennel Club Anxiety Vest for Dogs, starting at $30; chewy.com
Mellow Shirt Dog Anxiety Calming Wrap
The Mellow Shirt is a calming wrap that fits around your dog's torso to apply the gentle pressure that helps pups feel safer. It easily secures with the straps and fasteners, making it very easy to take on and off. Mellow Shirt comes in six different sizes and colors to choose from and has been highly rated by over 7,500 customers on Amazon.
Shop Now: Mellow Shirt Dog Anxiety Calming Wrap, starting at $26; amazon.com
WINBATE Adjustable Dog Anxiety Jacket
The WINBATE dog anxiety jacket has the lowest price on our list and comes in five different sizes and three different colors. It also comes with a soft training handle, metal leash hook, and reflective piping, making it a good option to wear outdoors. To put this jacket on, you lay it on your dog's back then wrap the two straps around the neck and belly to connect in the front. The inside material is crystal velvet, and the outside material is breathable polyester.
Shop Now: WINBATE Adjustable Dog Anxiety Jacket, starting at $19; amazon.com
YESTAR Dog Anxiety Relief Coat
Last but not least, we have the YESTAR Dog Anxiety Relief Coat that also has plenty of positive reviews on Amazon. This one has a similar look to the ThunderShirt because of the soft, dark gray material, but you can choose from five different colors and sizes. The YESTAR also straps around the front of the neck and belly, but you first have to loosen the neck loop to lift it over your dog's head, and then adjust it appropriately.
Shop Now: YESTAR Dog Anxiety Relief Coat, starting at $17; amazon.com