Most people look forward to celebrations like New Year’s Eve and 4th of July. Parties, fireworks, and all the hoopla that goes along with them can be great fun.
Unless you have a pet that’s petrified of loud noises like fireworks, or even the thunder and lightening that comes with big storms. When that’s the case, then you’re usually stuck at home while everyone else is out living normal lives.
My dog is a perfect example. He’s almost five years old, but with the first pop of fireworks or rumble of thunder he quickly scurries under the nearest bathroom toilet and shakes uncontrollably. I’ve tried everything—turning the TV on super loud (sorry neighbors), distracting him with toys, even letting him upstairs to snuggle in the “people” beds. Nothing works.
I finally resorted to using an anxiety medication prescribed by his vet, the same kind I use for plane rides. It helped, but only for a couple hours, and I hated putting him into a medicated slumber.
Then a few months ago I saw a television infomercial for a Thundershirt. It’s an actual t-shirt you put on your cat or dog to swaddle them. The gentle pressure is said to calm the animal’s nervous system, reducing their anxiety and fear.
With winter weather and New Year’s Eve approaching I ordered it. (That’s right, this is NOT a paid endorsement from the company, but a legit review.) Even though I spent the money, I suspected it wouldn’t work, and so I had all my backups prepared during a recent thunder storm.
I was absolutely shocked when the thunder came and went, and my dog (wearing his Thundershirt, which he looked absolutely adorable in) stayed calmly on the couch, playing with his new Christmas toys. No shaking, no cowering, and definitely no running for the nearest toilet to hide under.
I was sure it was a fluke, but New Year’s Eve offered the same results. He seemed aware of the noise, but not terribly upset or affected by it. I was worried he’d get overheated in his shirt with the heater on, but he showed no signs of being too warm. The material is made out of a stretchy, nylon fabric. Although I haven’t needed to launder it, the designers say it can be washed in a regular cycle of cold water.
My experience with the shirt seems to be in the majority of pet owners who have tried it. According to a survey completed by more than 2,000 customers, more than 80 percent of dogs and cats showed significant improvement in their symptoms when using Thundershirt. It’s even recommended by thousands of veterinarians and trainers (though I had never heard of it) for other things like travel, excessive barking, and separation anxiety.
The shirt is now so popular you can find it on Amazon.com, in pet stores like Petco and Petsmart, and in retail stores like Bed Bath & Beyond. It comes in seven different sizes to make sure your shirt isn’t too snug or too loose. It also has a money-back guarantee as long as you return it within 45 days of purchase.
Where will I be 4th of July? No plans yet, but I’m confident it won’t be on the bathroom floor, huddled with my dog under a cold toilet.