PetLvr Reviews: Thundershirts

Welcome to PetLvr Reviews, a new series here at PetLvr – The Blog, where we take a time-out to look at some interesting and (not-so-interesting) pet related products. If you would like your product reviewed by us, please check out our “About Product Reviews” page.

Are Your Dogs Afraid Of Thunder And Lightning?

We have two Papillon dogs (Maxxie and Sophie) who are deathly afraid of thunder and lightning. They never used to be afraid until we started to regularly go out to our cottage at Victoria Beach, Manitoba. We have a lakefront cottage and on Lake Winnipeg, it can be really quiet at night. When thunder happens, the sound roars right across the lake and sky and sometimes you can even feel the cottage shaking slightly .. and when there is lightning, the entire cottage lights up like a candle. What’s worse, is that when we usually go to our cottage each year, the times surround national holidays (Canada Day) or just long weekends, and surrounding neighbourhood “Ghouls” seem to like competing with a neighboring beach with its Firecracker Prowess Skills – off the public beach a few doors down from us, or in our neighbours yard! It really scares our dogs – especially certain “rapid-fire” type of firecrackers!

What’s worse – is that, our dogs anxiety and fear of these noises have carried back home into our normal house. Although they have no qualms or worries when loud and rowdy garbage trucks come by at all hours and empty our garbage bins with a bang, hoot and hollar … but, they instinctively know when it is raining, and can hear the thundering noises in the house. It doesn’t matter that I have all the TVs on in the house, or have my stereo blasting … I always tend to have dogs freaking out, sitting on my feet, hiding under my desk, trying to jump up in my lap, and making it difficult for me to do anything else but wait out the storm. It’s hard enough trying to fear-proof your puppies yet alone full grown mature Papillons!

A Case Study: A Look At My Scared Papillons

Here is a short series of videos that I took with my Canon A2000IS Digital Camera (0:17, 0:33, 0:32, 0:51, 0:31, 0:41 = total 3min42sec) that will play continuously. At the time of me taking these videos, it was raining for about 3 hours already, with intermittent rounds of thunder. Watch a little how my dogs react during this weather (even though there were no thunder outbursts during the video recording) and what happens when I placed the “Thundershirt” on each of them.

So? How Did These Thundershirts Work?

I did receive two “XS” (extra small) thundershirts, and this size fit our little Sophie quite comfortably. It was too small for Maxxie, the larger Papillon, but I still placed it on him. During the thunderstorm, the shirt had no effect on Maxxie, and it certainly did not calm him down or had any effect different than what he is normally doing during any other thunderstorm.

During thunderstorms, Sophie (as you can see in the videos) is terrified and shakes and will try to sit ‘under a person’ for safety. She will actually sit on my feet, hover between my feet and its annoying. When I placed the thundershirt on her – on the bed – she didn’t really calm down, per say .. but she didn’t move an inch. She just stayed pretty much in the same position shaking her little booty off – almost statue like. I guess it was a partial success. Even after I stopped recording the video and went back to work, she stayed on the bed with her thundershirt on. It could also be because she is very tiny, and has longer hair and some of it may have been caught in the Velcro of the Thundershirt! Maybe not πŸ™‚

Would I recommend the Thundershirt?

Actually, the price is reasonable, although I did not pay for my samples. We will be giving away a few units in an upcoming giveaway contest (yet to be announced). I would suggest that if your dog is scared of lightning and thunder and fireworks .. and you have tried everything else to curb their fears .. this is one of the better alternatives that I have seen in my travels, that can actually be positive in helping calm down your pet.

Have you tried Thundershirts? What did you think of this product? All opinions and comments welcome below!

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8 Responses

  1. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    PetLvr [Blog] \ PetLvr Reviews: Thundershirts http://cli.gs/ReYSb

  2. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    (new PetLvr post ).. PetLvr Reviews: Thundershirts: Welcome to PetLvr Reviews, a new series .. http://cli.gs/uyDyg

  3. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    Self-RT / My dogs are scared of thunder and I reviewed "Thundershirts" product on PetLvr // http://cli.gs/ReYSb // incl. video scare-d-dogs

  4. marie
    | Reply

    hi, was interested to read your review as I’m considering getting these for my dogs (pug and german shepherd) and its nice to find a review that is’nt on the thundershirt website! I am in the UK so purchasing these for my two plus international postage is quite a hefty price to pay if it has no effect, I think after reading this I might wait and see if they bring them out over here before I commit so I can try one out as it seems that the effect differs depending on the severity of the individual dogs condition. So thanks for the honest info!
    Regards, Marie πŸ™‚

  5. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    Hi Marie .. I would suggest to contact Thundershirts and ask how much the international postage may be .. if, that is the deterrent. We got two XS sizes and it can basically fit in a 10″x13″ envelope. The ones for a Pug and German Shepherd will obviously be larger and a bit heavier, and I have no idea how they ship that.

    Since I published this article, we have placed the Thundershirts on our dogs and probably had the same results, except when there is thunder and I say something like “Want to wear your thundershirts?” (as if they understand me and all my perfect English) they seem to be okay with it when I was putting it on them, and not fighting it.

  6. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    @z3olyte poor kitty πŸ™‚ The thunder and lightning starting to die down here. had to put Thundershirt http://bit.ly/932d4z to calm down sophie

  7. ISABEL
    | Reply

    Hi. My shitzu is afraid of thunderstorms and al of that, but his problem also is that he growls when people that he doesnt know, tries to touch him…He got lost for 5 days in a airline coming to USA, and since then he doesnt like strangers….Do you think this thundershirt will work with him because maybe he is afraid of people…please help!

  8. HART (aka PetLvr Admin)
    | Reply

    Hi Isabel.

    it’s possible that the thundershirt might help your shitzu a little, but yours sound like a problem more than just a fear of lightning and rain and a socialization (and trust) issue.

    You can watch the videos I did in a rainstorm with my own dogs with thundershirt
    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4A7EFC2D3F089E3B&feature=viewall

    But, that link above is golden .. http://petlvr.com/blog/2008/08/06/fear-proof-your-puppy/

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