Thundershirt- Your Opinion???

Discussion in 'Dog Products' started by Dogster, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. Dogster Honored Member

    Shivon has had anxiety in the car for a couple of months now... at night and on the highway. She starts to shake, and curls up into a ball. When she gets more anxious she starts to pant.:(

    I have been thinking about ways I can help her anxiety, without giving her medication or drugs. Driving to agility takes about 30 minutes without taking the highway (at night), and her anxiety gets worse on the highway.

    I have recently discovered this, the thundershirt. My agility trainer also reccommended it to me.

    So, what do you think?? Is the thundershirt worth using??? What's your opinion??:)
    MaryK likes this.

  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    I've never had one, but I would like to have one for Missy. Miss has the same problem as Shivon. she will pant whine and pace the floors, it's the reason why my mom doesn't let me take her anywhere(well her being reactive doesn't help) I have found that opening a window for her to look out of helps a little bit. I suggest you read reviews on it and if they're good get the shirt use it and if it doesn't help return it. Let me know if you get it and how it works please.
    MaryK and Dogster like this.
  3. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    The Thundershirt always gets mixed reviews -- works for some, not for others. It's worth a try, but it can't be your only remedy. I would ask your vet about medicating her for car sickness -- something like Cerenia or Dramamine -- because she may associate longer rides with feeling yucky, and that's contributed to her developing anxiety. I would certainly do this because motion sickness is no fun, and the 'no medication' route is something I'm happier to take for myself, than for an animal who may be in discomfort. You can work on behavior stuff too, but this will make sure there's no physical component because if she gets queasy on the highway, no click/treat is going to convince her she's not feeling icky :(

    Does she act this way on the way back from agility, as well as on the way to? I ask because it's possible that she is anxious about class, for whatever reason. Just to clarify, are you saying that this only happens at night for any distance, and during the day only on the highway? Does she shake any other time? Is she drooly or clingy?

    You've also got to do some behavior modification, and you can get some ideas from this great recent article: . The situation is different, of course, and you've got more of a bugbear in that she's not worried about cars, per se, but rather being inside a moving car. I'm sure there are other resources for dogs with travel anxiety out there too, so this is just a starter for ideas.

    PS It does annoy me that Thundershirt's adverts say "no drugs, no training!", as if they have found a magical cloth that will solve all anxiety.
    jackienmutts, MaryK and Dogster like this.
  4. Dlilly Honored Member

    Shiloh was scared of the car until 2 years ago. She would shred, drool, whine, and pace while in the car. What helped her was first just making the car fun. While the car was off, I'd praise her when she would look at the car, move closer to the car, touch the car, then soon jump into the car. Then I would sit with her in the car while it was off. Once she was more comfortable, she would jump into the car while it was already on. I would then have my mom drive down the driveway, then down the road, then to the park, and eventually to agility class. That's just a brief description of that I did.

    Is Shivon in a crate, wearing a car harness, or roaming free in the car??
  5. Dogster Honored Member

    A&C- The reason I said I don't want to give her medication is because the only time we drive at night is to agilty class, and I wouldn't want to compromise her performance by giving her medication. She also acts the same way on the way back from agility. As for distance, if it's a short drive (5-10 minutes) she's fine. When the drives get longer, she gets anxious. And yes, she is always anxious on the highway. She doesn't shake any other time, unless she's cold. She doesn't drool.

    Dlilly- Shivon sits at the back of the car. I wanted to get a car harness for her but I don't want her to get more anxious because she's restrained.

    Aside from her anxiety on the highway and at night, Shivon LOVES the car. When I go on a walk with her and there's a car in the driveway, she will immediately stand next to the door, LOL.:D If she knows that we're going somewhere, she will go to the bathroom at lighting speed to get into the car.:)
    MaryK likes this.
  6. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    I think it makes it more imperative to rule out motion sickness. Cerenia (maropitant) doesn't cause drowsiness or anything, I'd give it a shot to at least rule out a physical cause. Ask your vet ok?
    Dogster likes this.
  7. MaryK Honored Member

    My late dog Tiger Lily hated car rides. What helped to calm her down, without any side effects, such as becoming drowsy, was Bach's Rescue Remedy. Tiger Lily did Agility work and actually performed even better once the 'drama' of the car ride was laid to rest.

    It's a homeopathic remedy and works really well for dogs, humans and also cats. Just ask for the correct dosage, which is based on weight.

    I've also used it on one dog who was afraid of flying as it's better than sedatives, due to altitude, pressurized holds (dogs cannot travel in the cabin here), and he was fine both with flying and afterwards.
    Dogster likes this.
  8. jackienmutts Honored Member

    A and C made some excellent points, as usual. (y) Rescue Remedy would be a good suggestion. Another thing you may want to try ... My mom's old dog, Bailey used to get horribly car sick if the ride were more than 10 min or so - give her a 15 min trip and she'd throw up every time (thank goodness as the years went by, she finally either outgrew it or got past it or ?). But - her vet suggested she give Bailey one "Tums" about 15-20 min before the ride - and it worked every time. She was a 35 lb dog - so if that gives you an idea, it's inexpensive and may be worth a try.

    For Shivon, if you try it, you may want to give one before you leave, then take one with you to class and give it again about 20 min before class is over. No other effects - just guessing the calcuim carbonate must have a soothing affect on their tummies.

    It makes perfect sense tho, if a dog knows it's gonna be sick everytime it gets in the car, it just wouldn't want to be there and would cause anxiety right off the bat. Bailey calmed down a lot in the car once she quit getting sick every time she got in (poor little girl). If all they know is car = wanting to puke, I'd be upset every time I had to get in the car too. :confused: Might be worth addressing the possible 'car sick' angle first - and if that's not it, then looking into behavioral issues.
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  9. 648117 Honored Member

    Holly hates the car too. I think it makes her a feel a bit unwell. She just lies there for the entire ride and when we stop at the lights she will sit up and look very unhappy. She will take treats but it doesn't make her any happier.
    She has to go in the car at least twice a week, to obedience class and back on Saturdays (about 25 minutes each way) and to agility class and back on Tuesdays (about 12 minutes each way). So her car rides are always to fun places so I think it must make her feel unwell. But when we get to class she is always fine, never doppy or unhappy. She sits in the front passanger seat on her blue towel in her harness and seatbelt attachment (although she can't see out the window because she is too short and she lies down anyway).

    She has been on a 4 hour drive (well two 4 hour drives - one there and one back with a night in between) with stops every 30 mins and wasn't sick and was fine when we got to every stop so it can't actually be making her too sick. Although she was in her crate at the back of the car for that trip instead of seatbelted in.

    I'm thinking about getting her a soft collapsable crate for the car to see if that makes her happier.
    She hates her leash and harness too (no matter how much counter conditioning I do and she loves walks once we are out of the house, she doesn't want her leash and harness to be put on :rolleyes: ) so I'm thinking she might just hate being restrained.
    MaryK likes this.
  10. southerngirl Honored Member

    I've also noticed that Missy like Holly seems more unhappy when the car stops at light. Try opening the window so that fresh air is blowing toward her, it helps Missy.
    MaryK likes this.
  11. Dogster Honored Member

    Update- The thundershirt works!!!!!!:) She's more relaxed, I can tel that she's not tense. She's not shaking anymore either.:) I think she gets a little carsick, so I'll ask the vet for some medication, and I'll use Tums.
    srdogtrainer, MaryK and southerngirl like this.
  12. southerngirl Honored Member

    That's great that she is more comfortable in the car.:)
    MaryK and Dogster like this.
  13. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Excellent! (y) So great when something like that works (you never know til you try). Maybe you'll luck out and add a Tums and your problem will be solved (probably too easy tho, huh?) ;)
    Dogster and MaryK like this.
  14. MaryK Honored Member

    Great news, so glad the Thundershirt works!:D(y)
    Dogster likes this.
  15. Dbqdogtrainer Member

    The Thundershirt is a pressure wrap and may work with some dogs to some extent, but I much prefer the original and only patented pressure wrap, the Anxiety Wrap, You can read more about how the products compare here: I first used the Anxiety Wrap on my own dog several years ago and was so impressed that I have been recommending to my clients with anxious dogs ever since.
    I have never seen it not work, but you must follow the manufacturer's recommendations. I also generally do not recommend it as a stand alone treatment, but rather as part of an overall behavior modification plan. I would recommend using desensitization and counterconditioning with your dog along with the Anxiety Wrap.

    There are non-pharmacological interventions such as L-theanine, a calming amino acid supplement you can try before medication. Check with your vet.I also recommend music a lot of the time to help calm dogs. One of the more popular items that I have used is called Through A Dog's Ear,

    If you need help with desensitization and counterconditioning, look for a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner ( in your area or someone who has attended the Purdue University Behavior Modification course, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist ( or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist ( You can also look for a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) but beware that the these trainers may use aversive methods so you must ask specifically what methods and tools they use. Also note that unless they have the initials, "SA" (skills assessed) after the CPDT credential they have not had their skills tested by the credentialing board.
    MaryK likes this.
  16. MaryK Honored Member

    I'm very interested in the Through the Dogs Ear (sorry to hi jack this thread a little) as my golden oldie Zeus is getting a bit on the grumpy side with my youngster.

    Would this music help 'calm' him? He's become very 'resource guarding', something he's never really done before with his late sister, especially over 'his spot' on the sofa.
  17. katzand Well-Known Member

    I think the Thundershirt works well. For Doom, he always freaks out when there are fireworks on the 4th or loud noises on the street for New Years. The Thundershirt really does calm him down noticeably so I am a believer.
    MaryK and Dogster like this.

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