Do anxiety jackets work for dogs? Simple and Effective Tips

Are Calming Vests Scientifically Proven To Work?

The concept of calming vests for dogs was inspired by the use of deep pressure therapy for people with anxiety, especially adults and children with autism. Deep pressure therapy is the use of hugs, heavy blankets, or even body pressure from a therapy dog to help the person relax and move out of “fight or flight” mode.

Only the ThunderShirt brand calming wrap has been used in scientific studies and surveys. Similar vests from different companies might not work in the same way.

One study found that dogs who had not worn a ThunderShirt before experienced an increased heart rate shortly after putting it on. Once they habituated to it though, their heart rate decreased and they showed fewer signs of anxiety, such as lip licking, yawning, and staring at the door from which their owner exited.

ThunderWorks, the company that makes ThunderShirt, conducted a survey in which respondents reported the calming vest as the most effective form of treatment for their dogs’ anxiety, with a nearly 82 percent success rate. Other solutions noted include environmental management, which had 77 percent success rate and drugs at 76 percent. Owner-reported surveys are not nearly as reliable as scientific studies, but they can sometimes help us understand what real people are experiencing.

There was also a very small study of 16 dogs who were fitted with ThunderShirts during their ICU stay, and all but one dog experienced a significant decrease in signs of anxiety.

However, though dogs’ body language and heart rate show promising changes while wearing calming vests, they do not experience significant improvements when tested for urinary oxytocin and cortisol in saliva.

So while we may see outward signs of improvement, a calming vest alone is not enough to resolve your dog’s anxiety. Promising results in other dogs does not guarantee that your dog will see the same improvements.

Pros and Cons of the Thundershirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket

Best Overall Dog Anxiety Vest

Pros Cons
Thundershirt was one of the first anxiety vests. Some dogs didn’t experience anxiety relief from wearing the jacket.
This patented wrap-style jacket applies comforting light pressure to a dog’s chest, stomach and back.
Thanks to its hook and eye fasteners, it’s easy to put on and take off.
It’s available in two styles (original and polo) and in seven sizes (XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL).
This heather gray jacket can safely be worn for an extended time and can also be worn under a harness.
  • Dog anxiety vest creates gentle pressure for soothing effect
  • Helps dogs with anxiety over fireworks, thunder, separation anxiety, and more
  • Adjustable wrap-around construction with Velcro attachments
  • Sizes XS-XXL
  • What is a ThunderShirt?

    A ThunderShirt is a durable but lightweight fabric wrap which is worn by dogs like a harness, with straps under and around the front of the chest which are adjustable with velcro. It should be applied around the dog fairly firmly so it is snug but not restrictive.

    ThunderShirt Training Video 2020

    Combatting canine anxiety can certainly be challenging, but one of the simplest solutions is to slip your pup into a Thundershirt. This all-natural, drug-free fix helps your four-footer feel secure.

    We’ll explain what a Thundershirt is, how it works, and how to decide if it’s a good option for your dog below.