If your dog’s anxiety is triggered by certain things — such as fireworks, thunderstorms or being home alone — you might look for ways to help them stay calm that don’t involve medication. Many experts recommend anxiety vests for these situations. When wrapped in these garments, which are sold under brand names like Surgi-Snuggly and the popular Thundershirt, dogs feel more secure.
While there is a small amount of research on the effectiveness of anxiety vests, many people use them after hearing positive reviews from other pet parents. And since studies have yet to show any adverse effects, it can’t hurt to try.
But name brands can be pricey. So, many dog owners and vets have found ways to make their own anxiety wraps. While they may not be exactly like a Thundershirt, dogs could still benefit from the comfort of being swaddled when they feel stressed.
For instance, Budget101.com shares a technique using a scarf or length of fabric that’s about 2 inches wide. TikToker claudia.and.compawny also shared their instructions for a similar wrap using a long, stretchy bandage like the kind used to wrap up a sore ankle.
“The goal is to wrap this around your dog’s body to help distribute pressure over their back and sides,” says Claudia, who often shares dog enrichment tips. “This will apply gentle pressure and release endorphins that promote a sense of wellbeing.”
Budget101.com explains how to make your own Thundershirt. Dogs may not like the process, so make sure you have time to practice.
- Begin by wrapping the middle of the bandage or fabric across the dog’s chest.
- Next, cross the fabric at the dog’s withers.
- Now, cross under the dog’s stomach and bring the fabric back up.
- Finally, tie it on the back away from the dog’s spine.
Pet Healthcare Magazine recommends only leaving the wrap on for brief periods. Otherwise, your dog might get used to the sensation and lose the sense of security. They also advise using the same “two-finger rule” recommended for dog collars: Ensure you can easily slide two fingers between the wrap and your dog’s neck for safety.
With a homemade Thundershirt, dogs may feel less anxious, and you can, too.