I’m not ancient, but after 19 years of practicing veterinary medicine, it’s not all that often anymore that I see a product and think, “Now that’s a cool idea!” I had one of those moments the first time I saw the Thundershirt, and I have since gotten wonderful feedback from my clients who have used Thundershirts on their pets with noise phobias. Mostly I write you emails about managing pet diabetes, but when time allows I like to alert our ADW clients to nifty remedies and products.

Here in tropical South Florida we have thunderstorms frequently during the summer months. You might be surprised how many pets become frantic during these storms. Back when I lived in Oregon, it was the holiday fireworks that sent folks to their veterinarians asking for a prescription of xanax or sedatives. Here in South Florida it is the summer storms. With the recent horrible twisters that ravaged parts of our country, I thought I might bring your attention to the Thundershirt. The Thundershirt is essentially a jacket that adjusts to apply gentle pressure to the pet’s chest. It has a calming effect. I think of it as a nice big hug. In addition to fireworks and storm situations, it can help alleviate anxiety of travel, separation, loud parties by obnoxious next door neighbors, construction noise, etc.

Typically when we have a pet with noise phobia or other anxiety, we utilize a combination of therapies. Ideally we desensitize the pet to the offensive stimulus. Providing a kennel (even if you leave the door open) may provide a place where your pet feels safe. Playing soothing music can drown out the offensive stimulus. When needed, we might give an anxiety relieving medication. In some cases we can avoid medications altogether by using the Thundershirt.

I recently had a client tell me that she loved the Thundershirt. In fact, she needed to order another one because her dog pulled off and destroyed the last one when a storm hit when she and her husband were at work. Sigh. Clearly they don’t resolve the issue completely for particularly anxious pets, but this owner felt confident that her pet was calmer and less anxious when wearing a Thundershirt.

The Thundershirt comes in a variety of sizes, and each size is further adjustable to fit your pet snugly. Sizing instructions are available here:

SizeChest SizeWeight
XXS9″-13.5″< 7 lbs.
XS13″-18″8-14 lbs.
S16″-23″15-25 lbs.
M18″-26″26-40 lbs.
L24″-32″41-64 lbs.
XL31″-40″65-110 lbs.
XXL38″-50″> 110 lbs.

NOTE: Consult your Veterinarian first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.

Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr. Joi Sutton is a 1993 graduate from Oregon State University. She has practiced both in emergency medicine and general practice. Dr. Sutton has done extensive international volunteer work and is the President and Founder of Veterinary Ventures, a nonprofit organization that takes teams of veterinarians to undeveloped countries for humane medical care. She also runs a small animal practice in South Florida.
Dr . Joi Sutton