Whether your dog has separation anxiety or is deathly afraid of fireworks, seeing your dog frightened and shaking is no fun for any owner.
The miraculous Thundershirt is heralded by many dog owners as the perfect solution. It’s designed to wrap your dog snuggly, providing a sense of security that keeps your canine calm.
If you’re not interested in purchasing the official Thundershirt, you can make your own with a little ingenuity!
Also – make sure to check out our article on 10 Tips For Keeping Your Dog Calm During Fireworks on the 4th of July!
Dogs and humans alike are comforted by gentle pressure – in fact, the dog anxiety wrap technique is very similar to the process of swaddling an infant. This comforting technique is called “maintained pressure,” and it’s been used to calm animals and humans alike by hitting specific pressure points around the body.
Oftentimes your dog will instantly feel calmed by the pressure sensation, but some dogs may require multiple wear sessions to get used to the wrap, so it’s recommended that you practice with the wrap a few other times in low-stress situations prior to the stressful event.
There are a few different DIY Thundershirt approaches you can take. In this post, we’ll be detailing the most common ace bandage anxiety wrap method, as well as a method using a t-shirt, and finally a process you can follow to sew your own Thundershirt-style wrap.
The ace bandage technique is the most common DIY Thundershirt strategy you’ll see around the web. You don’t have to use a bandage though – a scarf works too!
This strategy comes from the TTouch Wrap technique and is used successfully by many owners to calm stressed-out canines.
1. Start by placing the middle of an ace bandage across your dog’s chest. The size of bandage you use will depend on your dog’s size – use narrow bandages for small dogs, and wide for large dogs.
2. Next, bring both ends of the bandage up and cross them over your dog’s shoulders. Cross the bandage of the top of your dog’s shoulder blades, then cross the loose ends of the bandage under your dog’s stomach.
3. Lastly, tie the loose ends over the top of the lower back, away from the spine. You want to aim for snug, but not constricting – the pressure should feel like a nice hug!
Also check out this video that demonstrates exactly how to position your dog’s anxiety wrap.
As a safety note, never leave your dog unattended while wearing an anxiety wrap, as they could accidentally become entangled in one.
You can also create DIY Thundershirt with a simple t-shirt. Use a snug shirt or spandex tank top – something that will be tight enough to provide light pressure to your dog.
Step 1. Put the t-shirt on your dog backwards, so that your dog’s tail pokes through the neck opening.
Step 2. Next, tie the shirt tails across your dog’s chest. In addition, some owners also sew on ace bandages to the t-shirt so that the bandages can be wrapped around the dog’s various body parts, hitting the appropriate pressure points.
In the video below, one owner shows how to create your own Thundershirt vest with an anxiety wrap sewing pattern. This strategy is more advanced, but will create a lasting, durable anxiety wrap you can continue to re-use over the years.
If these DIY techniques seem like too much trouble for you, or if you want something of higher quality, you can try one of the name brand dog anxiety wraps on the market.
If a Thundershirt or similar wrap isn’t soothing your pooch, you may want to try some other anxiety-relieving strategies, such as:
Have you ever used a Thundershirt or DIY Thundershirt to calm you pup during a storm, fireworks, or some other anxious event? How did it go? Share your experience in the comments!
Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!