The Thundershirt and the Anxiety Wrap claim  to help alleviate separation anxiety in dogs. Touted to help anxious dogs reduce during  provoking events (such as a thunderstorm or riding in a car), I figured I had to give it a try.

The Thundershirt Review

thundershirtI purchased an x-small sized Thundershirt based on the recommended weight guidelines, but it proved to be too small for Dash.  Exchanging the Thundershirt was easy enough and within a few days I received the appropriate fitting size.  It’s very easy to put on and wraps tightly around the dog’s body for a firm fit.

But would it work on his separation anxiety? Unfortunately, the Thundershirt didn’t work.  At all. Dash barked and scratched at the door the entire time. However,  he seemed calmer while he was watching me get ready to leave (Dash’s anxiety is so profound he starts cowering and shaking when he senses that I’m leaving). With the Thundershirt, he didn’t exhibit this behavior nearly as bad as he usually does.  However, it didn’t eliminate the worst behavior (barking).

The Anxiety Wrap Review

I also tested the Anxiety Wrap.  The Anxiety Wrap is a tight (and do I mean tight) fitting wrap that goes around the dog’s body.  The Anxiety Wrap also has straps that wrap around a dog’s hind legs to add pressure to area.  It was explained to me that when a dog is in full panic mode, it can lose “sensation” in its hind legs which causes further panic and anxiety.

I ordered one for $35.99 and it also comes with a money-back guarantee.

I had a very difficult time getting the Anxiety Wrap on Dash – that’s how tight it is.  As you can see in the video, the Anxiety Wrap  fits like a second skin.  I carried out the test the same way as I did with the Thundershirt.  I noticed that while I was getting ready Dash did not seem as reactive as usual.  When I came home and played the tape recorder, I was surprised to hear that there was no barking.  There was whimpering and a few high-pitched yelps, but it was significantly better than before.  It did not, however, prevent him from scratching at and throwing himself up against the door.

So was it a success?  I think so, to a degree.  It helped reduce the barking and I think if I consistently paired it up with some separation anxiety exercises it might break this habit once and for all.  I contacted the designer, Susan Sharpe, and she promptly responded to my questions and offered further help if I needed it.

Which would I buy?

For Dash’s extreme separation anxiety, I do think the Anxiety Wrap worked better. However, the Thundershirt was much easier to get on.  The Anxiety Wrap will be useless if you can’t get it on your dog – and Dash clearly didn’t enjoy the process of putting it on.

So, my answer is it depends. Since both have a satisfaction guarantee, I recommend you try both. Make sure you are pairing it with behavioral training discussed in this fantastic book by Patricia McConnell, I’ll be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety for practical tips and on how to cope.

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The Thundershirt versus the Anxiety Wrap
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