Lily the Beagle’s Thundershirt Experiment

July 7, 2014

DOES YOUR POOCH suffer anxiety during thunderstorms? Lily the Beagle certainly reacts. She pants. She trembles. She follows me from room to room.

I mentioned these symptoms to Carlene Patterson, Lily’s terrific vet. She recommended a “Thundershirt.” It’s a soft shirt that applies gentle, constant pressure on a dog’s torso. The pressure is supposed to have a calming effect on most dogs.

I dropped $40 on the shirt, which came in the nifty box you see pictured above.

And this afternoon, when the skies darkened, lightning flashed, and thunder roared…and when Lily the Beagle panted, trembled, and followed me from room to room, I opened the box and retrieved the shirt.

As you can see, the shirt is a series of flaps. Each flap is equipped with broad strips of Velcro.

I could not make heads or tails out the shirt. Mercifully it came with “fitting directions.”

Ha ha ha! The fitting directions were impossible to follow.

Fortunately I found the above “how-to” on Youtube.  The video was extremely helpful, since I’m a see-it-and-do-it sort of guy.

I put the shirt on my shell-shocked friend, and made sure it was snug as directed, but not too tight.

And how did Lily respond to the shirt’s gentle, calming pressure?

She panted. She trembled. She followed me from room to room.

And you know what’s worse? When she looked at me, she seemed to be asking “Does this Thundershirt make me look fat?”

Obviously beagles are very vain.

Dr. Patterson also gave me low-grade Xanax (Alprazolam, 1.0 mg), and told me I could administer 1/2 to 1 pill when needed. I assume she intended the pills for Lily, not me.

I’ll probably give Lily a bit of Xanax tonight. For I just received a recorded announcement from “Code Red,” warning of severe thunder showers, and possibly damaging hail.

Oh, goody.

So tell me — how does your pooch react to storms? And have any of you tried a Thundershirt? I suspect the shirt works wonders for lots of dogs. Alas, it did not work for Lily. Not on this trial-run, anyway.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Related Posts:
Lily the Beagle’s Look-Great, Feel-Great Diet
A Summer Centerpiece: The How-To
Limoncello Cookies

Comments

  1. Cheryl B. says:

    I wonder if you could condition her to be calm with the shirt on. Like give her a xanax and then put the shirt on and maybe she will eventually associate the shirt with feeling calm and then be calm with just the shirt?

  2. Our new dog is the second dog that we have had that had issues with rain and thunder. The pills only work if you give them early enough, and mostly they just make them so sleepy they do not care about anything. The thunder shirt did not help for the first one. We have not tried it with our new dog. Maybe we should give it another try. After seeing your results, I’m not so sure it would be worth it. We do not have the one we used before.

  3. Lori Rose says:

    Poor Lily. My standard poodle, Bach, is afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks. I bought the Thundershirt, with the attitude that I had absolutely nothing to lose but the price of the shirt. The first few times he wore his “muscle shirt” he was glued to the floor and wouldn’t move, kind of like when I tried rubber booties on his feet to protect them from the ice and snow. However, since he has gotten used to the shirt, he can wear it all day without a problem. It has helped a bit with thunder storms… he isn’t totally cured, but no more panting and pacing. It did not help with the fireworks that our neighbors exploded on July 4th … if he could have crawled inside of me he would have. I must ask his vet about some Xanax … 1/2 pill for him and 1 pill for me. Keep trying the Thundershirt on her Kevin, you’ve got nothing to lose.

  4. ingmarie peck says:

    C.C. my little Bulldog mix is terrified, she lived through 2 hurricanes before we got her,
    rain thunder and winds and she shuts down, hiding in bathrooms ,under blankets and pillows
    Poor thing. I will try the suit for her, thank you for the tip.

  5. Christine F says:

    I do not have dog but my cat Bella and I are both terrified of storms. We go upstairs and get in bed and listen to the scanner app and there we stay until the storm is over. My sister tried the Thunder shirt on her Shih Tzu and had good results.

  6. Sharon Curley says:

    My cat hates fireworks, loud booms and she tries to hide all over the house. I tried putting background noise on and put her in a spot where the sounds are muffled. Do you have a basement? why not build her a sound proof booth? Poor Lily.

  7. Sharon – Not to sound like an old man, but I think fireworks should be limited to stadiums. When exploded in residential areas, the noise fills cats and dogs with terror.

  8. renee says:

    the shirt should be worn before the storms, on nice days, when doing good things like eating treats! then put on way before storm hits,giving treats to remind her the shirt is a good thing and then when storm starts she will associate shirt with good things, not terrifying thunder….or so i am told. didnt work for us, we use xanax…

  9. Katreader says:

    Sorry it didn’t work for Lily. Sam couldn’t care less about storms-of course he’s partially deaf and more than half blind. My dogs that have passed on didn’t mind storms either. I guess I’m lucky!

  10. moyra says:

    I think it’s important to put the thundershirt on quite a bit earlier than when she needs it. You don’t want her to associate the shirt with an impending storm or fireworks.

  11. Robert Meehan says:

    Homer barks at the thunder and lightning. The rain however is what he despises. He’s worse than a dang cat about getting wet. oy!

  12. Mary says:

    Thundershirts didn’t work for either of my two dogs. They react the same as Lily, panting, hiding in the bathroom, and shaking, sometimes hours before a storm hits. Same reaction to the noise of the never ending fireworks. I hated to do it, but I finally got a prescription of calming pills from our vet. That has helped. My dogs shadow me, but they will stay alone in the finished basement during a storm. I turn the tv on down there and turn the volume up loud.

  13. Heather says:

    Kevin I totally agree with your view that fireworks don’t belong in residential neighborhoods… Also I have a very fearful dog and a previous foster that both benefited from the thundershirt. It helped with Bailey’s separation anxiety as well. It does help to put it on before the dog gets into the panic/flight frame of mind. I also think you should try it again with Lily and maybe you will have better success if it is placed on before she gets to that elevated fear state.

  14. Pam says:

    Well, first time my pup had to hear the fireworks….she barked a couple of times. When the fireworks evolved to every few minutes, I went into the kitchen and cooked supper…she was too interested in that to even notice the fireworks. And no, I did not feed her from my cooking… ;)

    Also, on the storms here, and we are getting quite a few, I act like I don’t hardly notice them. I think she follows suit. We’ve been lucky so far! :)

  15. pineapple says:

    My 2 dogs are extremely fearful of thunder, fireworks and guns (hunting season). It’s the only time I allow them on the couch with me, and I cover them with a blanket. It helps that they are that close to me, which is why I never invested in thunder shirts, although I do have a friend that swears by it for her elder dog.

  16. Teri says:

    I reconditioned my rescue greyhound from shaking like a leaf to bouncing around tail wagging during thunderstorms. How? By making them a happy time. When the thunder started… so did the play with special toys and special treats (even some human food) and just an overall good time. Model happy and the dog will get happy because he takes his cues off of you.

  17. Tracy says:

    I had a wonderful German Shorthaired Pointer for many years. She was a remarkable bird dog and steady to wing and shot. But not…to thunder. She would turn into a shivering, panting, drooling, anxious mess. It would just break my heart. I knew enough not to ‘baby her’, which would only reinforce her fear. But I had to do something. So here’s what we did.

    The dog was not allowed on the furniture, but whenever a storm was a-brewing, we would take a plain old sheet and lay it over a big upholstered chair in the same room we knew we’d be sitting in during the storm. We’d invite her up in the chair and as soon as she settled in (curled into a terrified ball smaller than any 55 pound GSP should be), we would literally tie the sheet all around her, like a giant bundle with just her head sticking out. It looked ridiculous, and we tied her in there fairly tightly.

    And…it worked. It required one of us to hang out with her in a nearby chair or sofa throughout the worst of the storm, but she would totally settle down, stop drooling and shaking and just watch with giant eyes. Somehow, the compression comforted her. But it wasn’t just a shirt…it was a whole body ‘press’.

    As soon as the big booming ended, we’d just loosen the corners of the sheet that had been tied together, and when she was ready, she’d just wriggle out of it and go about her day.

    Not ideal…but it worked!

  18. Heidi Haas says:

    Chewbacca has severe separation anxiety & so is on anti-anxiety meds for when I leave the house ( I need to go make dogbone money!) Anyway, one of the first things we tried before meds was thundershirt. He ripped it up somehow on day 2. Seriously. He was NOT a fan. Anyway, he also gets upset at thunderstorms (& fireworks! NOT loving the neighbors last Fri pm…)
    When I am home for storms we turn on the little AC unit I have in the 1 room that is set up just for him. (It helps block the noise) He likes the room to be dark and I lay with him on the floor. I think he was his worst so far for Fridays firecracker 2 hour marathon courtesy of some law flaunter nearby- (TWO HOURS!) because there had been pretty big storms here both the preceding Wed & Thurs. Third day in a row he just lost all his nerve…the drooling was like a bad movie! Poor thing.
    Keep trying. “Bacca had to try 2 diff meds before we had any luck. I have found the trick with him is everything must be very routine BUT the long twice daily walks MUST have variation.(isn’t that weird?) Luckily he is the very best dog ever & I would do anything for him!!!

  19. Jane says:

    I have a Lili also, a pug, and she is afraid of the thunder and also fireworks. I hold her under a blanket and snug her close to me and that seems to help somewhat. I have considered getting a thunder shirt but would like better odds for that kind of investment. Has anyone tried rescue remedy? That Is my next thought. Will let you know.

  20. Pam Beck says:

    This is a little long winded, but could help.
    1. Rather than spending the $40 for the shirt, watch the video and use an ace bandage to form the same wrap. I have heard from several people that this works, but since my dog is not afraid of much, I haven’t tried it.
    2. When my lab was a pup and I was in the vet’s for the third time on a Sunday night for an emergency visit… Long story short, sorta, he recommended that I feed her 1/2 cup of cooked pasta twice a day to calm her. (“Why to you think we feed people in prisons so many carbs?”) With nothing to lose and a wild pup on my hands I gave it a try. It was like a miracle. She was the same dog, absolutely wonderful, but calm. I continued this until she was about 2 years and when I took her off, she had either grown out of it or had learned how to be calm. I recommended tis to my sister who had a fireworks crazy dog. They got her from the shelter as a stray after the 4th of July (we are sure she ran in fear) and had drugged her for a few years. They started her on the pasta about a week before the fireworks stands opened and kept her on it for about a week after the 4th when the idiots are still shooting off their stash. Where she had been drugged almost into a coma before, this seemed to work and she plopped herself on the hearth and was a happy camper. They also did this for New Year’s as we are big here for fireworks then also.

    In my years in animal welfare and working at the local shelter I told many people about this. What I have found out is that it does work for some and not for others. Well worth a try if you would rather not use drugs. The pasta surely won’t hurt them. (My dog weighed about 60 lbs for the 1/2 cup twice a day – adjust accordingly.)

    As always, keep your pets in and safe during stressful times. Good luck!

  21. Debbie says:

    My first dog, a schnauzer named Babs, was terrified of thunder storms. She would get under the bed, shake, cry and claw at the floor. At that time I would have tried anything to calm her down, even a $40 shirt. As she got older, she became calmer during storms. The dog I have now, a Boston terrier mix rescue dog, is not afraid of thunder or other loud noises.

  22. Annie B says:

    The thunder shirt worked pretty well for my collie. He was able to lie down and relax sometimes during the storms. It’s better to put it on earlier before the storm…once they are already stressed, the effect is less (same with meds).

  23. Chris B says:

    My late lamented Cairn Terrier was terrified of high winds, shook, drooled, tried to dig escape holes in the floor, deconstructed cushions in her efforts to hide. Thunder, on the other hand, was her favorite. She ran around the house growling and barking, desperate to be let out so she could go find & kill it. Just like when she found skunks. Repeatedly. Shall we maybe not go there?

  24. Kate says:

    My little guy is afraid of fireworks and some thunder. The vet prescribed Adaptil; it’s similar to the pheromone nursing dog mothers exude to calm their puppies. I spray a little squirt on the kerchief that came with the spray bottle, tie it around his neck and within seconds it’s as if he can no longer hear the booms and crashes. It doesn’t sedate him at all, but it does make him stop trembling and panting and running from room to room. The effect lasts for hours, so one spray is enough to get him through an evening of noise until it’s bed time. Honestly, it’s like it selectively mutes the fireworks. I was sceptical, but now I’m convinced. This is his second year using it; a 2 oz. bottle was $35, and I still have 3/4 left.

  25. Susan L. Golden says:

    Cameron, my 7 year old Sheltie, is very shy and sensitive under good conditions, but during storms? Not good! We have a finished basement and sometimes he is better off down there, as it muffles the sound a bit. I have considered the shirt, but $40. to hope it works is a bit of a chunk for me right now. So, I followed my brother-in-law’s example and hung a temporary fabric door over my desk and let him hide in there. I love storms and it is tough to dread them, but I try to put Cammy first and think positive thoughts for him! It was nice of you Kevin to put Lilly first and try the shirt anyway! :-)

  26. Alice says:

    My Sheltie girl is terrified of thunder, too. She doesn’t mind the Thundershirt, but it doesn’t help, either. My vet prescribed a sedative and that helps a great deal. At least she calms down enough to let me comfort her.

  27. Carole Smith says:

    Young Living essential oils have helped many dogs. We have two puppies (10 months and 11 months) (What were we thinking?!?) They calm down after a good loving with oils on my hands. And I don’t have to worry about side effects of meds or their psyche of looking fat. Be glad to hook you up!

  28. Laurie says:

    Try putting the thundershirt on Lily when there are no storms or frightening events making usre to tell her how lovely she looks. The shirt is like a big hug to the dog. When she realizes nothing bad happens when she wears the shirt begin to put it on her in advance of a storm. We have a 13 year placid old pit bull who is very frightened of storms, fireworks and driving in the car (trips with her are NO pleasure.) The Thundershirt has really helped. She isn’t totally fear free but she is much better.

  29. Trudi Dido says:

    there is a homeopath in Atlanta who says there is a remedy for fear of loud noises. Maybe try to find one in NY and ask? Also Kate’s cure sounds great?! Good weather wishes for both of you.

  30. Sharon Shade says:

    My wolfhound mix was terrified of storms. A friend gave us a thundershirt and after wearing it for a few times only during storms, one day he came out of his hiding place under my feet, stretched himself out on the floor in his shirt and went to sleep. After that the time spent hiding got less and less. Lily may just need time to prove to herself that the shirt will protect her. But she should only wear it during a storm.

  31. Marjie T. says:

    Reading all these stories makes me happy that I have horses and cats, who totally ignore the thunder and just carry on as if nothing is different. Do they make ear plugs for dogs?

  32. Cheri says:

    Hi,
    Our big black lab is not affected by the thunder, but I got the thunder shirt a couple of years ago because of anxiety. My husband traveled a lot at the time and he was the “alpha” in our pack and our dog was so distraught, jumpy, anxious when he was gone. It worked really well to calm him, not completely, but 80% better. Ever see the Temple Grandin movie with Claire Dane? Same principle I think the developed to use with cattle.check it out. Good luck!

  33. Donna says:

    Lucy had thunder terror and I used Calms Forte, a homeopathic tablet – sometimes two for a big storm – and that seemed to help her relax a bit. Always wondered if I should get the Thundershirt but didn’t – glad after hearing all of your experiences. The Adaptil sounds like an interesting approach.

  34. Melissa says:

    My Abby (black lab mix) has all these same problems. We’ve tried every form of over the counter stress/anxiety meds possible. The biggest problem with these is that she refuses to eat even the yummiest of snacks while trembling and panting. My neighbor recommended Bachs Natural Remedy, which is a liquid solution you put on the dogs tongue with a dropper. It didn’t work for Abby, but that’s a suggestion to try. It’s cheap online. The thundershirt just paralyzed her, making her ever more terrified, so I wrapped it up nicely in the box provided and returned it for some other fool to buy and figure out it doesn’t work. Abby has found a nice “cave” at the end of the hallway where it’s dark. She still trembles and pants, but at least she isn’t glued to my leg. This leaves me to enjoy the thunderstorms and fall asleep in peace! Best of luck to you and Miss Lily!

  35. Sandy says:

    Rather than drugging your dog, try dosing them with Rescue Remedy. It works well in these situations and can be repeated as needed with no side effects. Also, act relaxed and happy and your fur baby will take their cues from you.

  36. Alyssa says:

    Before my sweet Sam passed away, the Thundershirt worked miracles for him. He was a Black Labrador Retriever/German Shepard mix. He was terrified of storms and fireworks. Which I agree should not be allowed in residential areas! He had Valium and we would also use Benadryl more frequently that the Valium for storms since they are frequent here in the South (it’s often an everyday thing in the summer months, not that we gave it to him every day, but when a particularly bad front was coming through). I bought the shirt at PetSmart one day and it was the best money I ever spent! I put it on him when a storm was brewing up and he was walking around like he owned the backyard once again. :) it was the most awesome thing ever! It’s the compression on the nervous system that promotes the calming effect, much the same way that it does in children/people with Autism (they use weighted blankets and vests).

    I have a cat inside and she would get very upset in general, just a skittish cat. The vet suggested that I try Comfort Zone with Feliway. It’s a plug in that releases a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. Sure enough, it calmed her right down. Sometimes if I’m not paying attention and it runs out, she starts acting strange and I realize what’s going on, get the refill and within about 10 minutes things are back to normal. They have one of these for dogs also.

    I would try the shirt again. She may just need to get used to the shirt itself :) Good luck and I hope you find something to help your sweet girl!

  37. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    I concur with your remark, Kevin, about fireworks being confined to stadiums. Our neighborhood suffered greatly July 3, 4, and 5 this year with a unsettling number of newly arrived idiots to the neighborhood. Earplugs could not have masked the shattering explosions in close proximity to my peaceful patio. My dog Jasmine disintegrated into a trembling mess of nerves, inconsolable, refusing to pee at 10pm before bed, darting around looking for safety, sticking to us with fear written all over her. We rescued her 7 years ago, and she came with “baggage”, like many do, but this type of reaction is preventable. All it takes is neighbors who are CONSIDERATE of others. They are in short supply, more’s the pity.

    Thunderstorms do not affect her the same way, small blessing. She is fine with thunder.

  38. Leigh Rogal says:

    Cesar Milan tells us that you must condition your dog to the Thundershirt during calm times so that he associates the shirt with calmness. Our Schnauzer, who is frightened by thunder, fireworks, gun shots, any loud noises, calms immediately when we put her Thundershirt on since she was properly introduced to the shirt. Shame on you who would rather drug your precious dogs rather than taking the time to acclimate him to the Thundershirt. Rescue Remedy is a good alternative, but it contains alcohol, so be careful.

  39. Didi says:

    My beagle went from panting and shaking to frozen with fear once we put the Thundershirt on her! She simply wouldn’t move – just stared at us, obviously wondering why we would do such a thing to her when she was already suffering. Fortunately, at the time we bought it, there was a money-back guarantee. We’ve had to get her Xanax as well and give her much more than I wish we did, now that fireworks are legal in our state. :(

  40. Marilou says:

    I had a Siberian Husky ( a rescue pup from our local veternarian ) that I raised from a pup. He lived thirteen years and died last year. I then adopted a three year old Siberian Husky mix. He has much of the looks of a Husky except he has a longer muzzle, longer legs and generally is larger than a pure Siberian Husky; but both of them share the coat. It is thick, down filled and very heavy. Actually they need to be brushed every day. I can not imagine putting a thunder shirt on one of these dogs. I have a feeling it would cause them more anxiety. I do know that the pup I raised hated thunder storms. He would go to the basement and hide under something only coming out when the weather cleared. This dog is not a lot different. He dislikes thunder storms. The thing I have noticed is even when he is in the house in the basement if there is a change in the weather coming he will howl. I wonder if this has something to do with barometric pressure? Perhaps thunder shirts work for some dogs; but I do not think it would work for a Husky. I just will keep doing what I have done in the past. If my dog is outdoors I will let him in and put him in the basement. It seems to be as calming as anything I can do.

  41. Susan McMurray says:

    Kevin — My large labradoodle, Charlie, was a total wreck during thunderstorms, as was my husbands pitbull, Stella. We have two Thundershirts and have been using them for two or three years. Charlie will come to me before we hear thunder and gets a look that says “NOW.” I’ll put it on & usually withing the next half hour, we have thunder & lightening, Both will wake me during the night, panting & trembling, if a storm is approaching. I was skeptical, but the shirts have made a tremendous difference. The other thing I use is Rescue Remedy. I use the liquid variety with a dropper — just a few drops just about anywhere in the dogs mouth works — this is the Bachs Remedy Melissa uses. It is so much easier to use and far quicker than a pill. Both dogs are so much easier to live with during storms. We also have a smaller rescue dog that the shirt doesn’t work for, but it was worth the try. The Rescue Remedy works for the little one. The Thundershirt is based on the work done by Temple Grandin who developed the “hug box”, originally used with cattle but now used for individuals with autism, & other animals. Like a lot of new things with animals, you have to give it a bit of time & even then it may not work, but for me, esp. working with rescue dogs, it is definitely worth it.

  42. Sandra says:

    I live in a rural area on a lake. Most of my neighbors are “weekenders”. They love to shoot fireworks and never think about those permanent residents that might not think it is so much fun to listen to their incessant racket on July 4th. My dogs are terrified of fireworks and it has turned a previously fun holiday into an annual nightmare. Our local chamber of commerce sponsors fireworks at a marina but that doesn’t seem to be enough. Bah, humbug! Lol

  43. Nancy says:

    With all the recent thunderstorms and fireworks, we felt so bad for our 90 lb. goldie that we broke down and tried the shirt. The meds take so long to kick in and then last forever and I hate to keep drugging him. We put the shirt on at the first hint of a storm because he seems to know well in advance what is coming. I wrapped it pretty tight. He was not totally calm but he was not sitting in my lap shaking either. We were happy with the results.

  44. Liz says:

    My little calico kitty, Meow-Yen, was a rescue and there are quite a few things she doesn’t like at all. Barking Dogs, Big Trucks and Thunder are the top three. I’ve got her to where, unless the dog is in the yard, she doesn’t react much, but the big semi’s and city trucks that occasionally drive through the neighborhood, she still runs and hides from. If the thunder is far away, she doesn’t mind any more, but if it’s close, she’s gone. Mostly, I’ve just acted like it’s no big deal, sometimes I will give her a treat or play with her with her laser pointer (she loves that thing). She just turned 3, so I’m hoping I can get the fear of the trucks reduced sooner than latter…

  45. Karen L. says:

    Kevin, I have been tempted to buy a thundershirt but have not heard of anyone thinking they work all that great so have not bothered (plus they are pricey!). Both my dogs hate thunder but especially fireworks …. and I must be an old man also since I too think they should only be set off in a “certified” area both for the area pets sake and for the sake of kids who want to keep all their fingers intact. Anyway, I can give my one dog something called Composure which if I remember to do it soon enough does help. That dog gets to shaking so badly that I think she is going to fall apart. My second dog cannot take the Composure as she is on medication for seizures. She however is not as bad as the other dog and will just sort of cling to us but does not get the shakes. They both end up in the bathroom where it is dark and like a “cave” so they appear to feel more secure there.

    By the way, at least it looks like Lily is wagging her tail while she asks you if she looks fat! (I did laugh out loud at that observation.)

  46. Don says:

    Our toy poodle, being “high strung” naturally, pants, shakes, follows me room to room, and attempts to get in my lap at ANY opportunity. If I let her in my lap she attempt to climb up to my shoulder. We bought a Thundershirt for her for travel, thunder, and the Fourth of July fireworks but alas it had absolutely no effect. We have an acquaintance who bought one for his dog and reported it had no effect either. These things don’t work. We found having the TV on in the den with the volume turned up, the radio on in the office, windows and doors closed, and the air conditioner turned on helped tremendously.

  47. Ruth Murray says:

    Our 11 year old Bouvier has separation anxiety, mostly from his primary human. The thundershirt works like a charm! He gets almost as excited to see it as he does the leash.

  48. Carol says:

    We put our darling fox terrier in an interior bathroom with the radio on and that soothed her.

  49. Jenny says:

    You’ve gotten some great advice here about acclimating to the thunder shirt, associating it with calm and food treats, putting it on well efore the storm, etc. Other things you might consider are creating a “safe place” that dampens the sensory input associated with the storm (sounds of wind, thunder, sights Iike darkening sky and lightning), and that provides alternate sensory input ( white noise, etc.). Good places for this are basements, interior rooms, bathrooms , or crates covered to create dark. Teaching “calm” is another important piece that should be worked on when no storms are occurring. It is helpful to provide distraction in the form of a Kong stuffed with a food mash and tasty meaty treats like chicken pieces, and then frozen to make it last.
    Don’t let anyone shame you about needing to use anti-anxiety meds, as they are an important tool , helping to lower anxiety enough to allow learning (that your dog is safe). Pheromones like adaptil can be helpful in this way , as well. There is no single magic pill or cure as the behavior and training piece is essential to success. I hope you find a combination of interventions that help your sweet dog through these stormy days!

  50. Nancie says:

    Kevin, it’s best to put the shirt on her when nothing she is fearful of is happening, several times, leaving it on without comment or anything to indicate you know this is different for her. In other words just go about your business, both of you. Then when there is a storm, try to get it on her before the vent starts. Sometimes tricky I know, but she will feel a storm before we see a storm. My girl likes hers on, it helps but doesn’t prevent all of her fear…I’m a huge fan of this product but a person with some basic sewing skills can whip one up in an hour or so I’d bet.

  51. Mary says:

    I wrapped my dog (a multipoo…who has the same reaction to thunder) in ‘bubblewrap’….securing it with stips of velcro…..beats paying $45 for a ‘thundershirt’…..in any event, he retreated to his ‘save haven’…..shaking and trembling so hard his teeth chatter…..he hides next to the toilet…..so, my ‘experiment’ was to no avail.

  52. Hi, Kevin — You and Lily have my full sympathies. It’s no fun, for *either* of you! We had the worst problem when we lived in Costa Rica since during the rainy season (6 months) we had thunder almost every day.

    We learned to use the Peace and Calming essential oil — a few drops rubbed in on top of their noses and it truly made a difference. I would also put some into an ultrasonic diffuser and put the diffuser on the floor and the dogs would literally lie down around it with their snouts practically *in* the mist. ;-)

    Thunder is pretty rare here in Utah (relatively, at least) but we still slather ‘em up with the Peace and Calming when it does come, or for fireworks, and it helps. Might be worth a try.

    Good luck!!
    –arden–

  53. Susan says:

    I bought a Thundershirt for one of my little Chihuahua rescues. It didn’t seem to really help her at all. It just made her hot and she begged to take it off. Actually, it seemed as though what calmed her most was getting the darn thing off. So we finally gave up on it. What has worked best for us is to diffuse Serenity essential oil. If we know a storm is coming we start the diffuser an hour or so before the storm.

  54. Rose Marie says:

    My little Boston terrier used to be afraid of any loud noises that she would pant and pace. If we have a thunderstorm, we snuggle in the recliner with a blanket and that seems to calm her down so we both fall asleep.

    We have a psycho mama cat that resides outside that will attack June without any provocation. June is so afraid of that stupid cat that I have to accompany her outside every time she needs a potty break or else she just stands at the door and watches and won’t go past the threshold. Now if I can get her to realize that she is three times the size of that crazy cat!

  55. jean says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Well, my sweet girl is Anni Louise and she is a Pekingese who is petrified of storms and has always been. She is now 9 years old and still very afraid. So someone recommended Drs Foster and Smith “Ultra-Calm” tablets and they work like a charm with her. They are supposed to be more all natural with good stuff plus chamomile in them. She weighs 14# and is supposed to get 2 tablets but I’ve given her one for years and it does the trick. It doesn’t knock her out but relaxes her and she will take a nap. So when I hear bad storms coming I try to give her one a few hours before if I have time so it has time to take effect. I just got a new bottle of them this week and if you would like me to send you a few to try on Ms. Lily before buying a container, I would be glad to do that. Then you could see if it would help her. Just let me know. Anni sends her love to Ms. Lily.

  56. Diane McGraw says:

    I tried the Thundershirt when my dog Callie developed separation anxiety after losing her best doggie friend. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for Callie, just made her too hot. She’s a border collie mix, so maybe that was part of the problem. I was able to return the shirt for a full refund.

  57. Carol ryan says:

    I also succumbed to the thunder shirt for my female Goldie. Poor Ms. Emma ( or misguided Carol). I put the shirt on her one day before I left for work. When I came home it was on the floor and she had piddled on it. I think that says it all for the effectiveness of the thunder shirt.

  58. susan sexton says:

    My cat Zeebee hides in the closet before the storm gets here .The other two cats say “awe, suck it up you coward”.

  59. Candace says:

    I have a Cocker Spaniel that is terrified of any loud noises. Or I should say when her hearing was good, she was terrified of any loud noises. I have used two things. A product called Rescue Remedy and vet prescribed sedatives. Both worked.
    Now that she is older (13) and very hard of hearing I do not have to use the sedatives. She is happy in her limited hearing world…..

  60. Nancy says:

    My dog Haylee, a shih tzu, is terrified of thunder, fire works and any loud noises. She trembles and follows me every where. We bought her a thunder shirt and it helps some. We also give her a low dose of Calm Down when we know a storm is coming. That helps too, if she calms down enough to let it work. She is a rescue dog and is about five years young.

  61. annette says:

    so glad i read this,i have 3 dogs,2 are afraid of storms,i feel sorry for them,i swear their going to have heart attacks,nothing calms them,also 1 cat that hides under the bed till storm is over..you saved me some money,i have been thinking of getting this for them….

  62. Elaine says:

    I use the Thunder shirt on our Shitzu and yes it does help. You must have them wear it on nice sunny days to associate with positive enforcements to get them used to it. So dont give up and also my vet says 1/2 to 1 Benadryl can be given also and that helps too ! Good luck and keep trying!

  63. Erycka says:

    I must say I throughly enjoyed your post about Lily and her “thing” with thunder storms, and I can attest that even for people storms can be unsettling. I have been ignorant to the fact that so many of us have pets with similar struggles/challenges that permeate our lives sending us off to find remedies to effectively change behaviors.I was surprised to learn that Vet’s prescribe prescription drugs, and hugging shirts to animals scared of a storm. As a mother of four I know a thing or two about calming fears of irrational, facts-of-life, circumstances. Yet I am intrigued, as a problem-solver thinker, as to a methodology approach isn’t more pervelant. I hear the Dog Whisper, Cesar Millan, in my mind saying that a mind fixed on a behavior gets stuck there, and that dogs must be rehabilitated, and their humans retrained. In any case I love the add-ons we give our animal companions, the humanistic quality we lend them, I mean if we love them surely it is because they stir within us a human emotion, but all in all they are dog’s with doggie senses (incredible as they are) but they still are dogs. It may aid us to understand our pets accurately based on the science of the species, so that we are better equipped at helping them live their best life with us. Thank you.

  64. Joy says:

    A dog’s thunder terrors is distressing for all of us, and it seems to worsen with age. As with many things, the thunder shirt is most effective when put on the dog before she is in full meltdown. For instance, don’t wait for thunder to roll. If a storm is forecast & the clouds are beginning to build, do it then. Make it pretty snug. My senior deerhound Journey finds valerian very helpful as well; one capsule should be plenty for Lily. A whippet, now long gone, responded well to 5 spritzes of Bach Rescue Remedy. We had no thunder shirts in those days, but she did like to be wrapped snugly in a t-shirt. Best of luck for you & Lily.

  65. Dennis R says:

    When lightning & thunder come around here my outdoor cats (Lady Madonna & MollyJones) head for parts unknown…probably under my deck. My indoor cats Jo-Jo & Lucy find a spot under our bed. Me? …. I hide inside a glass or two of Jack Daniels.

  66. Sheri says:

    I help with Airedale Rescue and we use the Thundershirt regularly. There are always a few dogs it doesn’t help. The last rescue–Chester– would go pull it off the shelf and carry it over to me whenever he sensed a storm coming. It may work better for Lily if you put if on before she starts panting, etc. Hope you find something that helps.

  67. Janis says:

    My poor dobie (Cowboy) is terrified of t-storms. The Thundershirt was a wasted $40. Made no difference and we tried every suggested way of using it. I gave it to my neighbor to try but it did not work for her dog either. It breaks your heart to see your beloved little friend go thru such anxiety and fear.

    I did take a blanket and put it over Cowboy the other night, while patting and soothing him. It distracted him as he tried to get the blanket off but I kept a firm grip. Believe it or not, after a couple of minutes he stopped fighting the blanket and did lie down and let out a sigh. He still shivered but was not panting or crying. I, of course, was with him talking to him, patting him. I think not seeing the lightning helped him a little bit. My sister has luck wrapping her dog quite snuggly in a big comforter. I am open to suggestions from anyone.

  68. Deborah L. Marshall says:

    Different advice from a licensed veterinarian. Homeopathics can work really well here. Rescue Remedy is always a first to try. You have a licensed animal naturopath as a follower by the name of Carolyn Contois. Call her and try not to zonk out your pet on tranquilizers.

  69. Marcia Leitschuh says:

    I second the recommendation for “Rescue Remedy”. It can be found in many health food stores, herb stores, etc. My neighbor’s dog, who does all of what Lily does plus drools excessive amounts with thunder and fireworks, is significantly calmed with Rescue Remedy – the drooling stops and shaking lessens.
    Rescue Remedy treats shock type symptoms and I also put a drop or two into the water when I transplant seedlings. Or in a vase of cut flowers – especially wildflowers which tend to droop easier than cultivated varieties.
    And I put it in water and drip it on the beaks of birds who knock themselves out on my windows.
    And take a drop myself if something kicks up fear or anxiety in me. It’s a good addition to a first aid kit.

  70. Janet Goree says:

    My one year old rescue pug(1 of 8) is on xanax but even that did not work so she actually takes puppy proz!ac daily and xanax for the actual storm which works! No screeching all night. As a trainer I can tell you thunder shirt works great for some but does nothing for others. Do you know some dogs get freaked because when a storm is in the air their hair actually “stands on end” and any snug shirt will lay that hair down comforting it.

  71. Marg Buck says:

    I read the first pose from Cheryl B. my thoughts exactly. Do not for get to sweet talk her when it is on. Tell her she is pretty.

  72. Bonnie says:

    I have four Papillon’s and one is five year old male and he is so scared of the thundering and the thunder shirt don’t work for him. He follows us around and walks the floors, and shakes. It is awful and I would hate to give him medicine because the storms usually don’t last that long. It is so sad they get scared like that. Just have to hold and love on them while the thundering is going on. Good Luck

  73. Be careful, my dog over heated.

  74. Terri says:

    Poor Lily…I have a Boston Terrier that is also terrified of storms and fireworks the fourth of July every year is a miserable time for him.

  75. Brenda says:

    Kevin, you’re bang on (yikes! no pun intended!) about the fire works. I’m all for celebrating the 4th, but someone else’s fun shouldn’t make my family miserable.

  76. Brenda says:

    Oh and our dog Chet has a thundershirt which a very nice man at out vet’s office gave us. (He’d purchased the wrong size for his dog and thought it might fit ours. He wouldn’t let us pay him either!) Chet still pants and paces, but it must do something for him because when a storm starts, he wants to put it on. I just show him the shirt and he comes and stands in front of me.

  77. I’m a certified professional dog trainer. Thunder Shirts (TS) work about 75% of the time. The dog really needs to wear it a couple of times before using it for the intended purpose. Some trainers have had their dogs come to them and indicate that it was time to put the shirt on. There is a similar product – Storm Defender.

    I used it on my own highly fearful of noise, storms, people dog when she went to a group class. At the first meeting (no shirt) she was highly afraid of every single person there. She wore it at the next session and permitted people to approach her and give her treats. At the next wearing, she started approaching people to solicit treats. It did not help with the thunderstorms but it sure helped at the class.

    Before TS, I often suggested having the dog wear a very snug dog Tshirt as it would act in similar fashion to an anxiety wrap. The wraps are a bit more expensive.

    **** the other thing to look at is Comfort Zone DAP – Dog Appeasing Pheromone. It comes a spritz bottle (into the room and onto a bandana – lasts about 4, 5 hours) or the versions which last for about a month – plug in for a small room or looks like a dog flea collar (worn 24/30). This the same pheromone the mommy dog emits to puppies to help calm them. I tell my students “This is one of the times to get the brand name.”.

  78. Cathy Haynes says:

    WOW Kevin…a 1 mg Xanax? If I take one of those, I am out like a light, and I weigh WAY more than Lily!!! Years ago, I used to take .25 mg, and deemed them my “I don’t give a *** pill” I have a high tolerance for meds, and when I was experiencing really debilitating anxiety, my doc upped it to 1 mg. I actually cut them in half, because I can’t function with a whole one.

    Poor Lily. I hope she feels better!

    Hugs,
    Cathy

  79. Marci says:

    Kevin..My Austrialian Terrier, Good Golly Miss Molly, has all kinds of anxieties- car rides,
    vacuums, brooms, mom leaving, being up (on the bed, couch, etc). I bought her a
    Thundershirt, mostly for car rides as she becomes absolutely panic stricken. It just confuses
    her more than soothes her. It did work one time, long enough for me to get rid of the box and
    the receipt. But it has not done anything since except make her hot and uncomfortable. I
    can’t give her meds because she is diabetic and they conflict. Sooooo we don’t go very many
    places although she wants to initially, then she is sorry she begged to go. I leave her home when I have to, but she suffers separation anxiety then! We just love her through as much as
    possible. Fireworks didn’t seem to bother her, thanks to TV, fans, neighbors that aren’t as crazy as they used to be, etc. Molly would love Lilly, by the way!

  80. Lori says:

    My German Shepherd is the same-panting, trembling all over, following me to the point she is attached to my hip. I did try something called Rescue Remedy which seems to help quite a bit. It is an herbal concoction and I just put a drop on her lip. Like I said, it doesn’t totally cure it but I don’t worry about her having a heart attack from the trembling and panting. She is 14 with a heart murmur so that is my concern. We are due for some pretty severe weather tomorrow and Tuesday. I’ll be sure to keep the music on also although she senses them before I can even hear them. Good luck! Poor puppies!

  81. paula K says:

    our grand-dog (part mini pinscher, part fox terrierr) became afraid of storms after granddaughter arrived so it is more of a “hey, I’m the needy one” reaction. they have not tried the shirt yet. He also lived thru Sandy so that might play a role. Background noise as others suggest, Air Cond. etc. helps. AGREE Kevin, Enough with the private fireworks! We had them last night–not on the holiday– out of the blue til midnight. Annoying and dangerous.

  82. Becky says:

    OMG. I had the same reaction with my Lola, yellow lab, didn’t help at all.

  83. Shawnee says:

    Ah Kevin, so grateful for yours and Lily’s experiment as it has saved me even feeling guilty about not investing. I began my read, hopeful your sweet girl would have a better tale to tell. As for me, I have one Aussie/ border collie mix who regularly tries to crawl inside my backbone, a great Pyrenee/ golden mix who shows sisterly sympathy pains, and a great Pyrenee/ Aussie pup who is fairly certain the other two are looney tunes. The great thing about having a thunderdog is that you have a built in barometer hanging at your heels long before the upcoming event, and in the deep South that’s as nice a boon as it must surely be in your neck of the woods.

  84. Jeannie says:

    I’ve had dogs all my life and I’m retired now. Some of my dogs were nervous and some were not. It is my opinion that a lot of dog owners whose dogs are nervous tend to baby them during storms and fireworks which only makes the dog worse. When my dogs are nervous, they usually come close and I let them stay as close as they want (which can be on top of me!), but I do not baby talk or try to soothe them with a lot of words and caresses. That would be rewarding them for the nervous behavior and encouraging to act that way the next time. I go about my business and act like the storm/fireworks is no big deal. I have a thundershirt for my ADD mixed schnauzer and it helps some, but certainly doesn’t stop the problem. I agree that the shirt should be put on early.

  85. Michele Reeves says:

    Kevin, I use essential oils, aromatherapy, for my rotten little poodle that is super bad at the groomers. I put a drop on tips of her ears, between her pads (feet) and sometimes a swipe in her mouth, and I diffuse it. Also great for allergies. It is Lavender essential oil. My groomer noticed a big difference in behavior. Put it on once or twice a day. Hope this helps.

  86. Cathy says:

    I have three dogs. I have used the thunder shirt on two of the dogs with great success. I put it on them as soon as we hear thunder or lightning. The shirts come with a money back guarantee.
    I have used pills called Quiet Moments calming aid. They are available at Petsupermarket. You can find them on amazon also. There are instructions of dosage on bottle.

  87. Newton says:

    My Fox Terrior, Fox, is in my car traveling with me all the time. The first 4 years no problems. About a year ago whenever I was traveling on the interstate, he would shake when eight-teen wheelers passed us.

    The thunder shirt worked. We only put the shirt on him when we were traveling on the interstate highways. After about six months, the TS wasn’t needed.

    A friend mentioned her vet told her to use fabric sheets (the ones that go in the dryer), for panic attacks. Just rub the sheet on their fur. The sheets also keep mosquitoes away. Rub the sheets on you to keep bugs away !!!

  88. Bett says:

    My 3-leggd darling, Gus, is the same with fireworks. He trembles, he shakes, his tongue protrudes 4″ from his mouth, nothing I say or do can help. I bought the thundershirt, and it had absolutely zero effect on him. So, looks like the two of us have it to do every 4th of July and New Years Eve for the next ten years. He’s worth it.

  89. Mix up a batch of martini’s, share out of your champaign glass. Skol!!!

  90. Kat says:

    I would definitely keep trying the thunder shirt multiple times before giving up on it. It is the same principle as the weighted blankets developed and used with many autistic children and adults. Much like Temple Grandin’s squeeze machine can soothe many autistic adults (she has high functioning autism herself). Gentle pressure has been found to comfort many people and animals alike. I hate when fireworks go off and think of the terror of wild animals-they have no one to explain to them it’s going to be ok.
    Good luck with your beloved pet and don’t give up yet. Also adjust the amount of pressure of the thunder shirts, somepeople put them on too tight, others too loose.
    Good luck.

  91. Diane says:

    All my dogs over the years have been terrified of lightning and thunder. Nothing helped. Once I got tranquilizers for a dog and instead of calming her, it wired her. I flushed all the rest down the toilet. I don’t understand why a snug-fitting jacket would make a dog or cat less afraid of the noise and trauma. Go Lily……………..be brave!
    .

  92. Ellen says:

    I hate, HATE, H A T E, fireworks for all the above reasons and think your suggestion of limiting them to stadiums and only very limited days per year sounds acceptable. They are unnecessary, obnoxious, dangerous and expensive. Don’t these fire-bombers have ANYTHING better to spend their money on??? My Poor lurcher, Sofie is (like most dogs) mentally torn to shreds at any sound of pop, boom or weeeeeeeee! (including thunderstorms). Wherever she is, the poor dear thinks that just going somewhere else i.e. outside, inside, in car etc. she’ll escape the pain and anguish but alas, as she has found out that is not the case. She LOVES her thundershirt but it doesn’t change her fear in the slightest:((( All summer she is a constant MESS as I live in a neighborhood of idiots. I need to move to the wilds of Montana:) HA! Also tried: Rescue Remedy for dogs, Composure TM Pro and something else from vet and NOTHING works. I think one day she’ll just have an heart attack and die, poor girl.

  93. Cathy Carmody says:

    My grand dog, Ellie, has suffered like this with storms since she was a pup. The situation seems to be getting worse as she ages. She’s about 11 years old now. A few years ago a thunder shirt was bought for her – waste of money – it didn’t work. Drugs administered well before the storm are all that works for dear Ellie!

  94. Janet E says:

    I have a 12 year old Giant Schnauzer that has gotten worse as he has gotten older, other 2 fur babies are fine. But poor Luke shakes like a leaf for fireworks, the site of a gun or storms and the only thing that will calm him is for me to sit on the sofa and let him crawl into my lap – all 90 pounds!!!!!! LOL When we are in bed he tries to crawl under the bed, but just can’t make it under that 6″, so I sit on the edge and just hug him. Would never leave the house with storms in the forecast.

  95. Denise McInerney says:

    I have 2 thunder-phobic border collies who also react to fireworks, firearms (hunters in the woods nearby) plus to add insult to injury, we live near a quarry that blasts (apparently randomly) a couple times a week, argh! The thundershirt definitely helps with storms but I discovered it only helps when it’s put on before the thunder starts. I use a warning app on my cell phone. The shirt also worked for one of my friend’s dogs but not for another, so I guess it just depends on the dog.

    And as some people mentioned, getting used to wearing it when nothing is happening except good stuff (mmm, rotisserie chicken!) really seemed to help.

    With fireworks, on the other hand, all bets are off. We load them into the car beforehand if we know there will be fireworks in our area, turn up the radio and drive around till it’s “safe” to come home. We have someone on the street behind us who seems to have a never-ending supply of illegal fireworks. He shot some off 2 hours before midnight on New Year ‘s Day (not Eve!) 2013 that literally shook the house and sent a previous dog shivering and shaking for five hours. Two days later, she started having seizures, and we lost her 8 months later to a severe grand mal. May or may not have been related to those horrendously loud fireworks, but it was sure a coincidence and we’ll always wonder.

    As Deborah Clark mentioned, the dogs can get hot very quickly in the shirts, so I always turn on a floor fan to keep them cooled down.

    I’ve tried Rescue Remedy too, putting it on their tongues and also inside the earflap, rubbing it in. Seems to take the edge off a bit. Good luck!

  96. della says:

    I have one of the shirts & it works for my Journey. She doesn’t like fireworks,loud bangs. Thunder storms don’t seem to bother her. We live out in the country & the west man some times starts the 4th a little sooner then most people. Just hate that day. Do close up the windows,t.v. up loud,thunder shirt on. I leave it on all nite. This is how we work with the 4th. And for a couple days after the 4th. we just put it on at nite, once the sun starts to go down, before we go to bed. The man west of use must get his ammo for free. They use a lot of it just to shut at nothing. So glad for them. Ha, Ha. Denise so sorry to hear about the lost of your dog. I too would wonder when your best friend dies if it was cause by was what going on at the time. I do put the fans on when i have her shirt on. Every one just have to try to see what works best for your dogs or cats. Sometime we may have to do more then one thing to help them. They are just like our kids, we do what we have to do to keep them safe.

  97. Jeanne K Collins says:

    My Mimi is terrified of fireworks. Having an 84 lb border collie/labrador retriever mix panicking in the house is worse than a bull in a china store! I got Mimi a Thundershirt and although it did not calm her down 100%, it took her from frantically pacing the house, panting and drooling to laying on the sofa next to me panting. She still starts when the big ones go off, but she stays laid next to me. So I’d rate the improvement at about 60%. Sorry it didn’t work for your dog, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for all. Have you considered part of her anxiety she is reading from you? Why are you moving about the house from room to room? and what is your attitude when doing that? Dogs are more preceptive than people and they feed off their human pack leader’s emotions, Maybe time for a tutoring by Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer?

  98. Michelle F. says:

    When it thunders here in GA, our outside dogs scratch at the back door. That sounds simple, but we’re talking about claw marks that look like a bear tried to rip the back door off. Our four little ones that live inside sing. The Chihuahua will start, a high soprano bark, which will set the scotty off into a tenored howl. Then one of the mini dachshunds will start a rhythmed alto bark while the other one falls into a synchopated bass rhythm. I swear! It’s quite harmonious, and lovely to listen to for the two or so minutes it lasts.

  99. Elaine ransom says:

    No one has mentioned the dryer sheet. Our 14 yr old rescue walker hound was terrible with thunderstorms, fireworks and if the gas cannons went off in the fruit growing areas when we travelled, she’d try to climb back into the vehicle thro the windshield. Gotten better in the last year or two but many the night I’ve had to sleep with one arm hanging over thee side of the bed touching her. A rub down with a dryer sheet helped with the approach of the storm but the noise and vibrations of bangs of any kind had her hiding,even fireworks more than 10 k. Away. Want her to leave the vicinity, use a stapler!

  100. Joan says:

    We have 2 dogs, one large mix and one small mix. Both were afraid of the stroms. They would both follow close on my heels. I was working at a health food store at the time and we stocked rescue remendy. They market one for pets with the very same ingredients as the remendy for people. I used it on both pets, it worked well on the large dog but not the smaller one. I would give the large dog his dose and within two minutes he would lie down on his bed, no longer showing signs of stress. The little dog it didn’t help at all but seeing her buddy being calm helped her somewhat.
    Rescue remendy is good for calming some people too. You can always try this yourself before you give it to your pets. Very safe non habit forming. Don’t take my word on it. Read up on it, be an informed buyer.

  101. Bev says:

    my terrier is scared of loud noises, fireworks and emergency sirens being the worst. I was thinking that some type of ear “muffs” that help block the sound might work best. Those loud noises must be super-loud with a dog’s keen hearing. A couple of fireworks that a neighbor set off this 4th actually caused pain in My ears. :(

  102. Sandy Sebold says:

    Our little dog, is almost 14, and terrified of thunderstorms. We have not tried a thunder shirt. Through trial and error we have found the best way to calm him at night, is to turn the t.v. on and adjust the volume up abit. This relaxes him and he lets us sleep in peace, otherwise, he scratches on our doors, trying to get away. We close our bedroom door and he seems to watch the t.v. til he calms down and falls asleep! I don’t think he likes the talk shows so I usually look for a nice movie for him to watch!

  103. Linda says:

    Kevin, when I saw the Thundershirt, I could not wait to read what you had written! You are so funny!
    Well I bought one for my Buddy, and I found that it doesn’t work like I wish, like magic. Buddy goes off like a big cry baby when he knows I am getting ready to walk them. (I think he has issues with abandonment) He can tell by the clothes and shoes I put on! But that is the only time that he does this.. they are so smart.Once we all are walking, he is fine, but getting him out the door is traumatic to say the least. So.. the only thing I have found to help a little, is to put the shirt on him first before I do anything else.. and don’t utter the word “go”! Having two dogs and trying to get them ready before he starts screaming is a challenge… so maybe putting on the shirt before the thunder arrives might help… and someone needs to come up with something for their ears.. fireworks and thunder doesn’t seem to phase my dogs… but let some one set foot in my drive way and they go off… so that tells me they have fantastic hearing and needs to be protected. I hope in time that it works out better for you and Lily… and it may just take time. Good luck to the both of you.

  104. sara swift says:

    Kevin
    When Lily gets anxious due to thunderstorms buy some Rescue Remedy (Bach Flowers- available from any health food store and sometimes food stores or pharmacies)
    Shake the bottle vigorously then place four drops of Rescue Remedy into lily’s mouth and then 4 drops for you too . Calms pets down very quickly . can repeat every hour as needed

    or if you or Lily do not like the taste of brandy

    Place 4 drops of Rescue Remedy in a brown or blue dosage bottle – with a1/4 of bottle filled with a preservative of vegetable glycerine or apple cider vinegar and the rest of the bottle filled with 3/4 spring water. After shaking the bottle vigorously place four drops in Lily’s mouth. This is excellent for shock trauma . Sara

  105. despina says:

    Hugs to Lily,

    Dr. Patterson is terrific. she cured Misha of hiccups that lasted hours.

    Keep us posted.

  106. Glenda says:

    You know the best thing about reading these comments? The absolutely wonderful people who LOVE their pets and do so much for them! It brings tears to my eyes. I wish for the folks in Kevin’s community many blessings in return for all the love they give to their pets. :-)

    Rescue Remedy does work well. Also Composure – chews or liquid – available on Amazon. Thundershirts work sometimes, but not always – depends on the animal and the situation.

  107. Helene says:

    My German Shepard was upset by strong winds blowing, but not gun shots or fireworks. Whenever she was agitated, the thunder shirt seemed to calm her down, and in fact, often when she saw it come out of the box she seemed to want to put it on. I also had her on hyperimmune proteins that seem to calm people and non-human animals as well.

  108. Denise says:

    There are a number of homeopathic remedies that can help with anxiety, stress and fear associated with thunderstorms. Homeopathy is very individual and precise so you will need to try this and tweak to get it to work exactly right for your animal. I have worked with a number of people and their animals and the remedies phosphorus and rhododendron have helped. It is natural and inexpensive and you can get the remedies in the health food stores. Good luck.

  109. Sharon says:

    Kevin-My dog is a 9 yr old rescue that I’ve had for almost 2 years. The 1st time it thundered & lightened he went ballistic & almost knocked over my tv by trying to get in back of it. Fireworks the same. I tried putting him in the bathroom but he gouged all the woodwork & the door. A friend told me she had tried the thundershirt & it worked for her dog. I bought one last year & it works to calm him down. He spends a lot of time “glued” to my legs but it’s better than tearing the house apart. I have also tried Benadryl & that also works. Keep trying it before the noise starts & it does work. Wish they had them for adults along with tick & mosquito herbal collars. Love your blog. Can’t wait for my Doyle thornless blackberries are ripe so I can make your easy brickle.

  110. Rachel DeRagon says:

    A friend of mine swears by Rescue Remedy. It’s a very safe herbal tincture. I find everyones comments about the thunder shirts interesting. I don’t think I’ll be purchasing one.

  111. Pat T says:

    The trick to the thunder shirt is to put it one before the storm comes. The pressure kind of regulates their nervous system and when the storm hits, they hopefully take a calmer view of it. We have used pressure vests on children with autism for many years. It helps them regulate their nervous system also.

  112. Lisa b says:

    When Cassie could hear, she would keep barking at the thunder the entire storm. Now that she is older and mostly deaf, we all get some sleep. :)

  113. Jenny L says:

    I agree with some of the above posters. If possible, you have to put the shirt on before the storm hits. Maybe try watching the weather radar in the afternoons. We have had great results with it – unless the thunder gets really bad and then we just have to sit with her.

  114. nancy says:

    Bailey, age 7, became nervous during thunderstorms several years ago. She paces and then seeks out a dark, sheltered corner of the house, but doesn’t seem to want to go into her kennel which is always open. We tried xanax and it didn’t work well at all – she paced even more and couldn’t even stand up; totally disoriented and unsteady. So more of that. Benadryl (25 mg. for each 25 lbs.) seems to work better – not 100% but some help. I’ve also tried the Rescue Remedy for dogs – no luck with that.
    We think it is as much the pressure caused by the approaching storm as it is the noise – or a combination of it all. There is also some thought that dogs prone to separation anxiety are more prone to problems with thunderstorm activity.
    Good luck with Lily.

  115. Lynda says:

    Forget the drugging and $40 shirts. Didn’t work for my dog. Then I learned about tapping on your dogs meridian points (works for people too!). Here is one good site to learn how to tap your animal or tap on yourself for your animal. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/05/16/eft-on-pets.aspx
    This worked amazingly! Then I started doing it for my cat for vet trips. No more vomiting, panting, sometimes even peeing and pooping in the crate for the 15 minute ride there. No more biting and clawing the vet when we got into the office. And the best part? Learning EFT/tapping doesn’t cost a thing! Do a google search. There is a lot of information and research on this technique.

  116. Teresa says:

    We have 3 dogs now. The one I had previously would try to hide in a closet at the first strike of lightning. Baily, our old blind German Shorthair, is like that. She gets extremely upset and just lays on her mat and pants. We usually just try to distract her and turn up the TV volume or something to remove that part of the noise. That seems to work best for her as she can’t see the lightning anyway.

    The other two are oblivious. We have two standard poodles that nothing seems to bother. I even took Perse to the neighborhood fireworks display and … nothing… she lay beside my lawn chair and watched. Of course she watches TV too…

    Good luck with Lily. I don’t know what triggers such a fright in our beloved pets but just sitting with them and hugging and stroking is good for them and for us.

  117. Paula says:

    M newfoundland Penny became terrified of thunder storms after our house was struck by lightning. I use Bach’s Rescue Remedy to calm Penny. But I use it ahead of time, and instead of giving it to her directly from the dropper in her mouth, I put a few drops in her water bowl and let her drink from the bowl. It seems to calm her down, and though she still likes a dark place to stay during the storms at least she’s no longer barking at the door.

  118. Constance says:

    We are very luckily with our girls! They were exposed from birth to those sounds (recordings of course) – that is part of “bomb” proofing Assistance Dogs. They both do really well. They do tend just to want to cuddle a bit more, but hey, I am all for a good cuddle under blankets and reading a good book!

    On the 4th of July for our Yellow lab I gave her a tablet of melationin (My black one gets one every night for hair growth issues) just in case and she just crawled into her crate and did some snoozing and did some cuddling a little later.

    Hope Lily does well with the next one.

  119. Kerry says:

    I bought the thunder shirt and Hope didn’t react either. I however did introduce it to fireworks and loud noises later on so she has no problems there. There is a CD of everyday and loud noises like thunder, fireworks, fire engines, police sirens etc. they use for training dogs (therapy). You start it on low and eventually turn it up so they can handle the noises after a while of listening (months) without bad reactions. I also have homeopathic remedies around the house just in case something does bother her. Most of the time it is when i leave her alone that we have problems with anxiety (both of us) since she my therapy dog. I also have the treat balls and gong to keep her busy.

  120. Kim says:

    Our German Shepherd Daisy, also does not like storms. AT ALL! I got her the Thundershirt with the understanding I would take it back(100% refund guaranteed). The first time I put it on, I did it when the storm had already hit us. It was a no go. After rereading the directions, I read that you should put it on before the storm arrives. So I gave it another chance. It was early spring in the mid west, so storms hit often. The second time, as soon as the skies started to darken I placed her ‘HUG’ on her. It worked like a charm. Now she actually looks for her ‘HUG’ as soon as she feels the air pressure changing. So I am a firm believer that the Thundershirt does work, at least it does for our Daisy.

  121. Tammy says:

    I do not have a dog, but our family did when I was young. A beautiful german shepherd, and she would react to fireworks by “attempting” to get under beds, and when that always failed, you could always find her in the bathroom in the tub behind the shower curtain. She would shake terrible and shed like crazy! We hated it when this time of year came, because our dog was not the only one to respond this way in the neighborhood. I look forward to the day when I will be able to get a dog, and it’s nice to know there are these “HUG’s” for a dog to wear…at least I will be prepared! Thanks for sharing!

  122. Ania says:

    Xanax all the way. Worth it. I have 3 large dogs, give them a half on July 4th, play some music, problem solved. Nothing else really works, unless you’re willing to put in hours and hours of re-training and positive association.

  123. Anne q says:

    My schnauzer mix trembles, pants, drools, and won’t leave my side in thunderstorms. If we are not home she chews on doors- chewed the bottom off one that our large lab could fit through. Thunder shirts have no effect at all. No one I know has had any success with them. She has been thru training with noise and still no difference. I go with better living thru chemistry. Xanax.

  124. Debra Gresh says:

    Poor Lily. I have three mini dachshunds, Chase, Hopper and Bella. Hopper is terrified of storms and loud noises so upon my vets suggestion I invested in the Thunder Shirt as well. Glad I wasn’t the only one that needed the YouTube video to “install,” the contraption! It seemed to have no effect the first two times I used it…but on the third try something amazing took place. Severe thunderstorms were in the forecast and I had to go to work so I, “installed,” Hoppers shirt and hoped for the best. I ran home for lunch to check on him as the storms were pretty intense and found him sans shirt and that his brother and sister had set him free! I got the message….will try the Xanax perhaps.

  125. Cheryl says:

    My son’s dog Claire is afraid of thunder and fireworks. Since we’ve had a lot of both lately Adam began putting Claire into one of his old T-shirts, which fits her snugly. At first it was a chore just getting the dog in the shirt. Once the shirt was on, she began calming down on her own.

    It’s been a few weeks since the shirt routine started. Now Claire helps Adam put the shirt on (she holds up her paws one at a time to put through the arms of the shirt) and settles down immediately. No Xanax or any other drugs have been needed, for her or for Adam!

    The dog has associated the snug fitted T-shirt as her source of calm. No more hiding in corners or under my desk. This works, I’m not kidding!

  126. Jeri Hansen says:

    My dog lays by the side of the bed where I sleep wanting petting and comfort that It’s alright..
    He also hates fireworks. Have tried calming pills but they don’t work. Does anyone have any ideas? It would be grateful.

  127. Helen says:

    Our dog is terrified of any loud noises and is even afraid of power tools. During July and fireworks I go to my vet and get a supply of “doggy downers”. They definitely work but every dog is different. Stay with your dog until you figure out how much the dog needs. We have over-medicated before and stairs were a hazard!

  128. T. Sophia says:

    Kevin…..

    A Thundershirt? Really?
    Lily the Beagle is patient and kind.
    And I agree. The caption to that photo is perfect !!!
    Guess beagles are vain !
    Split the pill you/Lily….!

    T.Sophia:))

  129. T. Sophia says:

    Oh, have you tried Valerian root in liquid form? Coupla drops and she should go right to sleep. Works on my friend’s Airedales (sp?).

    T.Sophia:))

  130. Amanda Mid-Hudson Valley says:

    The Thundershirt is a big hit around here. Shelby wears it not only during storms but when she’s anxious and confused in general (she’s 14 and doesn’t like chaos, which we specialize in). But I think the dose of xanax for Lily is way off. Dogs metabolize it differently and need more per pound than we do.

  131. Denise in Colorado says:

    Hmmmm! That’s a tough call! Try putting it on her again and let her follow you! You calm her better than pills! We are so lucky both our dogs are used to thunder and just ignore it! Huge crashes of thunder tonight! It is almost flooding and hailing on my plants outside! At least it’s not wildfire weather! :-)

  132. Erlyn says:

    Hi,

    I bought our dog, Roscoe, a Storm Defender Cape9 on Amazon). It works great. Roscoe can usually tell me when a thunderstorm is coming – he goes and hides. If I can get he jacket on him before the storm arrives – all the better. He still likes to sit near one of us but he does not tremble as much and understands that the jacket helps. He willingly seeks the jacket. I now put it one him in anticipation of a storm and he is very receptive.

  133. mary mcgraw says:

    I have a golden who is very afraid of heavy rain, thunderstorms, fireworks, and loud noises. I have tried meds from the vet that made my bailey a zombie. I bought the thunder shirt a couple of years ago. It helped a little but we still had the shakes, drooling and clinging to me. I have used lavender oil and given her massages and then put on the thunder shirt. She was still scared to death. I just ordered a “calming collar”. It was advertised in the All Animals magazine from the Humane Society. I put it on Bailey when the thunder storm rolled in. She still shook, but not as much. This may be the answer for me and Bailey, I hope so. You can order them from http://www.calmingcollars.com.

  134. Joni D. says:

    Poor Lily! It’s horrible to be so terrified of something! We too have a dog that is terrified of storms. He lets me know (long before my aching bones do!) that a storm is coming! I purchased a Thundershirt …. and it does help IF I get it on him before the storm arrives. I also read that rubbing a dryer sheet on helps as they feel the static electricity in the air long before it arrives – this combination of a dryer sheet and then the Thundershirt seem to have helped my 65lb. boxer/pit mix!! He loves his kennel (which I covered with an old sheet), but not during a storm – he wants to go to the garage!!! We put him in the garage with the door open to the house and he seems much calmer. My sister swears by Composure – I haven’t tried it yet. I do think I will try lavender though! Good luck and sometimes the shirts have to be used a few times before our beloved pets figure out that they are calming!

  135. Donna Cheung says:

    When was Lily born? Was she a winter baby? I have heard that puppies born in the winter are more likely to be disturbed about loud noises. There is no thunder during our crazy cold Canadian winter here in Manitoba. Our golden was an April born pup and she never flinched or reacted in any way to loud noises, while our daughter’s dog born in January is a trembling mess when ever she is startled by a loud bang or the distant rumble of an approaching thunderstorm.
    Maybe something to research.
    Poor Lily…poor Papa too, so hard to watch and feel so helpless.

  136. Lori says:

    Leigh Rogal : Seriously? Shame on us for drugging our dog in a crisis? I say shame on you for passing judgement.

  137. Bette says:

    We purchased the Thunder Shirt for our Hoagie and were sure it was the answer for his bad times when there is thunder here. He is also afraid of fireworks and any loud talking like when my husband it watching sports or political news. That is another story… Anyway we put it on him as soon as it arrived to see how it fit and if he liked it. First thing he fell over on his side and would not get up. After about 15 minutes he got up on all fours and seemed ok with it. But the first real test when an actual storm was booming we knew that this wasn’t the miracle cure for our boy!! Now he has a safe place between the bed and side table or in my lap on the recliner in the living room. Poor guy…..

  138. sue allen says:

    My husband got the Thunder shirt for our chihuahua who panted and shook like she was having spasms. At first it didn’t seem to be working, but now when she hears thunder she stands willingly to have the shirt put on her. She lays down by me and sleeps during the storms. Living in the Lightening Capital of No. Am. AKA Central Fl, the Thunder shirt is working for our dog. I was surprised it worked…lol

  139. myrtle miller says:

    That is very unusual that it’s not working. Gypsy is not afraid of storms but when I put her jacket on it really helps with some of her behaviors. She loves to take me for a walk but when I put her jacket on she looks like one of those dogs in those dog shows. So this is what I would try with Lily when the storm begins just pick her up and mirror vocally what you think she’s feeling. Verbally reduce the sound of the storm and mock it thoroughly or just sympathize with what you think she’s feeling. Our dog Gypsy has trouble going to sleep at night so when I don’t have her bark collar on I sing to her. Also you don’t want the jacket on too tight but you want to make sure it’s comfortably snug.

  140. myrtle miller says:

    You also play the piano so playing a tune that sounds like a storm might also help her.

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