It is no secret in the Ridlon household that our sweet Maggie suffers from anxiety during thunderstorms. Any loud noise really sets her off. She pants, shakes, paces and looks for the tightest spot she can squeeze herself into. Her safety place is anywhere that surrounds her on all four sides, is dark and somewhat quiet. Usually my closet served as her safe place. Now dog experts will say, never comfort dogs when they are anxious as this somehow encourages or lets the dog know that this behaviour is acceptable. Makes sense. Just like you would not want to make a big deal out of leaving or coming home, as this causes anxiety for dog. It is also really hard as a compassionate human who thinks of her dogs as her children not to want to comfort them when they are anxious and upset. I always did my best, but there were times when I would just sit in the closet with her and hold her until the storm passed. In some instances this meant me sleeping on the floor of the closet with her through the night. If you don’t know or haven’t guessed yet, there is pretty much nothing in the world I would not do for my fur kids. They are certainly worth it!! For the past four years we have used a homeopathic drop to try to sooth her anxiety. It works well with the exception of having to give it to her 30 minutes to an hour prior to the storm, which was not always possible. I did not really want to drug her up so the homeopathic drops were a great solution. They are all natural and safe. I knew she would still act like herself, only calmer during the storm. Recently we had been debating about what we could do to help her. There had to be other dogs going through this and there had to be a solution. Before I could begin my research, I saw a post by a friend on Facebook about Thundershirts. I had honestly never heard of them. Before adopting Maggie, I had never experienced anxiety over storms with a dog before, so it was never something I had to worry or think about. So I looked at the website (www.thundershirt.com) and read about how the shirt works. The shirt was less than $40 and I figured it was worth a shot. It arrived while we were on vacation and lucky for us we got to try it out several times the week we returned from vacation. It took about 5 minutes, but we saw a huge difference in Maggie. She no longer looked for or sought her safe place. No more panting, shaking or pacing. She was actually laying on the couch quiet relaxed.
We were amazed! We were also sold on this product!! For Maggie the shirt has worked even if we did not get her shirt on time and the storm has already begun with cracks of thunder and lightning. Takes about 5-10 minutes for her to calm down once the shirt is on. Much improved from anxiety and fear during storms. We keep the shirt on our nightstand in our bedroom. Maggie knows where her shirt is, as she is usually sleeping either beside me in the bed or on her dog bed right next to me in front of the nightstand. We have had a month and multiple storms to test this product and would highly recommend it to anyone who has a dog who is suffering from anxiety. It is not designed just for thunderstorms. There are lots of uses for the shirt to help anxious dogs.
Check out the website linked above. You will not be disappointed! Maggie loves her shirt! She has woken me up in the middle of the night during a storm to tell me to put her shirt on. Maybe I am giving too much emphasis on how smart I think dogs are, but I really think she knows that the shirt helps her. It has become her hero. 🙂