Thunder jackets are gaining popularity throughout the dog world, and the concept is widely used to alleviate anxiety in all creatures - even us! Have you heard about weighted blankets recently? The theory behind these blankets that promise to keep you safe and secure for a restful night's sleep is exactly the same as that of thunder jackets for dogs.
Also known as "anti-anxiety jackets", thunder jackets are used during times when you may anticipate that your pet could experience distress or anxiety, including during thunder storms, fireworks, moments where he or she may be subject to separation anxiety, or even veterinary visits.
The jacket is designed to provide gentle, constant pressure to your dog's body, which may have a calming affect for some dogs. It can be worn for a few minutes, or for a day at a time. It comes from the principle of Deep Pressure Therapy - a concept championed by animal welfare advocate and researcher Temple Grandin, who has done extraordinary work throughout her lifetime to identify and reduce stress in animals. Research has shown that certain kinds of touch and pressure can cause a reduction in stress and anxiety - so the jacket is designed to apply this snug pressure to the dog, to achieve the same alleviating result.
There is less research available specific to the use of thunder jackets in dogs (89% of owners in a very small sample study self reported that the jacket had some affect) however anecdotal evidence suggests that it could be a good option to assist with reducing anxiety in dogs, particularly when used in conjunction with a training strategy. Veterinarians have recommended that the jacket is a great aid when used in combination with other interventions, like medication or specific behavioural modifications. Dog owners have reported that they get even better results when they spray dog appeasing pheromones or essential oils on the jacket.
Most importantly, no adverse affects have ever been reported when it comes to using a thunder jacket.
While there is no magical cure-all for stress and anxiety in dogs, exploring options like thunder jackets will lead you down a path of better understanding your pet and creating a rewarding life together.