If you’re a pet parent whose furbaby deals with anxiety on the regular, ThunderShirt may help. ThunderShirt’s gentle, constant pressure hugs your pet’s chest, like swaddling a baby.
For many pets, the ThunderShirt doesn’t require any extra preparation...just put it on and watch the results. However, to make the introduction as smooth as possible, we’ve put together these helpful tips so they will be comfortable with the ThunderShirt when you are ready to use it in a stressful situation.
Tip #1: Build Positive Associations
We recommend building positive associations with the ThunderShirt so they know it means love and snuggles whenever they see it. This helps to keep your dog from associating the ThunderShirt with a scary event like thunderstorms or fireworks.
Put ThunderShirt in your laundry basket for a day or two so it absorbs your scent, and smells familiar to your pet. They’ll immediately feel more comfortable with the ThunderShirt since it reminds them of you.
Associate the ThunderShirt with treats. When you first show the ThunderShirt to your pet, use it like a “plate” to give her some of her favorite treats. Pets are more likely to love anything that brings them food!
- Repeat if your pet is still hesitant. If your pet is especially sensitive or anxious, you might repeat this introduction a few times on consecutive days before you even try putting the ThunderShirt on your pet.
Tip #2: Place the ThunderShirt in Areas of Comfort
To build an association with relaxation, place the ThunderShirt in areas where they already normally feel calm and relaxed.
Put the ThunderShirt in their bed or crate each night before bedtime or naptime.
- Bring the ThunderShirt with you to snuggle-time on the couch and provide lots of extra belly scratches. Maybe open and close the hook-and-loop fasteners so they can hear the sound.
Tip #3: Practice Putting the ThunderShirt on in a Non-Stressful Situation
Putting a ThunderShirt on is simple and quick to do, but it always helps to practice a few times in a comfortable, familiar setting when your pet is calm. This also gives your pet a chance to get used to ThunderShirt’s gentle pressure in a safe-feeling environment rather than during a stressful event.
If possible, put the ThunderShirt on your pet when they are feeling calm. If your pet’s anxiety trigger is thunder, utilize bright sunny days to try the ThunderShirt on before storms roll in. If a storm happens to roll in on the first day, don’t hesitate to go ahead and try the ThunderShirt on.
- Bring back the treats once your pet is wearing the ThunderShirt to continue building those positive associations with the ThunderShirt. Who doesn’t love an outfit with snacks?
Expert tip: Not sure if you’ve got it on right? Send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org for help with the fit.
Tip #4: Help Them get Moving
For some pets, the gentle hug from the ThunderShirt might be a new sensation. Some may look like they’re “frozen” or a little stuck at first (especially cats). That’s completely normal and safe.
To get your pet moving while wearing the ThunderShirt:
Play with their favorite toys - a laser pointer, tug-of-war, tossing a ball, or anything else your cat or dog enjoys doing
- Entice them with treats from a safe distance away so they need to move to you to get the treat
- Go for a walk while your pet is wearing the ThunderShirt so they can get used to moving around in it
Tip #5: Using Your ThunderShirt During Stressful Situations
If possible, put the ThunderShirt on before the stressful event. If you know storms are on their way, put the ThunderShirt on before the thunder booms. If your pet is afraid of the vet, put the ThunderShirt on before you hop in the car.
Comfort your pet with calming words and snuggles if they’re still nervous.
- 5 Tips to Keep Your Pets Calm During 4th of July Fireworks
- 5 Tips to Help Your Dog Stay Calm During a Storm
- How to Reduce Anxiety at the Vet
Tip #6: Don't Give Up!
If the ThunderShirt doesn’t work the first time, don’t lose hope! Different pets respond differently to calming solutions. If, after several tries, your pet is still in need of additional help to feel calm, we offer other calming products that work well either individually, or combined with the ThunderShirt. Learn more about combining the powers of calm in this blog post.
Almost all pets quickly learn to love their ThunderShirt. Many people have even told us stories about how their pets go and get their ThunderShirt and take it to their owners whenever a storm is coming! We are so thankful you’ve joined the ThunderWorks family, and we hope these tips help your pet feel calm and safe with their ThunderShirt.