The ThunderShirt Sport Is The Best Dog Anxiety Vest On The Market
“It feels like a permanent hug.” 🤗
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When your nervous dog is stressed out, it can feel like nothing will make him feel settled. You can get a prescription anxiety medication, but you may not always want to rely on drugs to calm your BFF down.
Enter the ThunderShirt Sport anxiety vest for dogs. It’s like a weighted blanket that your dog can wear and easily walk around in.
We’ve enthusiastically awarded the ThunderShirt Sport our official Paw of Approval because our dogs’ responses to stress were dramatically better when they wore it.
Read on to find out what else we loved about it.
What Is The ThunderShirt Sport?
The ThunderShirt Sport is an anxiety vest just for dogs that fits securely around their torso and applies light, continuous pressure that’s supposed to soothe and relax them the same way a big hug would.
It’s designed to help with things like:
- Fear of thunder
- Fear of fireworks
- Separation anxiety
- Travel stress
- Vet visit nerves
The ThunderShirt Sport is a vet-recommended calming product, and it’s a drug-free solution to your pup’s anxiety.
ThunderShirt Sport vs. Regular ThunderShirt
The ThunderShirt is also available in Classic and Polo styles, which are essentially the same thing as the Sport — since they all work the same way — but feature slightly different designs and materials.
The ThunderShirt Sport is made with 100 percent polyester, while the Classic and Polo styles are made with a blend of polyester, rayon and spandex.
All three designs are made to be lightweight, breathable and machine washable.
So deciding which ThunderShirt is best for you really just comes down to which look you love most.
How To Put On A ThunderShirt Sport
You’re probably wondering how exactly to put a ThunderShirt Sport on your dog, since the anxiety vest’s effectiveness has to do with applying gentle pressure.
When you’re securing the chest straps underneath your pup’s neck, make sure you can fit two fingers underneath — you don’t want him to feel like he’s choking.
But when you’re adjusting the main torso straps, that’s where it gets a little trickier.
According to the company, you’ll know your ThunderShirt Sport is tight enough around your dog’s torso if you don’t have any extra space between your fingers and the vest. From there, you can make the vest slightly more snug if you aren’t seeing any results from the initial fit.
However, if your dog has any issues moving in his ThunderShirt Sport, you’ve got it on too tight.
We picked four Dodo dogs who struggle with anxiety to see if the ThunderShirt Sport could actually help them.
So … Do ThunderShirts Work?
Once our judges put on the ThunderShirt Sport, we noticed a huge difference in the way they felt during thunderstorms and other scary things. It actually improved their tolerances for loud noises and sudden movements.
“Most recently, we moved, and Boo started to get very nervous in our new apartment on the first night. She was anxious and pacing, so I put on her ThunderShirt — she immediately was able to relax and went to find a cozy spot to take a little nap.” — Marti T.
“Lucy's trembling and hiding episodes have gotten less severe and much shorter while wearing the ThunderShirt! She usually retreats to the dark bedroom or bathroom for hours after a scare, but has been staying with me in the living room more now when she has the vest on. She's still alert and on edge for a bit after these episodes but doesn't seem as scared as she used to be.” — Jane Y.
“Franklin likes to be with us when we're all together as a family and always joins us in our daughter's bedroom during story time, despite the fact that her excited movements make him skittish. We've been putting the vest on him in the evenings, and he seems to be getting more and more relaxed. He’s more likely to lie down and rest and less likely to flinch when he hears noises.” — Lily L.
What Pets Loved: It’s Cozy To Wear!
Since the ThunderShirt Sport applies constant, gentle pressure, our pets feel so comfortable and cozy when it’s wrapped around them.
“Boo loves her ThunderShirt — it feels like a permanent hug. It’s great at calming any anxiety (like when Mom gets the suitcase out for trips) and makes her feel safe. Occasionally Boo’s annoyed when I'm trying to take it on or off — but no biggie — she loves when it's on! Sometimes I try to take it off her after a few hours, and she's like, ‘Nope.’” — Marti T.
“Lucy seems very comfortable in it, no initial hesitation or discomfort. When she wears the ThunderShirt, she can easily move around and lay down in it. She slept with it on in all sorts of positions, and it didn’t seem to inhibit any movement.” — Jane Y.
“Indy didn't mind putting it on! He let me wrap him up in it real tight.” — Lauren R.
One of our judges needed a minute to get used to it, especially since clothes aren’t for every dog, but he loved it in no time.
“At first the vest appeared to cause Franklin some stress — I noticed yawning and lip-licking — but after a few minutes, he lay down and appeared to calm down.” — Lily L.
What Parents Loved: Fun Colors And High Quality!
The ThunderShirt Sport is available in a bright fuschia color or a platinum gray color with orange accents. Both colors were super flattering on our judges.
“I love the bright pink color. We're not really pink people, but it's a fun, bold pink that is really cute with her brown and black fur.” — Marti T.
“We also really like the color! The gray and orange look especially nice with Franklin's coloring.” — Lily L.
Our pet parents also appreciate that the vest is conveniently lightweight, so it’s easy to bring along wherever they go or fold it up and stash it in a drawer.
“It's light and packable, so I can easily bring it along on trips.” — Jane Y.
They were also really impressed with the ThunderShirt Sport’s quality and the stretchiness of the material.
“The material of the sport type we tested was like a stretchy neoprene, but light and breathable, and it didn't seem to make Lucy hot.” — Jane Y.
“It feels high quality! The material is nice and stretchy.” — Lauren R.
It also has Velcro straps that feel super durable and keep the ThunderShirt securely in place.
“The Velcro works nicely and is holding up well.” — Lily L.
Our pet parents had minor issues with the size of the ThunderShirt Sport anxiety vest.
“It would be nice if it had a little opening on the back so you could wear a harness under it and attach a leash through the ThunderShirt to the harness.” — Marti T.
“I wasn't sure if I had the perfect size and fit for Lucy — it seemed a bit too short for her longer body, but maybe it's only supposed to cover the torso and rib cage area ... the appropriate fit lengthwise was unclear, and the chest strap seemed a bit wide on her.” — Jane Y.
And since the anxiety vest is all about providing the perfect amount of pressure, our human testers wished the tightening instructions were more specific.
“It was a bit confusing on how tight to make the vest — the instructions say to give your dog a ‘comfortable, snug fit,’ but the fabric is stretchy, and I don't know how tight is snug enough.” — Jane Y.
While the Velcro made the ThunderShirt Sport super secure and snug, it also made it kind of tough to get on and off our pups.
“The Velcro is very strong, and there’s multiple pieces, so it's a challenge taking it on and off easily, especially if you need to readjust one of the panels after it sticks to the Velcro. I could see this being a problem for reactive dogs that don’t love the sound of Velcro.” — Jane Y.
The ThunderShirt Sport costs $44.95, which might seem a little expensive. However, since almost our entire judging panel saw real results pretty quickly, it’s definitely worth the investment. Plus, it’s high quality, so you should definitely get some good mileage out of it.
Issues aside, almost all of our human testers — with the exception of Indy’s human, since it didn’t work for him — would gladly continue using the ThunderShirt Sport and even recommend it to other pet parents.
Our Takeaway: It’s Like A Weighted Blanket But Better!
The ThunderShirt Sport provides your dog with all the comfort and stress relief of a weighted blanket, but it’s lightweight and wearable so your pup can use it anywhere.
It’s a drug-free option to alleviate your dog’s stress and fear — and our testers made some pretty incredible progress while wearing it.
The ThunderShirt Sport is so cozy that your pup will actually enjoy wearing it, which is great news because he’ll look so adorable in it, too.
And nothing’s better than a cute, calm, happy dog.
The Dodo may receive complimentary samples to test in our Paw of Approval program, but all our opinions are 100 percent our own. We only publish endorsements of products we (and our dogs and cats) absolutely love! You can find out more about our testing process here.
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