Thunderworks Blog

  • Separation Anxiety Dogs Treated With Thundershirt

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    Of course your dog always wants you around, and misses you when you leave the house for work or a night out; but for some dogs, this regular scenario becomes amplified into a fully symptomatic separation anxiety.

    According to the United States Human Society:

    It's important to realize...that the destruction and house soiling that often occur with separation anxiety are not the dog's attempt to punish or seek revenge on his owner for leaving him alone. In reality, they are actually part of a panic

    This is why, they go on to say, punishing the dog or trying to train it out of him is usually ineffective.  It's not a behavior needing negative reinforcement, so much as it is an actual panic condition in the dog.  So, what can be done?  The article on the Humane Society Page has some useful advice, but having been written in 2002, we'd like to think they'd now have included the Thundershirt, as a safe, drug-free, and inexpensive treatment for dog separation anxiety.

    A few dog owners on our Facebook page have been asking about using Thundershirt as a Separation Anxiety treatment.    We strongly recommend trying it and have many customers reporting terrific results.   For some dogs, Thundershirt's calming effects may be enough to control the symptoms.  For others, we recommend including Thundershirt as part of a training program.

    My Yorkie, Rufus, would be so keyed up with separation anxiety that he would then suffer from serious diarrhea.   After thorough vet examination found no medical issues, so my veterinarian suggested that this must be separation anxiety.  We inherited him 8 months ago after the passing of a parent who was with him all the time.  Anyway, I put the Thundershirt on him in the morning at 6 AM when I leave the house - and he rests peacefully with no panting, shaking, pacing or panicking.  At noon when the dog walker comes, she removes it.  She takes him for  a walk and around 4pm when I come home, Rufus is a happy calm dog.

    - M.M.         Baltimore, MD

    And also:

    My vet recommended that we try Thundershirt for our Cocker Spaniel.  He was having seizures everyday from separation anxiety and medications were not helping enough.   Thundershirt has decreased his seizures considerably.

    ~AT, Rock Hill, SC

    We'll be putting up a lot more information about using Thundershirt for Separation Anxiety soon, but for now, here's a link to our testimonials page.   For more information about dog separation anxiety, here's an article on the Humane Society's site.


    Does your dog suffer from Separation Anxiety?   Have you tried the Thundershirt or other methods?  Leave us a comment, and help other dog owners with this problem as well.

  • Colombus Alive Magazine's Review of the Thundershirt

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    Colombus Alive Magazine's "Heavy Petting" Column gave us a great mention this week. Check it out:

    And speaking of rain, is your dog afraid of thunder? If yes, you might be interested in Thundershirt - a new solution for dog anxiety. I know they have hug vests for people - now they have them for dogs too. Thundershirt got good reviews at Secret Shopper Pet Product Reviews. According to their readers, it worked for their

    From this article, we found out about more reviews hosted at Secret Shopper Pet Product Reviews. Wow! It's really gratifying to see so many having success with the Thundershirt. Did it work for you? Post a comment or send us an e-mail through our site's contact page.

  • Helping Your Dog With Travel Anxiety

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    We've been hearing more frequently, by phone and on Twitter, that the Thundershirt is helping dogs deal with the stresses associated with travelling. If your dog absolutely cannot handle a vehicle ride, save them them the anxieties with a Thundershirt.

    Certified Dog Trainer Jenn Meritt, owner of Royal and Big Sandy, put together this great video for us showing the use of the Thundershirt for car travel, as well as giving some advice as to how to use it in conjunction with training.

    To learn more of why it works, check out our Travel Anxiety page.

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  • About

    This is the blog of ThunderShirt, the $39.95 dog anxiety treatment.

    We've started this in hopes of becoming a source of useful knowledge for the thousands of dog owners with pets suffering under anxious conditions.

    It's also a place to collect the great stories our customers have submitted and to provide an informational side to accompany our ThunderShirt solution.

    Check back for videos, customer stories, advice from trainers and veterinarians, and more helpful information, and leave us a comment or find us on Twitter and Facebook.   Thanks for reading!

  • Cute Dog Scared from Storm Phobia

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    Poor Joe Stains is another dog afraid of Thunderstorms - and helped by the Thundershirt.

  • Video of Dog Thunderstorm Phobia Treatment

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    Dog Thunderstorm Phobia treatment from Seems to work well for them!

  • Thundershirt Testimonial From a Durham Veterinarian

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    New testimonial from a Durham, NC Vet supporting the Thundershirt:

    “We’ve been using Thundershirt for a short time at my clinic now, and the initial feedback from our clients is very positive. Thundershirt worked very well for a Cocker Spaniel with severe noise phobia; she rested peacefully on the couch through 4th of July fireworks…a real improvement. Thundershirt appears to be good alternative solution to try versus medications. And it will definitely “Do no harm.”

    ~ Dr. Donald Heagren, DVM, Cornwallis Road Animal Hospital, Durham, North Carolina.

    Thundershirt Dog Anxiety Cure

  • Dog Owner Struggling with Noise Anxiety

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    Found another post from a dog owner with some rough storm phobia going on at

    The dog, on the other hand, is getting better and worse. I tried melatonin and it definitely helped-- he's not shivering or panicking quite so hard, but he is still scrabbling at the floor-- and now it doesn't take much of a storm at all, sometimes no storm whatsoever (no storm elicits more of a "fluffing"; it's less panicked and he will stop on command). I fear that the TERRIBLE storms we had last weekend have made him extra anxious at night and with storms-- it had already been a traumatic day with 2 trips to the vet and a bad med reaction. I wish we'd never seen those pills. I still haven't given it to him again, and I am going to continue with the melatonin and perhaps add Rescue Remedy or one of the pheromone diffusers. I've also heard good things about valerian-- any thoughts? We will also go with a new bigger bed (it's time anyway) with lots of blankets and sheets to dig at and fluff-- the vet also suggested some counter-conditioning with thunder CDs.

    A sad but common story, and that's why we made the Thundershirt.  For a long list of dog storm phobia stories with happy endings, check out our Testimonials page.

  • Dogs and Fireworks Article

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    dogs and fireworks

    Here's an article linking to us all about dogs and fireworks, offering some pretty useful advice. Some of it's obvious, such as don't let your dog near the fireworks. I'd hope any dog owners could figure out that much! Check it out:

    Fireworks can cause some animals to behave in a destructive and frightened manner that can result in damage to the pet or it’s surroundings. Here are some ideas to help reduce stress or anxiety:

    Walk your dog the morning before the fireworks. This can help him/her sleep through the fireworks.

    Keep pets indoors during fireworks shows. Never take them to fireworks demonstrations. Frightened animals, even those that are normally well behaved, may run away during these shows. Sometimes they will chew leashes, ropes, etc. to get free.

    Make sure your pet is wearing identification. The best way to ID your pet is to have him/her wear a collar with identification tags. A microchip adds additional ID should the collar come off.

    Put your pet in their kennel crate or in a room of the house that does not have a door to the outside. A blanket or bed to sleep under can help provide a feeling of safety. A favorite toy or blanket with your scent on it will help them relax.

    Fireworks can cause burns, hearing loss, and eye damage to animals that get too close. Spent fireworks can make your pet sick if he/she eats them. Discard them as directed by the manufacturer.

    Turn on a radio or television to help mask the sound of fireworks.

    If your pet is easily stressed, ask your veterinarian about options for sedatives that may help.
    Don’t walk your pet through large crowds. Small areas with familiar people make them feel safer.

    Think about boarding your animals in a safe place that is farther away from the noise. If you are traveling, boarding your animal might be better than leaving them at home.

    Here's the rest:  Dogs and Fireworks

  • Before Drugging Your Dog, Try a Thundershirt - Dogs, Clomicalm, and Clomipramine

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    We’ve all seen the array of pharmaceutical commercials saturating primetime television, opening with idyllic, computer-rendered home or landscape scenes to evoke a calm that is quickly bracketed by an often exhausting list of possible side effects. In humans, the choice to take pharmaceuticals is still one that demands care and caution – but there is still that element of choice, which is absent, in this case, from your dog. You remain the sole arbiter of whether or not to drug your dog, and the information available, as well as the presence of government regulatory bodies may both fall terribly short when contrasted with human medicine. If you love your dog, it may be vitally important to educate yourself about anything you’re going to offer him or her.

    As with humans, there are a wide range of medical conditions a dog can suffer, ranging from the mild and annoying to the dangerous and urgent. If your dog’s health is seriously threatened, any option with the potential of remedy is to be sought out, even if there may be some undesirable side effects in tow; but if your dog is suffering from a condition that is real, but not immediately dangerous, make absolutely sure that the medicine doesn’t produce worse side effects than the actual problem you are trying to medicate!

    An example: Dog Noise Anxiety Disorder. It is now recognized by a large body of publications and a majority of veterinarians as being a legitimate condition affecting millions of dogs, but if you have a dog who goes crazy during thunderstorm season, you don’t need a vet’s diagnosis to know the dog is unhappy and considerably disturbed. Fireworks, vacuum cleaners, and even ambient construction noise can all lead to a sudden agitation of this condition, provoking in your puppy a wish to flee from the startling sound, and provoking in you a pity for your pet that will probably lead you to wonder what you can do.

    Do some research online or speak to certain vets and you’ll probably encounter suggestions to treat Dog Noise Anxiety Disorder with Clomicalm, along with other drugs touted as “Puppy Prozacs.” Clomicalm is a brand-name form of Clomipramine, which is a Tricyclic Antidepressant. Originally developed for human usage, Clomipramine is considered, according to Wikipedia, as being a “second-line treatment” due to its having more serious side effects than the SSRIs more commonly administrated as anti-depressants. The list of contraindictions for Clomipramine is intimidating enough for administration to humans, and the list of side-effects, doubly so:

    • central nervous system: Often, fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, confusion, agitation, insomnia, nightmares, increased anxiety, seizures (0.5% to 2%, see above), rarely hypomania or induction of schizophrenia (immediate termination of therapy required), and extrapyramidal side-effects (pseudoparkinsonism, dyskinesia, rarely tardive dyskinesia) are noted.
    • Anticholinergic side effects in different grades of severity are quite common: dry mouth, constipation, rarely ileus (paralysis of the large intestine, life-threatening), difficulties in urinating, sweating, precipitation of glaucoma (may lead to permanent eye-damage or even blindness, if untreated). The incidence of dental caries may be increased due to dry mouth.
    • antiadrenergic side effects occur very frequently due to strong central and peripheral blockage of alpha receptors: hypotension, postural collapse (when patient is rising too fast from lying or sitting position to standing), arrhythmias (sinus tachycardia, bradycardia, AV block, rarely other forms of cardiac problems). Preexisting heart insufficiency can be worsened.
    • Allergic/toxic: skin reactions and photosensitivity with increased frequency of sunburns are seen in a few percentage of cases. Rarely liver damage of the cholostatic type, hepatitis, and leukopenia or other forms of blood dyskrasia are seen, also severe acute allergy including difficulties in breathing, skin reaction, chest pain etc.
    • Other side effects may include heartburn, weight gain, but also nausea and bruxism - teeth-grinding while asleep - (the latter due to the strong inhibition of reuptake of serotonin). article

    It’s frightening enough to risk these side effects for yourself, when doctors have pages and pages of studies for exactly what dosage to take and what to watch out for when you take it – but for your dog, the dose may be not nearly so precise, and more pressingly, unless your dog is from a Pixar movie, you cannot ask it about its internal state. A condition that causes deep internal distress or pain to your dog may only be manifest as a slight fatigue, or even not at all. Your dog doesn’t know to report symptoms or changes in its experience – and so Clomipramine may be ten times the gamble in a dog as it would be for a human, where it’s already considered a last option to treat humans.

    Another notable difference is that in humans, where it’s already only resorted to if other drugs fail, Clomipramine is used to treat conditions that may be disabling and immediately life-threatening. Although dogs with noise anxiety can be dangerous to themselves in storm situations, there is no way this danger is comparable to deep depression in humans – and so, for treating dogs, these side effects are not in parity with the problem.

    If you’re searching the internet for information on helping your dog’s anxiety through storm season, make sure and search past those drug-company websites and go a few pages further to find actual pet-owner experiences. This is a good rule of thumb for any treatment you’re uncertain of, and in the case of Clomipramine, take note of all the dog owners who report that loss of personality, loss of energy, of liveliness - then, ask yourself if there isn’t a better remedy to your dog’s anxiety than one that risks liver damage, nervous system problems, and the alteration of all that which you love about your dog.

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