When I got Rosa from the shelter they warned that she was very scared of thunder and had actually climbed out of her chain link kennel once during a storm, even though she had never climbed fences before. It didn’t take too long before I found out that she does like to climb up on things during storms (not just with thunder, but rain). Or she will try to get into narrow spaces behind the sofa or under a desk or table. Eric closed himself in his room during a storm so she couldn’t mess up any of his computer stuff and when he came out she was standing on the rolltop desk.
I knew about Thundershirts from Aunt Jane who said that Chris was somehow involved with the company that produces them. It is a tight fitting shirt that goes around their body and chest and seems to help anxiety in some dogs. Austin is scared of thunder, but nothing like Rosa, so I thought maybe I could get Rosa a Thundershirt and see if it would do any good, knowing that they don’t always work. Some reviews at Amazon say they work, some say they don’t work, and some say they seem to help reduce anxiety, but don’t make it go away. They can be used for any kind of anxiety, not just thunder, so some people use them for dogs that don’t like to go in cars or have separation anxiety. Rosa’s weight puts her right in the middle of the large size. I was able to get one from Amazon for about $35.
The Thundershirt arrived Wednesday and I spent a while figuring out how to put it on her. There is an extra flap that didn’t seem to make sense, but looking at the instructions and watching a YouTube video, I figured it out and now can put it on her pretty easily. She doesn’t seem to mind too much when I put it on her, though she doesn’t exactly move a lot either. I left it on her and pet on her and gave her treats so she would like the shirt. They said you need to get them used to it before thunder ever shows up and you want to put it on them before any thunder starts so they don’t associate the shirt with storms. I just left it on her for a little while and then again about an hour or two later.
Then on Thursday, there was a big storm coming through. I put the shirt on her once I heard the littlest bit of thunder, before she got too anxious, but eventually there got to be a lot of thunder and lightning (not much rain). She was still very nervous and still shaking sometimes, but she at least stayed next to me most of the time instead of wandering around and getting onto and under things constantly. So maybe it helped a little. It may also have helped that she was still groggy from going to the vet for a dental exam where they pulled six small teeth and one broken canine tooth, and cleaned all the rest. The next day it looked like there would be another storm, so I put the shirt on her and we even went for a short walk. She did fine and didn’t seem to mind the shirt as much this time, but the storms never really materialized. I think it could help and that even though it didn’t do the trick the first time, maybe she will realize she doesn’t need to be as anxious and will get better over time. The shirt has a 45-day satisfaction guarantee if it doesn’t work, so I could return it.