Whether it’s thunderstorms, fireworks or just the thought of being alone, some dogs suffer from tremendous anxiety attacks and having a thunder t-shirt helps a lot. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than watching your beloved dog shiver and shiver and hide, all the while knowing there’s nothing you can do to help.
Reading: Stress vest for dogs
however, that need not be the case. A good dog anti-anxiety vest can help your dog stay calm and collected, no matter what’s going on outside. The idea is that by putting gentle, steady pressure on your dog’s chest, you’ll create a calming effect, much like swaddling a baby.
In the reviews below, we’ll go over the top 10 anti-anxiety vests for dogs.
a quick comparison of our favorites – 2022
the 10 best anti-anxiety vests for dogs
The vest was created to be an alternative to the electronic collar, as you can place it on a dog’s body when it’s recovering from surgery to prevent licking, and it’s great for that too.
The fabric is extremely breathable and stretchy, so it will cling to your dog without overheating.
It comes in a wide variety of sizes, so you can find one that fits your dog exactly. there are also several colors to choose from.
Be careful if your dog chews, as the fabric is thin. if you let your pup chew on it, the vest could be torn to shreds in just a few minutes.
However, that’s usually not a problem, so we felt there was no reason to punish the original too harshly. it’s still a safe bet for the top spot on this list.
Reflective trim on the sides and top ensures your dog will remain visible after the sun goes down, so you can take him out at any time of day.
Putting it on is quite simple, as you will find Velcro straps on the neck and chest. this also makes it easy to customize the pressure, ensuring your dog stays comfortable without being choked.
Polyester fabric is excellent wind protection, ensuring your dog won’t freeze once the mercury drops. however, this can cause the jacket to get a bit warm during the summer months. it also tends to run small, so larger breeds may need something bigger.
Overall, though, the adjustable winbat has a lot going for it, including a cheap price. It’s not enough to claim the top spot, but it earns our title of “best anti-anxiety vest for dogs for the money.”
This thunder jacket is one of the most comfortable vests on this list and is suitable for all day wear. that’s handy during all-day thunderstorms or on the 4th of July, when the scary noises just keep coming.
It can also be extremely helpful with separation anxiety as you can put it on your dog before leaving for work to keep him calm all day, reducing the risk of him coming home to a destroyed house . furniture.
The thunder jacket is well made and durable so while it is expensive it should last for years and is well worth the price.
Our biggest problem is that it is cut in such a way that it could interfere with male dogs going to the bathroom. it won’t stop them from urinating, but it might soak up some of the flow, which isn’t fun to handle.
If you can afford it (and don’t mind washing it), the thundershirt sport is one of the best anxiety vests on the market. we think there are lower priced versions that are just as good, which is why this model sits at number three on this list.
- Related reading: 8 Proven Ways to Calm Your Dog During Thunderstorms
It works like a baby swaddle, which means it offers a lot of constant and safe pressure, but it’s not easy to put on. still, the fabric is soft and stretchy, and you can easily fold and pack it up for use on the go.
It also stays in place while your dog moves. It shouldn’t shift or bunch up, so it stays comfortable even if your dog tries to get under the bed. we like that it’s also machine washable.
One of the problems with a vest like this is the limited amount of fabric which makes you choose between applying more pressure or covering more of your dog’s torso, so it’s not ideal for longer bodied animals. Plus, it tends to lengthen over time, so don’t expect it to last forever.
The American Kennel Club makes a quality anti-anxiety vest, but the fact that it’s daunting to put on caused us to shoot it down on a few points.
The fabric is lightweight and breathable, and your dog should be able to wear it year-round without fear of overheating. it is an excellent option for dogs that live in warm climates.
It’s similar to the thunder dog shirt above, except it doesn’t have a second flap around the belly. this allows you to put it on faster, but limits the amount of pressure you can apply. As a result, the soft shirt is more suitable for dogs that do not suffer from extreme anxiety.
the thin fabric isn’t the most durable and is an absolute magnet for dog hair. however, its slimness also makes it easy to store in the glove box if your dog gets nervous on car trips.
the soft t-shirt is an adequate substitute for a thunder t-shirt, but it cannot keep up with the performance of that other brand.
There are small massaging nodules running down the back designed to relax your dog as they move. We don’t know if this does anything to reduce anxiety, but dogs certainly seem to like the way it feels.
It’s easy to put on, as all you have to do is velcro it across your dog’s stomach and chest. the material has a lot of stretch, so it should provide gentle pressure without strangling your dog.
however, the fit is difficult to customize and uncomfortable no matter how hard you adjust it. If your dog moves around a lot while he’s wearing it, chances are he’ll end up totally crooked.
size isn’t that helpful either, as it groups all the dogs into four different groups. don’t expect it to fit right out of the box, and if you have a very large dog, it probably won’t.
Velcro is strong, which may seem like a good thing, until you see how much hair it takes off your dog. constantly having your hair pulled out can’t be good for anxiety.
The Zifeipet Relief Jacket definitely has a few things going for it, but ultimately its flaws outweigh its benefits.
It is designed to be used with weight bags to challenge dogs and improve their physical condition. it’s great in that regard, but since it fits so close to the dog’s body and provides light weight, many people also use it to treat anxiety.
It’s hard to recommend it for just that purpose. For one thing, it’s expensive, and you could get a special anxiety vest for a fraction of the price.
also, you have to provide the weights yourself, which is frustrating no matter what you’re buying it for. be careful how much weight you add, because the stitching is pretty weak.
On the plus side, it looks amazing, and your dog will feel like a million bucks while wearing it. We don’t know if that’s enough to justify the price, but it’s still a nice bonus.
the weight of xdog & The fitness vest is an excellent piece of equipment that has its place in the active dog owner’s arsenal; however, if all you want is an anxiety vest, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
The fabric is extremely light, so it can’t offer much pressure, which largely defeats the purpose. at least it will stay cool during a heat wave.
machine washable, but the cover tends to peel off after a few machine trips. since the checkered exterior is the best thing about it, that’s a real shame.
the bingpet plaid is an attractive coat that will make your pup the envy of every dog in the neighborhood, but that jealousy will probably go away when they see how ineffective it is during a thunderstorm.
The coat is made of water- and wind-resistant nylon, so the elements won’t be able to penetrate it. there’s even a small detachable hood that you can use to keep your head dry.
Of course, very few dogs will allow you to put a hood on their head, so that feature is largely for show. As for the coat, it’s pretty tight, even for an anxiety vest, and larger dogs may find it uncomfortable.
however, not much better for smaller strays. it tends to swallow them whole and makes it difficult for them to walk.
This is probably obvious when you look at it, but it’s not something you can wear all year round. wearing it during the summer would cook your dog, and that’s not good for anxiety levels.
If you need something to keep your dog warm and dry, the Fragralley Dog Coat is perfect for the job. however, as an anxiety jacket, it’s not great.
the size is basic, since it is only available in small, medium and large. that can fit most dogs, but if you have a toy pup or a giant breed, you’re out of luck. Even if your dog is a conventional size, it can be hard to know which version to get, so you may need to return your first order and try again.
It is cut in such a way that it is difficult to put much pressure on the chest, which is where most of the tension should be. instead, it often puts pressure on your stomach, which can make it hard to breathe.
The best we can say about the hffheer Anxiolytic Shirt is that it has light-up strips on the side and back to keep your pet visible at night. that may do something to relieve your anxiety, but it won’t do much for your dog.
buyer’s guide: anti-anxiety vest for dogs
Many dog owners have no idea that anti-anxiety vests for dogs exist, much less how to choose a good one. If you’re looking for something to keep your dog’s stress under control, the following guide will walk you through the questions to ask about anti-anxiety vests.
how do they work?
Anti-anxiety vests wrap snugly around your dog’s chest, providing gentle, constant pressure. research suggests that this pressure releases calming endorphins, which help counteract the stress response. some are even weighted to add extra pressure.
Basically, it’s like giving your dog a firm hug. who wouldn’t respond well to that?
what should I look for in an anti-anxiety vest for dogs?
The answer to that question will largely depend on what triggers your dog’s stress response. If your dog is affected by events that happen outside the house, then you’ll want a vest that’s appropriate for your dog’s climate. this may require purchasing multiple options and changing them as the seasons change.
For an inner vest, the material is much less important; the only thing that matters is that it is comfortable. cotton wraps are usually ideal as they can be made to provide a lot of pressure while still allowing your dog to breathe.
Style is another important consideration, but it’s more about your personal preferences than your dog’s. some vests are rigid and fasten with buckles, like a life jacket. this makes them easy to put on, but can make it difficult to apply pressure where it’s needed most. others are more wraparound and secure with Velcro; they can be difficult to understand, but are often the best at providing compression.
What signs should I look for that my dog has anxiety?
Signs of anxiety can vary from dog to dog, and not all dogs will demonstrate all possible behaviors. however, there are usually a few things to look for:
- shaking or trembling
- couching in fear
- trying to hide/fidgeting
- getting wet
- atypical aggression
- tail poking
- excessive barking
- destructive behavior
- repetitive or compulsive behaviors
Some of these behaviors are also signs of a more serious problem, so it’s always best to consult your vet before attempting to resolve your dog’s anxiety problem on your own.
what situations usually trigger canine anxiety?
again, it will depend on the dog, as some can handle seemingly stressful situations with ease only to completely fall apart in a seemingly innocuous situation.
however, common triggers include:
- fireworks/gunshots/loud noises in general
- being alone
- meeting people new or animals
- new places and situations
Some dogs also become more anxious as they age. You should consult your veterinarian if this is the case, as age-related anxiety can be a sign of cognitive dysfunction syndrome.
Is there anything else I can do to calm my dog?
that will depend on the specific trigger. Some anxieties, such as those around new people or places, can be managed through gradual exposure and socialization. others aren’t as easy to solve, especially those focused on relatively random events like thunder or fireworks, where even thunder dog shirts can’t do much.
If you think your dog’s specific anxiety can be overcome, then you can gradually begin to expose him. it’s best if you have your anxiety vest on ahead of time to keep your emotions in check.
Slowly expose them to the person or situation that triggers them, making sure to praise and reward them frequently. increase the exposure in small increments, being careful never to overwhelm them. this is a strategy that will take a lot of time and effort to implement, so don’t expect overnight miracles.
Another thing to consider is asking your vet about giving your dog an anti-anxiety medication. It’s not the right answer in every situation, but for dogs with serious problems, it may be a necessary component of a comprehensive treatment plan.
conclusion: thunder shirts for dogs
The original surgi~snuggly was our favorite vest as the material is lightweight and breathable while offering optimal pressure. As a bonus, it can replace an electronic collar for dogs recovering from surgery.
For a less expensive model, consider the adjustable winbate. It features reflective piping on the sides and back, making it great for walking around, and offers plenty of protection from the elements.
Finding an anti-anxiety vest that really helps calm your dog can be a frustrating process, but we hope our reviews have taken some of the stress out of it.
featured image credit: lornadandy, pixabay