Just like many humans, a lot of dogs suffer from some form of anxiety ranging from the mild to the severe. But if a close friend or family member was going through this, you would be able to talk to them about what is causing the issue. When it is your dog, you simply don’t have this option. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up trying to help them in any way that you can. Dog anxiety can manifest itself in all sorts of troubling and destructive behaviors such as shaking, urinating or running away whenever an opportunity presents itself.
One of the main solutions which are currently available is a dog anxiety vest. Essentially, this product works by fitting tightly to your pooch and providing the reassuring feeling of being swaddled. Dog anxiety wrap has been specifically crafted to provide the comforting sensation that canines like. They can be put on at times when dogs are experiencing high levels of stress or they find themselves in a place where they don’t feel entirely comfortable.
So, if you think that this is something that could help your dog’s anxiety, we have compiled our guide of six of the best dog anxiety vests on the market and their core features to help you make a more informed decision.
The Best Dog Anxiety Vest
Available in seven different sizes to fit a wide range of dogs, this classic anxiety jacket from Thundershirt has been designed to provide the kind of gentle and continuous pressure which has been demonstrated to help pooches out with their feelings of anxiety, fear, and overexcitement. Just some the times when you may want to consider putting this vest on your dog include during firework displays, car travel, visits to the vet or times when you are going to be separated. The easy wrap system has been created to put on quickly and adjust as needed.
Boasting over an 80% success rate in helping millions of dogs, it is personally recommended by thousands of vets and trainers who deal with dogs on a daily basis. However, if you find that you are not satisfied with the product, you can rest safe in the knowledge that it comes with a money-back guarantee.
Provides gentle and continuous pressure to relieve negative feelings
Easy wrap system for putting on, taking off and adjusting
80% success rate in helping millions of dogs
Recommended by vets and trainers
- Weight8 oz
One of the best features of a dog anxiety vest is that it is a safe and drug-free way of helping your furry friend out with their anxiety issues. Designed to provide the constant sensation of pressure to your dog’s torso, this calming vest for dogs can be worn in a wide range of situations which may provoke anxiety for one reason or another including during fireworks, thunderstorms, car rides or vet visits.
And when your dog isn’t wearing the vest, it is machine washable, so you can simply throw it in the washing machine and have it nice and clean for them to wear again. Last, but not least, it comes in a wide variety of colors and there is a sizing chart available to ensure that it fits your four-legged friend perfectly.
Applies a constant feeling of pressure to your dog’s torso
Safe and drug-free
Suitable in all sorts of situations of heightened anxiety
- BrandAmerican Kennel Club
- Weight3.2 oz
A simple and lightweight dog anxiety vest, you can choose from six different colors and sizes to pick the one which is perfect for your pooch. The fabric used to make this vest is breathable and designed to feel comfortable on your dog, while it is also easily machine washable for the times that you need to clean it.
When you buy a product like this, you want to make sure that it is easy to put on and take off, and the hook and loop fasteners ensure that you can do this. It is also adjustable as needed to provide a gentle pressure. Thousands of vets have given this vest their seal of approval, demonstrating that it is a safe and effective calming solution
Made using lightweight and breathable fabric
Hook-and-loop fasteners make it easy to put on and take off
Recommended by thousands of vets
- BrandMellow Shirt
- Weight2.4 oz
Veterinarian recommended in proving to reduce your dog’s signs of anxiety and stress, this Comfort Zone Calming Vest is a simple solution to your dog’s anxiety issues. To get the snuggest fit possible, you should select a size which is based on an accurate measurement of your dog’s chest. The Complete Comfort Compression Technology which this vest is made from is designed to provide a full chest fit and offer maximum torso coverage.
Just as babies like being swaddled, so too do dogs and this is exactly the sensation that this type of vest is designed to provide. When you come to put this vest on your dog, you can do so with the simple three-step application method, adjusting the vest as needed to provide a pressure which is firm but not overly tight.
Complete Comfort Compression Technology for full chest fit and maximum torso coverage
Soft, breathable, and flexible fabric
Reflective piping for added safety
Machine washable and long-lasting
- BrandComfort Zone
- Weight9.4 oz
Seven different sizes of this dog anxiety jacket from ThunderShirt are available. Featuring a patented design that has been created to calm feelings of anxiety, fear, and overexcitement, thousands of vets and trainers have recommended this product, so you can be sure that the experts are happy with it.
The washable and durable fabric also features a contrasting trim and reflective logo, meaning that your dog is safer when wearing the vest on night-time walks. Easy-to-use, it should provide a comforting fit and feeling of security that your furry friend is looking for.
Patented Thundershirt design
80% success rate at helping millions of dogs
Contrasting trim and reflective logo for safety on night-time outings
Recommended by vets and trainers alike
- Weight8.8 oz
A different type of dog comfort vest to the ones which we have discussed so far, this one is still designed to fit snugly to your dog and uses a lightweight and breathable material, but it focuses on improving his or her health by building strength, performance, muscle growth etc. Both alligator clips and Velcro can be used to fit this vest closely to your dog’s body.
Front shoulder weight placement helps to build up stronger muscles and strength in their front legs, and there are also other safe weights included with the vest as well. On top of all this, you still have the same anxiety-relieving properties that you would expect to find from a vest of this variety.
Useful in elevating your dog’s health and fitness levels
Can be used in walking, training, stress, weight loss, muscle gain etc
Alligator clips and Velcro for tight fit
Provides anxiety-relieving qualities you expect from a vest
- Weight1.5 lbs
Best Dog Anxiety Vests Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Consider When Buying Dog Anxiety Vests
Before you rush out to buy a dog anxiety vest, it is worth considering in more detail what are the main features that you should be on the lookout for. To help simplify this task for you, check out this list of a few of the top things which you should be bearing in mind.
- Fitting and Compression
The whole point of your dog wearing one of these vests is that they get the feeling of security provided by the snug-fit. At the same time, you don’t want it to be too tight so that it restricts your dog’s movement and breathing, leading to the opposite effect to the one that you were intending.
While most dog anxiety vests are adjustable, there is a limit to how tight or loose you can make them. The top vests on the market all have size guides to help you pick the right one for your dog. You need to make sure that you measure your dog’s chest using a tape measure, as well as checking their weight. You should take special note of the length of the vest, especially if you have a dog with a, particularly short body as you don’t want to interfere with their ability to go to the toilet in any way.
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Most of the vests on the market tend to fasten using Velcro as buckles can end up being too restrictive. But the vest should have a reliable closing strap to do the job that it was intended for – especially if your dog is outdoors or in a situation when they are likely to move around a lot. It is worth practicing taking the vest on and off a few times to ensure that it is ready to go whenever your dog needs it.
- Materials and Fabric
The type of materials and fabric which your dog anxiety vest is made from are worth considering in closer detail. Essentially, you want the vest to be durable enough to withstand some rough and tumble, while still being flexible enough for your furry friend to be comfortable while wearing it. Polyester or nylon tend to be the best choices in this regard, while cotton is a nice option if comfort is the number one priority.
As for the interior of the vest, you want it to provide enough breathability so that your pet feels like they can move around with ease. The last thing that you want is for your dog to feel like they are overheating as this can lead to increased stress levels. It is always worth bearing in mind that the effectiveness of a vest such as this comes in its ability to compress your dog in all the right places and not how soft it is.
Most dog anxiety vests tend to use a Velcro system of fastening as this is both flexible and adjustable. The other common fastener is a hook and loop system which can be independent to the Velcro or an extra addition. The main disadvantage of hook and loop fastenings is that they can be a little tricky to do up if your dog is not particularly good at staying still. You may need some practice before you are able to fasten them up quickly. The main downside of Velcro is that your dog’s hair can end up becoming tangled up in it. Obviously, this is a particular problem if you have a long-haired breed. Once you have fitted the vest, take extra care to ensure that your dog’s hair hasn’t become tangled up in it so that they don’t suffer from discomfort. This is especially important the first few times that you put it on as you don’t want your pooch to start making negative associations with the vest, which could cause problems further down the line.
The more often your dog wears their vest, the more often you will want to wash it, which is why you should check the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning without causing damage. Machine washable dog anxiety vests are obviously the best in this regard as you can simply throw them in the washing machine on the right setting when the vest is getting a little dirty or smelly. If you don’t have a lot of time for hand-washing your dog’s clothing, a machine washable vest is certainly the best option for you. Simply throw it in the machine, hang it out to dry, and it is ready to go all over again.
- Color Choice and Design
While you may not consider it to be as important as some of the other points listed above, the available color choices can actually make a difference. Select a bright and vibrant color and design, and you will easily be able to pick your dog out from the crowd when they are off in the distance. Some also come with reflective trims which make them more visible at night, and therefore safer if you feel like taking your pup out on a night-time stroll.
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When to Use a Dog Anxiety Vest?
Deciding when to use your dog’s anxiety vest can be as simple as recognizing their symptoms of stress, anxiety or nervousness and putting it on at these times. However, there are certain situations when this is more common for many dogs. You need to identify what the main triggers for your dog are so that you can use the vest in the most effective manner possible. Here are just a few of the most common situations when your four-legged friend may suffer from anxiety.
- Firework Displays
Many pet owners approach major holidays like New Year’s with dread, knowing that it is going to have an extremely negative effect on their pet. The noises caused by firework displays can trigger your dog’s natural survival instinct which makes them feel like they are under attack or in some other form of danger. While you can’t do anything about the loud bangs, you can put on your dog’s anxiety vest as a way of making them feel comforted and reassured until the fireworks are over.
Similar to firework displays, the sudden crashing sound of thunder can throw your dog into an extreme state of anxiety. Again, this is when a dog anxiety vest can help to relieve some of the stress, and your furry friend can even come to rely on the vest to provide the comfort that they are looking for. A thunder jacket for dogs can be used alongside other stress relieving techniques during a thunderstorm such as providing them with a safe space, distracting your dog with calming music, and playing with them using their favorite toys.
- Long Car Journeys
While some dogs can’t wait to jump into a car, there are plenty more who get anxious whenever they have to go on a long journey. Putting on your dog’s anxiety vest before you set off can help significantly when it comes to helping them feel calmer and less stressed out by the whole experience.
- Trips to the Vet
Probably one of the most universal causes of stress for any dog is a trip to the vet, and this is where an anxiety vest can play a big role in helping them to feel better once again. In fact, some vets even use anxiety vests whenever they have a patient who has to undergo a stressful treatment such as getting a shot.
- Separation Anxiety
Many dogs feel a great sense of anxiety when they are about to be separated from their owners for any amount of time. If you put a vest on your dog, this can help to reduce the chances of there being noise complaints from the neighbors and/or destroyed furniture and other possessions. Of course, it is worth bearing in mind that these vests are not meant to be worn all the time. So, it is probably better not to put it on if you are going to be leaving the house for an extended period. But there isn’t a specific time limit as long as your dog feels comfortable and secure.
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How Do Dog Anxiety Vests Work?
Anxiety and stress are not emotional states which only occur in human beings. Pets such as cats and dogs can also experience these feelings as well. Anxiety more commonly occurs in pets when they have been through some sort of traumatic experience or a lack of socialization. Just a few common signs of dog anxiety include shaking, urinating indoors, running away easily, licking, biting, and other unusual habits.
Dog anxiety vests are designed to help bring back a sense of calm to your dog whenever they are feeling anxious. The main sense of reassurance comes from the compression that they provide around the dog’s body. Essentially, your dog feels like they are being hugged or swaddled, which is a sensation that they find to be soothing when they are confronted by stressful situations. The concept is similar to a mother holding their baby to provide them with the reassurance that they are safe.
Sometimes, these vests are used by veterinarians or other professionals who work closely with dogs. Shelters can use them for rescue dogs who may have been abuse victims, while vets can use them for patients when administering shots or other forms of medication. Trainers may use these vests to improve a dog’s shy behavior and help them to gain a greater sense of self-confidence.
Best Dog Anxiety Vest FAQ:
Q: What training is required for using dog anxiety vest?
A: When using a dog anxiety vest, there is no specific form of training which is necessary. Most of them are easy to put on your pet using the Velcro straps. Alternatively, they may have a hook and loop system or buckles. However, you should introduce an anxiety vest to your dog slowly so that they don’t see it as a form of threat or punishment. Start by giving them a chance to inspect the vest. Choose an occasion when they are not feeling anxious to put it on for the first time and make sure you have plenty of treats to hand for added reassurance.
You need to make sure that it is tight enough to provide comfort without being overly restrictive to your four-legged friend. You should expect to see improvements from the first usage, though it does take two or three times for some pets to see the maximum results.
For more severe anxiety cases, a vest can form part of a training program which helps to relieve these feelings. If you have a particularly anxious pet, it is always worth consulting with your vet to devise a program that helps them out with this.
Q: Can I wash my dog anxiety vest?
A: Yes, you can and should wash your dog anxiety vest on a regular basis. Many of the vests which we have discussed in the buying guide above are machine-washable, which makes this process nice and straightforward. Simply check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine what sort of washing guidelines are offered and throw it in with the appropriate load of washing.
Q: How long can I leave an anxiety vest on my dog?
A: These vests don’t tend to have a specific time limit of how long your dog can wear them for. When they are the correct size and fit, your dog shouldn’t feel any discomfort. However, if they are going to be wearing them for an extended period of over an hour or more, it is worth checking for any signs of irritation points on your dog’s body. Also, you should supervise your dog closely on the first occasion that they wear one of these vests so that you can check whether it fits properly and reduces your dog’s anxiety as it should. If the issue is being caused by separation anxiety, you should only leave the house if you are sure of your dog’s comfortable wearing the vest. To begin with, try only leaving for a short period of time, staying close to listen out for any barking, howling or other signs of distress.
Q: What if I see signs of discomfort or irritation with my dog when wearing an anxiety vest?
A: While problems tend to be rare when wearing one of these dog anxiety vests, you should still be on the lookout for signs of discomfort or irritation. In the case of discomfort, the most common cause is an ill-fitting vest, which you may be able to solve by adjusting the vest or switching to a different size. If the discomfort continues or your dog shows signs of skin irritation, you should discontinue use of the vest and contact the manufacturers for any additional advice.
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Our Top Pick
Our favorite dog anxiety vest is this classic jacket from a renowned brand - ThunderShirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket. The gentle, constant pressure has been shown to help calm feelings of anxiety and fear without the need for training or medication. This is a particularly popular choice if you have a rescue dog when feelings of anxiety tend to be more pronounced.
The dramatic calming effect has been shown to take effect in over 80% of dogs, making the thunder coat perfect for the most stressful times including storms, separation, vet trips, fireworks, and traveling. As for putting the vest on, the wrap system is designed to do this efficiently in four steps. And since the vest is machine washable, it is very easy to clean.
For all these reasons, this ThunderShirt for dogs is our top pick of the bunch and an excellent way of helping your dog when they start to experience feelings of stress and/or anxiety.
ThunderShirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket