Biscuit was always afraid of fireworks. It’s stemmed from when we had originally adopted him so each year firework night came around we would have to either cuddle him tight inside our clothes (I’d wear a jumper and pop him in-between me and the jumper) where he’d usually fall asleep listening to my heart. A couple of times it didn’t work so we would have to get Daddy Bo’s night cage out for him, throw in one of the dog duvets, and then throw another duvet over the top of the cage so he couldn’t see anything. He used to be terrified of them. Even fireworks on the TV would have him trying to dig his way behind a cabinet just to get away. We tried everything we knew to get him to stay calm. Tablets from the vet, the plugins, sound therapy, but nothing ever worked fully enough for him to stay calm and relax.
I was offered a Thundershirt a few years ago for him which unfortunately never materialised but when Pea started to get a little anxious about going out in the dark, seemingly scared when Daddy Bo would either go in, or come out of his cage and just being anxious I thought I’d hunt one down and give it a go. They’re available on Amazon so I bought him a medium sized one at £30.
When it arrived, I took it out the packaging and initially thought “erm… it just looks like a velcro t-shirt wrap” which initially it is however I never actually realised it would work to any extent. I thought I was throwing my money away but I wanted to give it a go anyway as I’d paid the £30 for it so silly just to send it back without trying.
I called Pea over and put it on him (it’s a little big around the neck but fitted it as instructed). He was curious but used to me putting coats on him a few months ago when he had baby fur as it was too cold to go out without one on so didn’t struggle. Immediately he laid down and went to sleep by HuDad’s feet (see image below). He never normally just lays down either. He usually wanders around, jumps on Shelby, barks at Daddy Bo when we put a coat on him, then will lay down. He stayed asleep then for 20 minutes. Fast asleep and looked incredibly peaceful too.
Andy mentioned that it might just be because it was new, but that first day he went from a little puppy terror to a complete angel. The barking stopped, the biting stopped and we had a really lovely day with him. We could play with him without him going over the top and bounding all over everyone. I was quite surprised if I’m honest. Andy said that we should leave it off him the next day to see if it was the shirt that was helping.
Next morning the barking for food started early when Andy got up to go to the bathroom, so he got ready and took them all downstairs. Pea barked until he got fed, and then barked at Daddy Bo. He was running up and down the stairs jumping on the bed to bite my hand and then ran downstairs again. After breakfast he kept growling at any of the others when they came near my seat (which is what he had done for a few weeks but failed to do with the shirt on the day before). He was a puppy handful that day so we agreed to put the Thundershirt on the next day to see it if changed.
As soon as the shirt went on the next morning he stopped being frantic. Walked downstairs quietly amongst other things and so now I’m looking to purchase another to have one in the wash and one on Pea. It’s simply amazing. It really is fantastic and has astounded me at how quickly it works. Each night he would play up at about 9pm as he wanted to go to bed and would bite and bark until we made the move upstairs. Now he just waits, sleeps until we’re ready, takes his toys upstairs to bed, doesn’t play fight with Shelby on the stairs and goes straight to bed after his Lily’s Kitchen Bedtime Biscuit (which is also fabulous for calming the Furries down). He’s a changed pup!
Have you tried a Thundershirt? Let me know your views.