How Long Can You Keep a ThunderShirt on a Dog?

How Long Can You Keep a ThunderShirt on a Dog

My aunt regularly dresses her dog in a ThunderShirt and says it’s worked wonders for the animal’s anxiety. However, I’ve noticed that some days she’s quite happy for the dog to wear it all day long, which to me didn’t seem quite right.

I decided to look into what the advice is for how long dogs can keep a ThunderShirt on; it was quite interesting what I found out. If you have questions about the product such as how long you can keep it on your dog and is it safe to wear all the time, read on.

How long can you keep a ThunderShirt on a dog? You can leave a ThunderShirt on a dog all day, providing the animal is comfortable. If you do leave a ThunderShirt on your dog all the time, remove it for 10 minutes every couple of hours to alleviate any possible irritation.

According to the manufacturer’s website, the ThunderShirt can be left on for extended periods of time without a dog experiencing any untoward effects at all.

In fact, it is stated that most dogs enjoy wearing it for longer periods, especially if they are feeling anxious or fearful on that day.

The bottom line is; you need to see how your dog wears it and react appropriately. If you feel you need to keep a ThunderShirt on your dog all the time, it’s probably not the best idea in truth – with that level of anxiety, vet advice should really be taken.

Those who have purchased the item in real life support this statement, with many owners leaving the ThunderShirt on their dogs for long periods of time without any problems. Such as when they leave the house to go shopping, work, or even overnight when really needed.

However, this all depends on how comfortable your dog is wearing the ThunderShirt. If your dog is not yet used to it, then he or she may try to remove it, and may chew or damage it in the process.

See how long your dog can wear a Thundershirt with small steps at first

As such, if it is the first time that your dog has been introduced to wearing the ThunderShirt, then it is recommended that it should only be worn for 1 to 2 hours. If all goes well, you can then slowly allow your dog to wear it for longer periods during the day.

It is also a good idea to look out for any signs of skin irritation or discomfort when your dog first starts wearing the ThunderShirt.

This rarely happens, but some dogs are sensitive to certain types of material no matter how dog-friendly they are. If you notice anything like this, you should immediately remove the wrap and contact the manufacturers with your concerns.

After all, you want your dog to be comfortable, and monitoring how they react to wearing something new can be the best way of achieving this.

Can my dog wear a ThunderShirt all night?

If your dog has trouble sleeping at night you might be wondering if you can leave the ThunderShirt on them all night while they sleep.

Although it is recommended that you slowly lessen the amount of time your dog has the shirt on as their anxiety begins to improve, there is no issue with them sleeping in it and wearing a ThunderShirt all night and overnight.

In fact, it may even improve the quality of their sleep overall, which could have beneficial effects on the type of behavior they display during the day.

Handy Hint: I’ve previously written a long guide with 16 tips on how to calm down an anxious dog at night which I also recommend you read.

However, it is generally advised that you remove the ThunderShirt at least once or twice a day. This is because it is a good idea to check your dogs for signs of skin irritation regularly (even if they show no signs of discomfort).

Consequently, you should remove the ThunderShirt just before your dog settles down for the night and check them once again.

After this, you can then put the ThunderShirt back on if it is needed.

When should I put a ThunderShirt on my dog?

As mentioned above, the ThunderShirt is designed specifically to help dogs with a nervous disposition. It can help them to feel more relaxed in stressful or exciting situations and provides them with their own personal “safety blanket” at all times.

Therefore, it is best for you to put a ThunderShirt on your dog to wear whenever they are feeling scared or overwhelmed.

Most dogs have a fear of fireworks, but these noises can be terrifying for nervous dogs. Some will even panic when they hear fireworks and try to escape through any means necessary, often peeing on the floor and causing damage to things around the home in the process.

This can be a very stressful time for a dog owner, too. And can leave you extremely distressed when you have no way of comforting your dog.

Thankfully, the ThunderShirt is well known for its ability to calm down canines during the firework season.

In fact, many owners have reported that their dogs barely even notice fireworks anymore, after they have worn the shirt for some time. This also applies to thunderstorms, as they sound very similar and can be another source of unease or anxiety for dogs.

You might also want to leave a ThunderShirt on your dog for a longer time if they are frightened of moving vehicles or unfamiliar objects. Skateboards, bikes, and Segways are often the main subject of fear in nervous pooches; but some can even be afraid of such innocent-looking objects as telephone boxes, fire hydrants, and stop signs.

Handy Hint: Read these tips on how we cured our dog’s fear of skateboards in just 7 days.

This, of course, can be a bit of a nuisance when you are out on a walk in your local neighborhood.

Luckily, the ThunderShirt can be worn outside without any problems, and can make all the difference in how your dog reacts to encountering these “scary” objects.

How long does it take for a ThunderShirt to work?

According to the majority of owners who have purchased the ThunderShirt, it works its magic almost immediately.

In online reviews, customers have repeatedly said that they are surprised at how fast their dog’s behaviour has started to change for the better. With most dogs calming down significantly after being introduced to the shirt for the first time.

You can read many of the comments relating to this aspect on Amazon.

However, it is important to note that every dog is different and that some dogs take longer to get accustomed to wearing it than others. Although it works immediately for most dogs, it can take some time for others to show any visible signs of improvement.

If this happens with your dog, don’t worry. Your dog might need several introductions to the ThunderShirt before they get used to it and feel comfortable wearing it throughout the day.

What do I do if my dog stops moving because of its ThunderShirt?

You might have seen YouTube videos online before, in which a dog freezes and refuses to move because it is freaked out by its new harness or coat.

This is quite a common behaviour in dogs when they are not used to wearing anything on their bodies. And although it can be amusing to see for the first time, it isn’t something we want happening to our pups whilst wearing the ThunderShirt.

Luckily, we can prevent this from happening by following a few steps – as explained below.

You can start by placing the ThunderShirt in areas your dog is familiar with; such as its bed or its favourite place in the house.

After a while, the ThunderShirt will begin to have the same smell as your dog’s scent, which will go a long way in helping your dog feel comfortable in its presence.

You can then slowly start putting the ThunderShirt back on to your dog, wrapping it loosely around its neck at first.

After your dog begins to feel comfortable wearing it like this, you can then move to putting it fully over its body, making sure it is still wrapped loosely like before.

However, if you find your dog is beginning to freeze, it would be a good idea to remove the ThunderShirt and repeat the process again at a later time.

Eventually, after a bit of persistence, your dog should begin to warm up to the idea of wearing the ThunderShirt – especially if they can sense a storm is coming.

You should also make sure that your dog has had plenty of exercise before introducing them to the ThunderShirt. A tired dog is likely to have a better response to a new experience (like the ThunderShirt), compared to a dog that is full of energy and raring to go.


To conclude, many owners are happy to leave or keep a ThunderShirt on a dog for hours during the day, if they feel it’s needed.

If you don’t own one, they come highly recommended.

It is calming wrap that is aimed at helping dogs that suffer with feelings of anxiety and fearfulness. It is designed to make dogs feel safer or calmer by applying gentle pressure to their midsections.

The ThunderShirt is said to provide dogs with a similar feeling of security and comfort as a baby feels when swaddled in its blankets.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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