A couple of years ago I wrapped Phoebe in an ace bandage to keep her calm during the Fourth of July fireworks season. She stayed calm, but I didn’t have anything to compare her before and after behavior to. She was calm when I put it on, calm when wearing it and calm afterwards.
Someone in the neighborhood has been setting off fireworks every single night for the past few weeks. It is really getting annoying and Phoebe is really getting stressed. She took to squeezing herself under the an end table in the living room to hide.
When she wasn’t hiding, she was walking around the house whining and lost. As the days went by she started to act stressed out during day too. For several days she would curl up in her chair and give me the stink eye all day or just hide out in my room when I wasn’t in it.
At first I did not put two and two together and I was beginning to think she may have been ill. I was talking to my doggie mentor about Phoebe’s day time behavior. Since it had been going on for some time, we thought that a vet visit might be in order. Then I explained Phoebe’s nightly fireworks fright and asked if it could carry over into the day. Doggie mentor said it could be a possibility, especially since Phoebe gets frightened easily.
That jogged my memory. I remembered other times where Phoebe had lingering fear. Like the time she was afraid of the lawn, and afraid of a bicycle. Phoebe is a special little snowflake that could feasibly get scared of her own shadow. I had nothing to lose by waiting a day and seeing if trying to alleviate the stress would improve her well being. If not, I could fall back on the vet.
Anyway, when the fireworks started popping the following evening Phoebe went running for cover. I rooted around and found the ace bandage and then coaxed her out of her self-made cave. I wrapped her in the ace bandage and it was like magic. She sat my feet for a few minutes and then laid down and then fell asleep.
The fireworks started popping off again about an hour later and it did not seem to phase her. She was wandering around the house, sprawled on the floor and life was good.
This makes me very happy. As I mentioned, the first time I experimented with the ace bandage wrap I did not have a before and after scenario. Now I do. There was a huge difference in Phoebe’s stress level that night and it has trickled down to her day time behavior. She has stopped hiding during the day, doesn’t give me the stink eye, and is back to being herself.
What about a Thunder Shirt?
Sometime last year I bought a Thunder Shirt and wound up taking it back to the store. It had nothing to do with the whether it worked or not (I never got that far). It just did not suit our needs.
With the Thunder Shirt you need to expose your dog to it before a stressful event. One you do that, you start putting it on your dog when you know they are going to be exposed to something stressful (going to the vet, loud noises, or whatever). You cannot keep the Thunder Shirt on your dog 24 x 7. Other than the obvious, I have no clue when Phoebe is going to get stressed so a preventative approach just doesn’t work.
Another thing that made me shy away was fabric. It is like a little spandex t-shirt. Of course the whole idea is to provide consistent, gentle pressure like when you wrap a baby up like burritos to make them feel safe. That sounds grand when it is cold outside. However when it is hot, is seems like it would be the same as me walking around in a body-shaper in 90 degree weather. No thanks!
An ace bandage wrap is dual purpose
The good thing about the ace bandage wrap is that when it is really hot, you can dampen it and it does double duty as a doggie-cooler-downer. It’s a winner.