How to Put a Thunder Jacket On a Dog for Comfort (Guide)!

Seeing your dog terrified and quaking is no fun for any owner, whether it’s separation anxiety or fireworks phobia. Many dog owners claim that the Thunder shirt is the ideal answer.

It’s a form-fitting jacket or vest that wraps your dog softly yet firmly for a sense of security that keeps him or her quiet.

You can use one of your dog’s favorite jackets as a pattern to sew a Thundershirt with a little creativity if you’re not interested in buying the genuine article.

Step-by-Step How to Put a Thunder Jacket on a Dog

Dog Anxiety Wraps are effective
Anxiety wraps are vest-like garments designed to calm anxious dogs.

Thunderjackets are simply adjustable vests that give your dog a secure wrap that helps them to feel calm and secure during anxiety-inducing events like thunder, fireworks, and travel.

  1. Put the thundershirt on the dog’s back, right-side up, with the neck of the jacket facing the head of the dog.
  2. Wrap the neck flap around the front of the dog’s neck and secure it gently with the velcro straps. Make sure it is not too tight or it may cause tracheal damage.
  3. Wrap the 2 torso flaps around the dog’s body. One goes under the belly and the other goes over the top.
  4. Adjust the top flap to give the ideal amount of pressure to calm the dog. Never wrap it too tight or it can cause breathing restrictions and possibly injure the dog.

Remember that this wrap is a tool to help calm your dog. If used frequently before it’s needed to help the dog get used to it, it may be a wonderful solution for an anxious dog.

Are Dog Anxiety Wraps Effective?

Gentle pressure comforts both dogs and humans, particularly when combined with soothing words in a loving tone of voice. The dog anxiety wrap method is very similar to that of swaddling an infant.

The technique of “maintained pressure,” in which a firm pressure is maintained on specific pressure points around the body, has been used to soothe both animals and people.

Pressure sensors are one of the most popular types of dog anxiety relief wraps. When your dog is experiencing stress, he or she will sense immediate comfort from the pressure sensor.

Some dogs, however, might need several wear sessions to get acclimated to the wrap, so it’s a good idea to test out the wrap to get your dog used to wearing it before you need it.

While the Thundershirt’s effectiveness varies depending on your dog’s anxiety and the circumstances, many owners have had wonderful success using it to calm their worried pup!

Different Ways to Make a Thundershirt for Your Dog

Thundershirt For Your Dog
A custom thundershirt vest can be the perfect thing to calm an anxious dog.

There are a few ways to make your own Thundershirt or swaddle your dog.

In this article, we’ll go through the most popular ACE bandage anxiety wrap technique, as well as one that uses a t-shirt to wrap the dog quickly and securely.

Option 1: Make a Wrap with an ACE Bandage

The ACE bandage method is the most popular Thundershirt DIY approach you’ll find online. If you don’t have an ACE bandage, a scarf works as well though it isn’t as stretchy and comfortable.

It’s a good idea to practice wrapping your dog before there is a storm and you have to do it while he’s trembling and scared.

This technique aims to apply gentle pressure to the dog’s pressure points to help him calm down.

  • Begin by centering the ace bandage on the center of your dog’s chest. The size of the bandage you use depends on your dog’s size. Similar to using a collar: narrow bands for tiny dogs and wide bands for big dogs.
  • Cross both ends of the bandage evenly across your dog’s back. Cross the top of your dog’s shoulder blades with the loose ends of the bandage, then cross the remaining loose ends under his stomach.
  • The final step is to wrap the loose ends around the lower backside. You want a secure but not restricting feel to the pressure; it should be like getting a nice hug!

Secure the wrap by tying the two ends in a gentle knot at the dog’s back, away from the spine so it doesn’t damage the spine.

If it is put on correctly, the bandage will go around the front of the dog’s neck like a collar, then cross over the top of the shoulder blades, cross again under the belly, and then tie up on the lower back.

As a note of caution, do not neglect your dog while wearing an anxiety wrap since they may become tangled in it if they scratch at it and if shifts.

Option 2: T-shirt Technique

A simple t-shirt may also be made into a DIY Thundershirt. Use a shirt that will fit your dog tightly yet comfortably once it is tied on.

Step 1: Put the t-shirt on your dog in reverse, with your dog’s tail sticking out of the neck opening.

Step 2: Then, cross the shirt arms over your dog’s chest and tie them together.

Some people wrap ACE bandages over the t-shirt and make a swaddle wrap as described above to ensure they’re hitting pressure points on the dog’s body.

Nothing can take the place of calming love and affection. The Thundershirt or its DIY equivalent is only a tool to help you calm your anxious dog.

Option 3: Sew Your Anxiety Wrap

If you’re comfortable sewing, you can make a cozy and customized thundershirt-style jacket or vest for your dog!

Materials and supplies

  • Knit fabric
  • 2 inch wide Sew-On Velcro 
  • 0.75 inch wide Sew-On Velcro
  • Matching thread
  • Fabric measuring tape
  • Pattern paper
  • Straight ruler
  • A jacket or vest that fits your dog well

Use your dog’s vest or jacket to get the neck and chest area to fit right, and use it as a pattern to cut out the jacket.

This video will give you a step-by-step tutorial to sew a thunderjacket that will fit your dog perfectly and be comfortable to wear!


Have you ever used an anxiety wrap or a DIY thundershirt to soothe your dog during a thunderstorm, fireworks, or other stressful situation? How did it work out for you?

Share your story in the comments, because we’d love to know!

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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