A Guide To Wrapping Your Dog In An Anxiety Wrap

Some dogs have a tough time adjusting to new surroundings, people, places, and things. If you are a dog owner looking for ways to help your dog deal with anxiety issues, you have come to the right place. Several options can help your dog deal with anxiety, but none are quite as effective as anxiety wrap.

It can be difficult to take your dog out as much as you would like when you are constantly worried about their anxiety creeping up, but you might finally have the solution you need. This article will act as a full guide on how to wrap your dog in anxiety wrap, what its benefits are, and where you can find it. Read on to learn all about anxiety wrap and how to use it to wrap your dog.

Do Anxiety Wraps for Dogs Really Work?

Research is still being done on the effectiveness of anxiety wraps on dogs. There is a possibility that your dog’s anxiety is lessened by the wrapping, but it can be difficult to tell. Some experts believe that although your dog’s mood may appear calmer after being wrapped, it may be because the dog feels inhibited by the wrap. 

Pet owners are warned not to mistake a calmer mood with the effectiveness of the anxiety wrap because it can lead to false confidence in situations where your dog would normally show signs of anxiety. Despite the potential confusion, anxiety wrap has been shown to work on certain dogs. 

  • One of the most important things to consider when wrapping your dog is the way you are conditioning them to the situation.
  • If you only wrap your dog before moments that typically cause your dog stress, he will begin to correlate being wrapped with being in an uncomfortable situation.
  • Consider wrapping your dog even during pleasant events, so your dog associates the wrap with feeling calm and content.

The effectiveness of the anxiety wrap will differ depending on your dog, but most dog behaviorist experts agree that it does not hurt to try anxiety wrap. While anxiety wrap might not be a magical solution to your dog’s anxiety, it has the potential to aid in soothing some of your dog’s anxiety symptoms.

You might even want to consider combining the use of anxiety wrap with other anti-anxiety methods, such as weighted blankets, pheromone-based anxiety aids, or some kind of anti-anxiety medication as well. It may take a bit of trial and error, but the wrap can be a great tool in the long run. 

How to DIY Your Own Anxiety Wrap

One of the best things about an anxiety wrap for dogs is its convenience and how easily it can be made. You do not have to go online or to a pet store to find the ideal wrap for your dog because it can be made using commonly-owned household items. There are several strategies to use when DIYing your anxiety wrap, so take a look at some below.

  • Using an ace bandage 
  • Using a t-shirt
  • Sewing your own wrap

These strategies can be great, but they might not work correctly if not done right. Still, anxiety wraps and vests are typically inexpensive, and if you do not have the time to DIY yours properly, finding an affordable option should not be difficult. Either way, it is convenient to be able to make your own or make adjustments to a vest or wrap you purchased. 

The most important thing to remember when making your own anxiety wrap is that anxiety wrap works by targeting points on your dog’s body that are known to hold tension during times of high anxiety. Similar to humans with weighted blankets, anxiety wraps give dogs the feeling that they are being wrapped in an embrace, and this sensation can aid in soothing some of the anxiety they are feeling.

All of these strategies are affordable and easy to do. It might take some trial and error to figure out which technique will work best for your dog, but, luckily, it will not take you long to try all three. Dive a little deeper into each technique below so that you can have a better idea of how each strategy works. 

DIY Anxiety Wrap with an Ace Bandage

The ace bandage technique is the most commonly used DIY anxiety wrap technique. If you do not have ace bandages, you can also use a scarf. This technique has been proven to work by many dog owners and is a reliable resource to reduce anxiety and tension in your canine. This process can be done in three easy steps:

  • Place the middle of an ace bandage across your dog’s chest.
  • Bring both edges of the bandage and cross them over your dog’s shoulders.
  • Tie the loose end over the top of your dog’s lower back.

You will want to make sure that the bandage is tight enough to stay on your dog but loose enough where it is not constricting their breathing. If the bandage or scarf is too tight, your dog might become resistant to ever wearing it due to it being uncomfortable and hard to wear. Also, make sure the wrap is not tight around its neck area. 

The ace bandage technique is reliable, but not everyone has ace bandages lying around. People often choose a different technique in this case. If you do not have extra ace bandages at home, you can also use a scarf or any similar material. The t-shirt technique is arguably the most popular choice for dog owners, so read on to see that one next. 

DIY Anxiety Wrap with the T-Shirt Technique 

The t-shirt technique is simple and easy to perform. Grab any old t-shirt you have lying around, preferably a snug one or perhaps a spandex tank top—anything that is tight enough to provide a bit of light pressure to your pet. For smaller dogs, you might want to consider child-sized clothing for a more accurate fit. 

You will want to put the shirt over your dog backward so that your dog’s tail pokes out of the neck hole of the shirt. After putting the shirt on, tie the shirt sleeves across the dog’s chest. You can also use a t-shirt and ace bandages in unison to target the proper pressure points more efficiently. 

Sew Your Own DIY Anxiety Wrap

Not everyone knows how to sew, but if you are capable, this can be the best solution towards finding the perfect measurements for your dog’s anxiety wrap. You can also customize the design and look of the wrap, making for an effective and fashionable tool to help soothe your dog’s anxiety. 

Even if you can not sew, consider reaching out to someone who can. This is a great way to support a local business or friend and design your dog’s anxiety wrap to particular specifications. The more you can customize the experience, the better the chances are that it will be effective in the long run. You can also sew an existing shirt to make it fit the way you want it to fit your dog. 

When Are Anxiety Wraps Useful?

Anxiety wraps at their best serve the purpose of treating your dog’s anxiety by applying light pressure to the proper tension points on their body. These points become extra tense when your dog is feeling particularly anxious. Some anxiety wraps are known as thunder shirts because they help a dog feel more comfortable and safe during loud thunderstorms outside the house. 

The idea of the applied pressure is that it gives your dog the feeling that they are being hugged or held during moments of tension, giving the dog a sense of security to help them manage their anxiety. Experts compare it to the feeling of a human being hugged or held during moments of sadness or tension. 

Anxiety wraps also give dog owners who do not want to use drugs or medication a better alternative. Anxiety wraps have been proven to work in several stressful situations for anxious dogs, such as:

  • Separation anxiety 
  • Loud noises (thunderstorms, lawnmowers, vacuums, fireworks, etc.)
  • Travel anxiety

So, whether your dog has a fear of strangers or your dog just does not like to be alone, anxiety wraps can serve as a calming force to help them get through their fear and tension. You can also prioritize the look of the wrap so that your dog can look clean and fashionable going forward! 

How Long Should a Dog Wear Anxiety Wrap?

Technically, your dog can wear anxiety wraps for a full 24-hour period if it is necessary. The caveat is that you should remove the wraps for about 10 minutes every one to two hours to relieve any irritation your dog might be feeling. You also want to make sure you remove the wraps often enough to clean them regularly.

  • Although it is rare for a dog to need to wear the wraps for a full day, it is still convenient to know if a situation ever arises.
  • Dog’s move around a bit, and you will want to check in frequently to make sure the wraps are still taking care of the proper pressure points.
  • Dog’s do not typically like to wear clothes, so if there is no need for a tension reliever, it is not recommended that you keep the wrap on for long. 

In situations where you are traveling all day or know that your dog might be in stressful situations, you should leave the wraps on for as long as you need. Typically, wraps and thunder shirts are designed to fit comfortably on your pets, and you should not have much of an issue when it comes to worrying about their comfort.

One thing to keep in mind is that your dog might eventually be conditioned to correlate the anxiety wraps with stressful situations. To avoid this, you should consider putting the wraps on your dog, even during good moments. The less your dog correlates the wrap with anxious moments, the easier it will be for you as an owner to put the wraps on it.

How Do You Wrap an Anxious Dog?

dog anxiety wrap

There are few things to consider when wrapping your drag in anxiety wrap. Some dogs will be more reluctant than others. Their reluctance might stem from them being an overly anxious dog even in normal situations, or it may be from the correlation they have formulated between wearing the anxiety wrap and being in anxious situations.

  • If your dog is reluctant even during the first attempt at wrapping it, make sure to put them at ease and calm them down as you apply the wrap.
  • If there is a sound that soothes your dog, play that sound as you apply the wrap.
  • You can also negotiate with your dog by giving them treats and speaking to them softly.

If you notice that your dog is reluctant to put the wraps on even after you have successfully done it a few times, it may have already begun to correlate the wraps with stressful situations. Your best bet towards preventing this is to apply the anxiety wraps even during non-stressful situations and outings. This way, they will not see a pattern.

If all else fails, you can also use oils and medication to temporarily calm your dog’s nerves as you apply the anxiety wrap. The main thing to take away is that you want your dog to be in a comfortable zone before you apply the wrap so that you will not have to worry about a potential struggle during the process.

Where Can You Find Anxiety Wraps?

For the dog owners that prefer to buy anxiety wraps from a third party rather than DIY them at home, there are several places you can go to purchase them. If you do not know your dog’s measurements, make sure to figure those out before purchasing your wraps. Take a look at some of the most reliable sources for dog anxiety wraps below.

  • Amazon
  • Chewy
  • PetCo
  • PetSmart
  • Veterinarians 

Just as you would with your own clothing, sometimes it is best to try it on in the store rather than ordering it online without a chance to try it out. Make sure you are prioritizing the comfort of your dog when you are purchasing. If your wraps are too loose, they will not be effective. You can always ask an expert on anxiety wraps for help as well. 

You might find that the anxiety wrap or shirt you are looking for goes by a different name, a thunder shirt. Do not be confused by the name, as a thunder shirt serves the same purpose as the wraps do. Some veterinarians offer customizable thunder shirts for your specific dog, and you can even ask a vet for some advice on relieving anxiety. 

The price of anxiety wraps vary but typically goes for anywhere between $20 to $40 at most locations. Remember, your best bet is to take your dog with you when you are purchasing the anxiety wraps so that you have the best idea of what size wraps you need to buy to optimize performance and comfort for your dog.

Best Anxiety Wraps for Your Dog

Now that you have found some of the places to buy quality anxiety wraps, your next question might be what the best brand available is. Different styles and types of anxiety wraps work better for different dogs, but all anxiety wraps serve the same purpose of relieving the stress and anxiety of your pet. Take a look at some of the options on the market.

Each of these anxiety wraps available on Amazon shares the same purpose of helping your pet relieve their stress, but they each offer their unique qualities as well. The most common issue with these options is that they will not work unless the vest, wrap, or jacket is a proper fit for your dog. Beyond the one issue, each of these options is durable, breathable, and efficient.

As mentioned earlier in the article, it is imperative that you know the correct measurements of your dog before you make your purchase. A vest or wrap that does not fit properly will end up being obsolete. Another thing to consider is the quality of the fabric you are purchasing and if your dog reacts negatively to any fabric.

Some brands are not as effective on pets who suffer from severe anxiety, so make sure to read reviews that may be relevant to your particular situation before purchasing. Remember, not all dogs will react the same to the vest, so do not get discouraged if your initial purchase does not bring the results you are looking for. 

What Kinds of Anxiety Will Anxiety Wrap Relieve?

While effective in most situations, there are certain situations where anxiety wrap may not be your top option. Anxiety wraps can help some dogs in certain situations where they might not help other dogs. Common uses for anxiety wraps are:

  • For dogs with separation anxiety
  • For dogs with anxiety toward a specific gender
  • For dogs who get anxious during thunderstorms, fireworks shows, or noisy situations
  • For dogs who get anxious during travel or visiting new places

Dogs are smart enough to understand when they are alone or far from their owner, and if your dog has separation anxiety, an anxiety wrap would be like putting a bandaid on a cut that needs stitches.

What makes anxiety wraps a reliable resource for anxious pets is that it gives your pet the feeling and sensation of human touch, but if your dog has separation anxiety, you should treat it by training your dog to live an active and friendly lifestyle. Anxiety wraps effectiveness on separation anxiety is in question, but they are effective in other cases.

Every dog is different, so although anxiety wraps might work well to decrease anxiety levels for something like a thunderstorm, it does not mean it will translate over to travel anxiety or anything of that nature. It may take some time to fully understand how effective your anxiety wraps are and what situations they are most likely to work in.

When you purchase an anxiety wrap, make sure to research some of the most effective strategies to help you maximize its optimization. However, if your main focus or concern for your dog is its struggles with separation anxiety, there are guides available to help you make it work. 

Helping Your Dog Feel Comfortable in Anxiety Wrap

Dogs do not typically like wearing clothes or anything that restricts their movement, but an anxiety wrap can be a calming force that helps your dog get through anxious situations. If you want your dog to get accustomed to wearing the wrap, you will have to have them wear it often and in all kinds of situations. 

If you have a dog that does not like wearing harnesses, you might be wondering how you are going to get them to put on an anxiety wrap or vest, to begin with. Your main goal should be to incentivize your dog to wear the vest through positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement will help your dog correlate the vest with something they enjoy.

For example, when you pull out a leash or a harness, your next move will be to walk your dog, and through time they will begin to pick up on that. Below are some of the ways you can incentivize your dog to wear an anxiety wrap or vest through positive reinforcement.

  • Give them a treat
  • Go for a walk 
  • Pet them and use positive vocal cues 

When you immediately follow the process of putting the anxiety wrap on your dog with something they enjoy, they will be more inclined to want to wear the wrap because they know something good usually follows. If you only put the wrap on your dog before an anxious situation, they will start to pick up on the pattern and become more reluctant. 

How to Acclimate Your Dog to Anxiety Wrap

The purpose of the anxiety wrap is to relieve your dog’s tension and make them more independent. When applying the wrap to your dog, you might want to consider giving your dog time to adjust and bask in the benefits of the anxiety wrap.

  • As hard as it might be, ignoring your dog while wearing the wrap can have positive psychological benefits.
  • Once you start to see the benefits of the anxiety wrap, you can gradually start giving your dog normal attention.
  • Although you should consider using positive reinforcement to incentivize your dog to wear the wrap, you should not risk getting their levels of adrenaline up in the process because it can overshadow the purpose of the wraps.

This strategy also works with dogs who have high levels of aggression. Your anxiety wrap should be used as a training aide, and when you are training your dog to be calmer and relax in high-stress situations, high levels of adrenaline can undo the work you are trying to do. Avoid activities like playing fetch while the vest is on.

Are Anxiety Wraps Good for Outdoor Dogs?

Clothing for pets

Typically, outdoor dogs suffer less anxiety than indoor dogs, but they might still benefit from the anxiety wrap or vest. The main thing to look out for when it comes to outdoor dogs is that they might overheat if the vest is on too long. There are several ways to prevent overheating from your dog’s anxiety vest:

  • Water the vest to cool it.
  • Monitor how long the vest is on and decide whether it is necessary to have it on for the duration.
  • Make sure your dog is in a shaded area.

As rare as anxiety wraps might be for outdoor dogs, many owners can still benefit from the use of wraps or vests as long as they make sure to monitor their dogs while using them. You should also be aware that some veterinarians and websites will not sell you a vest if you have an outdoor dog because of the issues and concerns about overheating. 

Will My Dog Become Habituated to Anxiety Wrap?

If your dog starts to get overly comfortable in its wrap or vest, it might be because it enjoys the sensation it gets from it.

  • It is rare for dogs to become habituated to anxiety wrap, but it has happened on occasion.
  • The best course of action should this happen would be to remove the wrap for a few weeks before using it again. 
  • Anxiety wraps typically do not need to be worn all day, so if your dog starts to become habituated, it is a clear sign that you left it on them for too long.

Avoiding a situation where your dog is habituated to the wrap or vest will help you prevent a world where they are solely dependent on the wrap or vest to get by. 

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