Popular pet anxiety product put to the test

Local 6 asks pet owners to try Thundershirts

Published On: Jul 03 2013 11:09:45 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 04 2013 08:24:02 AM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

 A product called the Thundershirt is supposed to keep pets calm during storms. The loud booms of storm season and fireworks like on the Fourth of July can send pets into panic mode.

In fact, summer is never a fun time of year for Mary Weinaug's dog Jude.

He's so afraid of thunder he once clawed his way through a wooden door in their garage.

“When there's a storm he's under my feet. Fireworks he's deathly afraid of, he actually ran away one year,” said Weinaug.

We first met the Weinaug’s back in December.

Jude tried out the Thundershirt while Mary's husband lit off a firework.

“I'm going go with it didn't work,” said Weinaug.

Over the past six months of rain, storms and wind, and of course thunder, Weinaug tried the Thundershirt with Jude.

“He didn't like it,” she says adding that it didn't change his behavior during storms.

“There was one about 5 a.m. about three weeks ago. I was out of town, my daughter was here. He started freaking out in the garage,” said Weinaug.

“The dog's actually trying to protect itself from it and the longer you let it happen the worse it gets.  And it's surviving the event,” said Dr. JD, who is a veterinarian specializing in behavior disorders.

“We are like a combination between a psychologist and a psychiatrist,” said the doctor.

In Central Florida, it's not just thunder and lightning during storm season that can scare pets.

“If you're near Disney where they have fireworks just about every night -- it's a whole year of fear,” said the doctor.

When she sees noise phobic pets, she tells owners to go ahead and give both the Thundershirt and a similar product, the anxiety wrap a try.

“You don't need a prescription, you don't need to see a vet, you can try it on your own, so I'm not going to say don't do it.  But keep it mind, if it doesn't work it's not the end of your options of other things you can try,” said the doctor.

Dr. JD has to treat pets with behavioral techniques and sometimes even medication.

“If they are having a panic attack, just wrapping them may not be sufficient,” she said.