Thundershirt vs Mellow Shirt for Dog Anxiety

There’s the ThunderShirt And there’s the Mellow Shirt.

Both are made to relieve anxiety in dogs and to help them feel calmer during stressful times and situations.

Which is the better option for YOUR dog – the ThunderShirt or the Mellow Shirt?

Is there really much of a difference between them?

Check out my quick comparison here:

ThunderShirt Mellow Shirt
Material Polyester, Spandex, Rayon
(TS Sport 100% Polyester)
Polyester, Spandex
Variations/Styles 3 (see comparison) 1
Sizes XX-S – XX-Large XX-S – X-Large
Chest Range 9″ – 50″ 9″ – 37″
Weight Range 7lbs – 110lbs; 7lbs – 110lbs
 No  No
Colors  4  5

Both makers claim an over 80% success rate with the vests when it comes to anxiety reduction.

This is a difficult number to measure, considering the many thousands of customers of each product who are unlikely to report their results to the companies.

Nevertheless, there’s certainly no evidence that would indicate either of these anxiety vests are not working well for the majority of customers.

They both have great names. ThunderShirts are so named (fairly obviously) because one of the worst times for a dog owner and for dogs is thunderstorms.

Stress and panic can take over your home very quickly if your dog is one of millions of hate storms.

Thunder is obviously not the only time a dog will benefit from a ThunderShirt. It does make for a great name though. It’s the most well known brand of anxiety vests for dogs. It’s also the most popular.

A lot of people will refer to any anxiety or calming jacket as a ThunderShirt regardless of brand. There are plenty of copycat designs out there too (of vastly varying quality).

Mellow Shirt takes the opposite side when it comes to naming – it’s all about mellowing our dogs out.

Both shirts or vests are designed to mellow, to calm, to soothe and ultimately to reduce anxiety and stress so a dog can more calmly navigate situations ranging from storms to fireworks, moving house to boarding, car rides to a new baby being brought home.

Things that stress your dog might be different to what stresses mine, but calming vests are really useful in a wide variety of situations and environments.

Both the Mellow Shirt and ThunderShirt wraps around your dog and applies a very gentle amount of pressure depending how you tighten the shirt.

It should never be overly tight. Just enough that your dog can feel it and gain comfort from the wrap it provides around the mid section. Both brands give you about 5 inches of room to move with adjusting the velcro around your dog’s abdomen to achieve a snug fit.

It will feel almost like your dog is being held, and that’s one of the main purposes of these vests.

Both brands use a similar material blend with polyester and spandex.

ThunderShirt includes a rayon blend in the Classic and Polo, while the ThunderShirt Sport is made to be even more breathable with a 100% polyester design and what the company calls airflow technology.

ThunderShirt vs Mellow Shirt Summary

I like the more secure velcro fastening of the ThunderShirt range. This isn’t easily removed by dogs. This is probably the biggest downside of the Mellow Shirt – the velcro isn’t quite long enough around the torso and has no protective covering like the ThunderShirt to stop curious dogs accessing it if they’re determined.

The ThunderShirt also has a larger size range at the upper end. Owners of the biggest dogs won’t be able to use a Mellow Shirt because it maxes out at 37″ chest circumference. The ThunderShirt has an extra-extra large size that takes us right up to 50″ chest size.

The Mellow Shirt is limited to one style. There’s nothing wrong with just one style, but having three options with the ThunderShirt is nice.

It’s not there’s anything wrong with the Mellow Shirt so to speak. It’s just that the ThunderShirt does just about everything better.

The Mellow can work well for a lot of dogs, but if your dog is an explorer when it comes to clothing you may find the vest has been removed or at least come undone with easier access to the velcro.

The ThunderShirt is just a more refined design overall. And it’s the only option of these two brands if you have a very large dog.

Can the Thundershirt be used as a winter jacket for dogs?

Wondering if you can use a Thundershirt or similar anxiety vest as a warm winter vest as well?

It will depend where you live and how cold it gets. But in general, the Thundershirt isn’t designed for warmth. The Thundershirt Sport also has an airflow design that would have cold air getting to your dog.

If you prefer to keep your dog’s Thundershirt on most of the time, some dog sweaters (the more stretchy fitting ones) will fit over the top of it to provide warmth.

Thundershirts are not made of thick, warm material. If you reside in a very cold location and want your dog kept warm when outdoors walking – don’t rely on the Thundershirt for that purpose.

Buy a good quality, warm winter dog jacket for those outdoor walks on cold days.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *