Saturday, July 4, 2020



Abby is terrified of both thunder and fireworks.  Most storms she just goes in the closet in the bedroom or the one behind my office where the winter coats are kept.  We will put a soft pet bed in there and she'll lay on it the her head peering into the room. But when there are fireworks - she immediately goes into the  bedroom closet and as narrow as it is, folds herself up like an accordion so she can get horizontal in the very back of it.  It just looks painful

Unfortunately, fireworks in the city aren't limited to July 4th.  No, all the locals will be shooting their personal ones off every evening as soon as they are  off work starting a good three days prior.  Last year, we went to the crash pad in Indianapolis which was in a more rural area and a strict "no fireworks" in the condo complex so it was quiet. Now that I no longer commute I had the option this year to go to my best friends (MC from the Book of Barkley with all the rescue cats).  She and her partner Mr. B. have a large country home but I was sadly informed that her Dad passed away today after a long stint in nursing care and she needs her family now, not company.

So Plan B (as in bow wow).
Yes, I should have ordered a Thundershirt.  My Vet says about 80% of dogs have great success with them and they h ave a money back guarantee. But it's too late now to get one, things already starting to pop around the neighborhood.

So DIY Thundershirt.  Acting on the same principals that the gentle pressure on certain points on your pet will calm and sooth, I made one out of an ace bandage (that was about 5 feet long).  You could also use a long scarf on a smaller dog.

Since the bandage wasn't quite big enough to hit all the pressure points, I used supplemented the back section with a long narrow scarf.
Take the section of bandage and wrap the middle of it across the dog's chest.   She's not looking too sure about this, and has already heard some "Pops" which are making her nervous.
Bring the back of the bandage up over the withers, cross and then bring down below the chest. If long enough bring it back up to the spine and tie it off or fasten with Velcro at the base of the spine like this diagram.

Since my bandage roll wasn't long enough to bring it on up again over the her lower back, I just fastened the ends on the belly with the piece of Velcro that came with the bandage and used separate section of scarf to cradle and pressure the back part of the belly, tying it up above the base of her spine.

It should be snug, but not so snug your dog can't easily sit or lay down.  I also added a drop of PURE frankincense essential oil to the bandage on the chest and put a drop, warmed in my hand, rubbed into the fur on the top of her head and around the outside of her ears. Frankincense is pet safe and is VERY calming for dogs.. Lavender would also work but remember, dogs are quite scent sensitive, before you apply it, put a drop on your hand and see if they have a "no thanks" reaction to it and don't force it if they don't like it.  Abby loves the scents. JUST a drop is plenty and check with your vet if you consider any other oils as some can cause liver and kidney toxicity.  Also don't use the cheap synthetic oils that are just a fragrance of frankincense, not the actual essential oil.

Sit!  Stay!
 Sure I can sit Mom - but this floor under the table is SERIOUSLY lacking foodable crumbs.
 Somebody is MUCH happier even with the boomies starting to go off!   BOOM!
 I'm not afraid of no fireworks!
Thanks Mom - but seriously the next time, don't use the animal print scarf - I don't want Frankie Furter to think I'm a cougar!

Next time there is noise - I'll get the real Thundershirt -  but this really worked and was made with things we had on hand.


  1. I'll have to try a thundershirt, Teddy is very upset by fireworks and barks away the anxiety, which doesn't really work for either of us.

  2. That's a good idea! We're pretty lucky that none of our dogs were afraid of fireworks or thunder so far. But we'll pass this along to cousin Angus in NC who is. Thanks and have a happy 4th of July.

  3. I'm not even sure a Thundershirt would have helped us last night. Despite a no fireworks ordinance, last night sounded like Beirut. There's nothing like trying to comfort a 150# of terrified dogs in a tiny cramped closet with the loudest fan alive running on high, essential oil formulations (I use Melissa, Copaiba and Lavender blended with fractionated coconut oil with decent success) and the BBC turned up as loud as possible. Terrified animals, people with autism and veterans with PTSD had a very bad night this year. Thanks for sharing the DIY version of a Thundershirt.


Welcome to The Book of Barkley and the Blogville dog blogging community. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on our Lab Rescues that have joined our household since Barkley left us.

Stop in and say hello. However, comments from strangers offering business links will NOT be posted. I