How to Wrap Dogs to Treat Anxiety

Many dogs made anxious by loud noises such as thunderstorms or fireworks receive immediate relief when "wrapped." The wrapping technique works on dogs much the way swaddling a newborn baby does. The pressure of a doggie wrap, a growing variety of which are available at retail, calms and soothes.

Introduce the wrap to your dog by letting him see and smell it. This helps him get used to it.

Place the wrap on your dog’s back while your dog is standing.

Close the front flaps that go around the neck and chest area. They attach with Velcro. The neck flaps don’t need to be tight and snug. They are there only to keep the wrap on your dog. Some wraps simply slip over the dog’s head.

Wrap the long flap around your dog’s abdomen and close it with Velcro to the short flap on the other side. The wrap should fit snugly, but you should be able to slip your finger between the wrap and your dog’s body.

Take the upper flap and place it around the lower flap. Secure that with Velcro, too. The second flap makes the wrap more secure around your dog.

Tips

  • Do not open the neck flaps when you remove the wrap. Next time you wish to place the wrap around your dog, simply slip the wrap over his head.
  • Ensure that the wrap fits well on your dog. He should be able to urinate while wearing it, and his movement shouldn’t be restricted.
  • Make your dog comfortable with the wrap before there's a chance for him to become anxious from thunder or noise. Give him a treat while he has it on. You are trying to link the wrap with something pleasurable. Let him wear the wrap for at least five minutes before removing it during acclimation sessions.
  • Some wraps require the dog to step into it with his front and back legs. You simply guide his legs into that type of wrap.
  • Remove the wrap when the stressful situation ends. After two hours, if the wrap remains on him, check to ensure the wrap is not causing irritation.

Warnings

  • Anxiety wraps aren’t a panacea; you still might need to use behavior modification techniques such as playing with your dog during the stressful noise situation or using white noise to block the sound.
  • Wraps probably don’t work well for separation anxiety, according to Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University.
 

About the Author

Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.