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Do Body Wraps Truly Help Dogs With Anxiety? (Vet Answer)

Written by: Dr. Iulia Mihai, DVM MSc (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

German Shepherd Wearing Anxiety Shirt

Do Body Wraps Truly Help Dogs With Anxiety? (Vet Answer)


Dr. Iulia Mihai Photo


Dr. Iulia Mihai

DVM MSc (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Anxiety in dogs can be triggered in different situational or behavioral contexts. You may not always be with your beloved four-legged friend when they feel anxious, so you may be considering purchasing a body wrap to help them in difficult moments.

There are not enough evidence-based studies to prove that body wraps help anxious dogs, but anecdotally, there are reviews from owners who have tried them that state that they work and offer a degree of comfort to anxious dogs.

Body wraps are clothing items similar to vests, with the role of calming anxious dogs. They are made of durable material and designed to apply gentle and consistent pressure to calm your pet’s anxiety, fear, and overexcitement caused by separation from the owner, thunder, fireworks, car rides, or visits to the vet. That said, if your dog suffers from severe anxiety, it is recommended to talk to a vet.

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What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?

Anxiety in dogs has multiple causes, the most common ones being:

  • Separation from the owner (also called separation anxiety) — Some dogs develop an excessive attachment to or become dependent on their owners, getting very upset when they are apart.
  • Noise — Dogs can be fearful of loud noises. Common noises that can make dogs anxious include thunder, fireworks, traffic noise, and vacuum cleaners.
  • Travel — Many dogs prefer routine, and travel exposes them to new experiences and unfamiliar sounds and smells, which can be overstimulating and frightening.
  • Strange people or pets — Some dogs can become anxious and stressed around unfamiliar people or pets, as can happen in veterinary offices.
  • Age — Cognitive dysfunction in dogs is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans and causes problems such as memory loss, house soiling, and disorientation, which often lead to anxiety.
scared dog hiding in grass
Image Credit: Isa KARAKUS, Pixabay

How to Recognize Anxiety Signs in Dogs

Stressed and anxious dogs can show the following clinical signs:

  • Excessive barking
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Destructive behavior
  • Hypersalivation
  • Aggressivity
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Urination and/or defecation in the house or unauthorized places.

If your dog shows any of these signs, visit the veterinarian to evaluate them.

divider-dog pawDo Body Wraps Truly Help Dogs With Anxiety?

Hard data to confirm the effectiveness of these accessories are few, but there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence (from owners who have used them) that body wraps do help anxious dogs.

Pet owners who tried body wraps on their anxious dogs noted that their dog’s anxiety was reduced when they wore the vest and that they seemed less agitated. However, experts in canine behavior believe that dogs that are not used to wearing clothes can remain motionless (or have limited movements) and still be anxious, it’s just less noticeable.

Body wraps can control anxiety in dogs but do not remove the source. If you want your dog to be anxiety free, you have to eliminate the trigger.

Mellow Shirt Dog Anxiety Calming Wrap

How Do Body Wraps Work?

As the name suggests, this vest goes around your dog’s body, hugging the waist and chest. Make sure the fastening mechanism works perfectly, as this will enable you to wrap the vest properly around your dog’s body.

Swaddled babies tend to be less anxious, hence the application of this reasoning to our four-legged friends. From a scientific point of view, light pressure applied to the body can help reduce tension and anxiety1. Hugs have a similar effect.

How to Get Your Dog Used to the Body Wrap

If your dog is anxious and you are thinking of buying a body wrap for them, but they are not used to wearing clothes, here is what you can do:

  • When you take the body wrap out of the package, let your dog sniff it.
  • After they get used to the smell, put a few treats on it and let your dog eat them. In this way, they will get used to the scent of the vest faster. Do this several times.
  • Place the body wrap on your dog without closing it. Ask your dog to move or have them take a few steps. In this way, they will get used to the weight of the vest.
  • Put the body wrap on your dog and close it. If your dog shows signs of feeling uncomfortable, take the wrap off, and only repeat the procedure when your dog is calm and relaxed again.
Image Credit: Dr. Lorna Wittemore, Dogster



Although there are no evidence-based studies about whether body wraps are effective, many owners have left good reviews about these products, and it won’t hurt to try them. They are easy to put on and work by applying gentle pressure to your dog’s chest and waist, just like swaddling a baby. Body wraps can calm your dog during fireworks, thunderstorms, separation, travel, car rides, vet visits, and grooming processes. If your dog’s anxiety is severe, though, talk to your veterinarian or a behaviorist.

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Featured Image Credit: Dr. Lorna Whittemore, Pangolia

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