In fearful or anxious dogs does wearing a pressure vest, compared to not wearing one, result in reduced behavioural and physiological signs of stress?
Clinical bottom line
Four studies of variable quality and limitations were identified that investigated the use of pressure vests, using various physiological and behavioural proxy measures of anxiety. Most behavioural outcome measures associated with a positive effect were subjective assessments, with unblinded assessors. Subjectively, many of the owners believed that pressure vests had a positive effect on their dogs’ anxiety levels.
The take home message for the veterinary professional is that pressure vests may have small but beneficial effects on canine anxiety and that habituating the dog to the vest, assessing for comfort and using repeatedly may improve the likelihood of any benefit. However, the owner should be cautioned that they should not expect their dog’s anxiety to be fully alleviated or prevented, and it may have no beneficial effect at all.