TL;DR: Are anxiety vests effective for dogs? What else can I do to make my dogs anxiety go away?
I have a nearly 12 year old male Boston Terrier. The dog is my girlfriend's. Shes had him for almost 8 years. According to her, his previous owner had to leave him at an adoption center for personal reasons (twice!), before giving him to my girlfriend. I believe that because of this, and since she has owned him for 8 years now, he has grown very attached to her.
Whenever she goes to work and I am home with the dog, he shivers constantly. He will not play with toys, he usually refuses to eat and drink water (sometimes he will), and just looks unhappy. I'm fairly confident that he is experiencing some form of separation anxiety. As soon as my girlfriend comes home, he races to see her and will either grab a toy to play with or scarf down his food and water that have been in his bowl all day.
The only methods I've found to control his shivering are laying on the couch with him, or putting him in his cage where he usually falls asleep. I don't like having to put him away in his cage since I am home (we only like to use the cage when we aren't home or are sleeping), and I don't want to sit on the couch all day. I was wondering, how effective are those anxiety vest that they make for dogs? Are they a gimmick or do they really work? I find it hard to believe that wearing a piece of clothing can sooth a dogs anxiety.
I should also note, he has the same behavior during a thunderstorm, or around the 4th of July with all the fireworks. Would the vest be effective for this as well?