3 Reasons Your Dog Does Not Like Sweaters


Dog sweaters aren’t always just cute accessories. Sometimes, they are necessary for keeping a short-haired dog comfortable during extremely low temperatures. However, while it might be for your dog’s safety, sometimes they just refuse. What’s causing the refusal? How come your dog won’t do what’s best for them?

What is more important than why they won’t wear it right off the bat is how to get them to wear it in the future. Remember – it’s all about safety and comfort when it comes to doggy sweaters. Keep reading to find out the top three reasons your dog does not like sweaters and how you can successfully get them to wear them.

They’re Stubborn

Some people call their dog their “furry child.” Well, that isn’t just a silly (and quite true) nickname. Sometimes, dogs can be just as reluctant and stubborn as a 2-year-old human. 

Let’s face it – some dogs are just more stubborn than others. So, when you’re trying to introduce something “new” to their routine, like a sweater, they will answer with a resounding no

It’s pretty simple. The sweater is something your dog is not used to, and your dog doesn’t plan on changing its opinion about it.

It’s Uncomfortable

Have you ever bought a sweater that was too small? It’s not the most comfortable thing. Too-small sweaters cause discomfort in all areas of the body while conjointly restricting movement. 

Now, does that sound like something your active dog wants to struggle with? When it comes to a dog’s discomfort regarding sweaters, you have to go beyond immobility (which is a definite cause of discomfort for your pooch).

You also have to consider that the sweater may be too tight around its neck or chest. With this type of tightness, your dog may suffer from not being able to breathe properly. Obviously, this is not only uncomfortable but scary, too.

They’re Too Hot

The last reason why your dog might not like the sweater is that they are simply too hot. Larger dogs that have thick coats will not appreciate the sweater, even though your intentions are good. 

Think of the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute. Both of these large-sized dogs have ample amounts of fur. The thick coat was specifically designed to keep them warm in their home territories. So, they are technically “designed” to handle extreme temperatures without any accessories.

If you try to place a sweater on a thick-furred dog, they may reject it because it is too hot. In this type of circumstance, you should stop trying to put the sweater on the dog altogether. There is no need for it, and you’ll be stressing your dog out. In fact, too much additional heat from the sweater layer can lead to overheating.

(This Dogs Life, Quora, PetMD

Is a Dog Sweater Necessary?

Thick-haired dogs, like the Great Pyrenees and Chow Chow, do not need to wear a sweater. Their thick fur is more than enough to keep them safe and sound, even when the temperatures dip to very low numbers.

That said, it may lead some dog owners to ponder, “Is there ever a right time to put a dog in a sweater?” The answer is yes. And no, it doesn’t just make your dog look “cute.” It is not all about dress-up, so don’t be afraid to put your dog in a sweater if they need it.

But which dogs need a sweater? 

Dogs That Benefit From Sweaters

Needless to say, not every dog needs a sweater. But some do. Here is a checklist to consider before buying a sweater for your furry friend.

Small-Sized Dogs

Small dogs simply do not have the body mass to retain heat as efficiently as larger-sized dogs. This is especially true for small, toy, and miniature breeds that have short hair. Some of the most common small dogs that should wear sweaters out in the cold include:

  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Beagle
  • Boston Terrier
  • Chihuahua
  • Chinese Crested
  • Dachshund

Short Dogs

It is also important to mention short dogs with bellies that sit low to the ground. During the winter season, the belly skin will drag against snow and ice. This can cause the dog to be excessively chilled, even if they have a thicker coat. Some of these low-bellied hounds include:

  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Basset Hound
  • Skye Terrier
  • Sussex Spaniel

Lean Short-Haired Dogs

It is a common myth that large dogs never need to wear a sweater. This is true for a lot of breeds, as plenty of them come with a thick coat. This is because their thick coat was necessary to perform their jobs, no matter what the weather was like outside.

However, that doesn’t mean that all large dogs are fine out in the cold. Lean dogs with shorter coats can get just as cold as a small canine. Once again, this is all because they do not have the mass or coat to keep them warm. 

Some of these larger breeds that will enjoy a sweater include:

  • Great Dane
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Pharaoh Hound
  • Bluetick Coonhound
  • Whippet

Elderly Dogs

Senior dogs have a more challenging time being able to retain heat. Being unable to stay warm can negatively impact certain medical conditions. For example, aches and pains from arthritis can worsen when presented with chilly weather. The best thing to do for your elderly dog is to keep it cozy and happy in a sweater, especially if it has any illnesses or conditions.

(AKC, Pets Best, Dogster)

How Do I Get My Dog to Wear a Sweater?

Now we know what dogs should wear a sweater and why they might reject the sweater altogether. Well, if you have a dog in one of the categories mentioned above and it is refusing to wear the sweater, what can you do? Don’t panic – there are options.

The first thing to mention, though, is that sweaters should never be forced. If your dog strikes a “frozen” pose when trying to get the jacket on, it’s best to stop and look for other solutions. The same is true if you notice your dog becoming extremely restless and stressed out from the sweater. In the end, there are different ways to stay warm without risking their happiness.

Start When They’re Young

The absolute best thing you can do is put the sweater on your pooch when it is young. Just like other types of things, like potty training and obedience training, it’s much easier for your dog to adapt at a young age. When your dog becomes accustomed to the sweater, it won’t mind it when it’s older.

Train Them

Doggy sweater training? Absolutely. Just like you can train your dog to do an immense amount of other things, you can teach them to wear a sweater. Here’s how.

  • Introduce the sweater on the floor and let them sniff it out.
  • Offer treats around the sweater and praise them for being near it.
  • Move the sweater around. Each time the dog follows and shows interest, shower them with praise and treats.
  • When they seem relaxed and interested, try placing the sweater on them – but layer it on, don’t try to put it on them entirely.
  • If they are good with the sweater on them, provide more treats.
  • Continue to place the sweater on piece by piece until the dog is entirely comfortable with wearing it.

Tip: Make sure you have measured your dog properly and have found the right size. Otherwise, they may refuse the sweater because it is simply too small and uncomfortable.

(Pets. The Nest, Dog Training Nation)

Final Thoughts

Dog sweaters aren’t just to up the cuteness factor; sometimes, they are essential for your dog’s health and wellbeing during chilly months. If your dog is rejected the sweater, they are likely not used to it or are uncomfortable with a too-tight sweater. The best thing to do is to make sure you find the right size and train your dog to enjoy it.

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