A Guide to Making an Easy Dog Sweater


When the weather changes, you might worry about the cold getting to your dog. Especially true of shorter-haired dogs, dogs are just as likely to get hypothermia or frostbite. There’s a way to help protect your furry friend so you can enjoy cold-weather adventures: dog sweaters. Both fashionable and fun, these can add a layer of insulation for your pup. Can you make one easily?

Yes, you can make your dog a sweater from the comfort of your home. There are even no-sew methods that allow you to create a great sweater for your pup from old clothing you have lying around. If you have doubles, you can make a matching sweater for your pup that will fit your style and keep your dog warm!

While you could shop online, the pet clothing market can get quite pricey quickly, especially if you are looking for something to protect your dog from winter chills. However, if you are a little crafty, you can create a simple dog sweater for your buddy. This guide will help you make a quality yet easy-to-fashion dog sweater!

How to Make a No-Sew Dog Sweater out of Old Clothing

Have an old sweater lying around? Missing one sock? It may surprise you to learn that these items can be reutilized to create a snug sweater for your furry friends. You don’t need to throw out the old clothes, just repurpose them! What articles of clothing can you use in your home to craft a new sweater for your dog?

  • A sock
  • An old sweater
  • Old pair of sweat pants

How do you choose which item to use for your crafting? Luckily there is a simple way to determine which may be the best option for you: Your dog’s size! As this craft requires no sewing, simply sizing up your pup will help you determine if you should cut from pants, sweater sleeves, or a sock. 

If you make a dog a sweater out of old or unused clothing, you can guarantee that your dog is indeed staying warm. Sometimes with pet clothing you buy online, you find that they are cute but are more for fashion. While being fashionable isn’t bad, this can mean thin cloth that has little effect on your dog’s predicament.

Using clothing you know has kept you warm can let you rest easy knowing your pet will also be warm. After all, the whole reason you had these clothes in the first place was to protect yourself from the cold. Giving them new life as your dog’s second skin will ensure they stay safe and you get the most of your money out of old clothing!

What Equipment Will I Need?

Once you select your fabric, you’re nearly ready to get started. As with any project, here are a few tools you will need to accomplish your dog sweater craft. Luckily there is no sewing required to create this dog sweater, so you can leave your sewing kit where it is and just snag these key items: 

  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Fabric Pen or Pencil
  • Paper for Pattern (optional)
  • Pins (optional)

While optional, having a pattern can make it easier to cut the sweater to fit your dog’s form from the start. If you have a dog that is new to wearing clothing or is energetic, it may be easier to forgo this step. Similarly, if you have a flat surface to work on, pins may be unnecessary, but if you do not, a pin can be a great way to prevent material from shifting too much.

What if you don’t have a measuring tape? Let’s be real: not all of us have an emergency sewing kit with a measuring tape around. Luckily, any flexible cordage can be used as a measuring tape. You can simply mark off the lengths using a marker or pen. Then you can easily transfer on to the fabric. You can also use the same marker instead of a fabric pencil if not available. 

Let’s Make a Sweater!

Now that you’ve got a plan in mind, you’re ready to dive in. Up next, we’ll go over all the steps you need to make an easy dog sweater. 

Choose Your Materials

Choosing your material may be the hardest choice. After all, you are selecting from your old wardrobe. When choosing, consider the size of your dog. If you have a small dog, such as a chihuahua or a Yorkie, a sock will be a suitable choice to give them a snug fit. 

For large dogs, sweatpants may be better to choose from. Anything in between, you can consider a sweater sleeve! Once you have decided, find a flat space to work and lay your material out. You do not want to fold any more than necessary, which is to just get the fabric laying as flat as possible on the surface. 

At this time, if you are using pins to secure the fabric, you can go ahead and make sure they are handy for when it’s time to mark out measurements. Depending on the surface, the fabric can move and change underneath pressure. Using pins to secure the fabric together can prevent any strange cutting situations later on. 

Size Up Your Pup

While you did a quick glance at your dog to choose your material, once it is chosen, it’s time to break out the measuring tape. To accomplish this project, you will want to take measurements around your dog’s waist, neck, length, and front legs. If you can keep your dog relaxed for a few minutes, this can be easy!

However, what if you have a dog that is less than interested in standing still? You have a few options. First, play with your dog! Take them to the park and let them run. Whatever it takes to wear down their batteries, letting them work off their energy can allow them to be more relaxed later. This will give you time to take the measurements.

If working off the energy does not seem to work, try a distraction. Getting a chew or a treat toy can keep your dog’s attention away from you taking measurements. A great solution is a peanut butter mat that will keep your dog either standing or laying for hours as they try and get all the tasty peanut butter!

Once you can, make sure you write them down. The last thing you want is to have to take them again later! Use this information to create a pattern or to later cut out space for your dog. 

Make Your Measurements Work

Using the fabric pencil or marker, take the measurements and convert them into guidelines. Using the length, measure down from the end of the sweater, pants, or sock. Draw a line at the end of the measurement to act as your guide of where to cut when you start snipping away. Take the time to also mark out the holes for the legs. 

At this time, you may consider whether or not to keep the elastic or tighter end of the sleeve. This is where the neck measurements come in. You want to make sure nothing will restrict your dog’s movement or ability to breathe. If it looks like it will be too tight for your dog, cutting it will be the best. 

Once the guidelines are done, take scissors in hand and begin snipping away! Remember that right now, your cuts do not have to be perfect. This is to cut out the rough shape and get a handle on how it will look on your pup. Make sure to cut out the armholes before you call it done!

Try It on and Adjust As Necessary

Before everything is all said and done, make sure to try it on your dog. You want to see how it’s lying on them and if they are able to move freely. They should be able to do everything they can normally do, such as walking, running, playing, and even using the restroom. Take them around the block to see how they move. 

Take note of any issues that your dog may relay to you, such as if the collar is too tight or if it’s in the way of them handling their business. Once you get back, make adjustments as necessary to get the perfect fit for your doggo. If there is an issue with a cut, remember you have a second sleeve to work with!

How Should a Sweater Fit a Dog?

For a happy dog, you must make sure that their sweater fits them correctly. With collars, it’s easy to make sure it fits correctly. You make sure there is enough space for fingers to fit and wiggle under their collar. With a sweater, it is a little trickier to check the fit because it’s more flexible. 

A good quality sweater should lie flat on your dog’s back. It should be from the neck to the beginning of your dog’s tail. Check the neck to make sure that it doesn’t sit too tight on the neck. You want to make sure your dog can breathe easily as they run around and that it doesn’t choke them up when they are moving.

Next, check the same with the leg holes. Some sweaters can lie lower on the leg and can restrict upward or backward movement. Your dog might power through this at first, but it can hamper their ability to play, have fun and get around at all. This can lead to one miserable doggo. 

Finally, you want to make sure it’s not going to interfere with their ability to do their business. While no one likes talking about it, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is a sweater gunked in number one and number two. Make sure the top of the sweater only extends to the top of their tail, and the bottom ends around their rib cage to mid stomach.

What If My Dog Is Too Big for This Method?

Just like love, dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Just because your dog is extra-large, that doesn’t mean you can’t make them a wonderful sweater too! As a larger-sized dog, they naturally need more fabric to work with. So, what can you use to try to make them a nice sweater that will keep them cozy?

Instead of using just the sleeve of a sweater, you can use the larger portion. Better yet, use an old hoodie. Snip off the sleeves and cut a little of the front bottom away to create a super cute large dog sweater. If you need to take in the sweater but cannot sew, use a hot glue gun to tack it up.

Can I Leave My Dog in a Sweater at All Times?

Once your furry friend is all snug and cozy in their new sweater, it might break your heart to have to take it off of them once you’re back inside. However, it could be a bit of a hazard if you leave them in a sweater all day without adult supervision. What sort of shenanigans can having a sweater on possibly cause?

Depending on the material, you could experience a number of potential issues from leaving your dog in a sweater unattended. Crochet style sweaters can become unraveled if your pup fusses enough. While on its own, this isn’t the end of the world, your pup could become tangled up in its remains, leading to tricky situations. 

Some dogs, no matter how comfy the clothes are, just are not a fan of clothes. They might try to get out by tearing it off once they are done with it. This can lead to bits of the sweater going into their digestive system. Foreign objects can lead to intestine blockages, difficulty using the restroom, and in extreme cases, even the need to remove the pieces via the vet. 

The worst thing of all is that wearing a sweater indoors to keep cozy constantly can have the opposite intended effect! Remember, sweaters are to be used as a second layer of protection against the cold. Indoors, where it’s warm, wearing a sweater can lead to your dog overheating and needing to see a doctor. 

Do Dog Sweaters Really Work?

After all this hard work, it would be terrible to find out a dog sweater doesn’t work. Thankfully, in most cases, it does indeed work for dogs. Some dogs are lucky enough to be born with a thick enough coat and fur padding on their feet to withstand the cold, such as huskies. However, some dogs with lighter, thinner fur may need additional support.

The real question is whether or not your dog really needs a sweater or if they can handle the cold just fine. Of course, certain observational factors are at play, such as the extent of their fur and their reaction to being outside during the cooler months. What else can you do to determine if your dog needs a sweater?

Doing a bit of research on your particular dog breed and its origins can help you identify their needs. Some dogs that hail from colder environs, such as Saint Bernard, Huskies, Keeshonds, and Malamutes, have genetics specifically allowing them to deal and work in cold weather conditions. This means they are happy as a clam when it’s chilly!

If your dog’s history leads you to an environment decidedly lacking in cold temperatures, then a sweater or even a jacket might be needed to help them out. Depending on where you are, you can determine which may be the best bet and if the weather gets cold enough to warrant additional clothing. 

Are Sweaters Good for Dogs?

Sweaters can be a great way to help your doggo keep comfortable in the cold. Not all dogs can deal with lower temperatures, so gifting them a cute sweater can help protect them while giving others a cute spectacle to ogle. You don’t need to buy an expensive sweater online: Luckily, with our guide, you can make a DIY dog sweater from old clothing yourself!

Getting the sweater to fit your dog well is essential. You don’t want a sweater to restrict their movement or keep them from being able to use the restroom. Check the sweater on your doggo to make sure it is snug but not tight and will not interfere with any of their business they need to handle while out.

While it is precious to see your pooch in a cute sweater you made just for them, it is inadvisable to leave them in the sweater at all times of the day. The danger of overheating or possible ingestion from them trying to escape can lead to the need for a vet to help your pup get back to feeling their best. These are for outdoor use only!

Final Thoughts

DIYing a sweater for your doggo can give you the warm fuzzies as they prance around outside, comfy, cozy, and smiling. With this simple guide and some old, unused clothing, you can have your dog looking and feeling fabulous without a hefty price tag. Keep your pup warm this winter on any adventure you take them!

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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this Blog article are not intended to amount to advice, and you should not rely on any of the contents of this Blog article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this Blog article. VesteForPets.com disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this Blog article.

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