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Best Dog Sweaters to Prevent Shivers and Whimpers

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Ahh, autumn. The gorgeous display of changing leaves spread out over the horizon. Frost creeping over the ground, leaving a sparkling blanket on everything. And the chilly hint of the crisp temperatures looming in the future. It’s the perfect time to engage in outdoor activities – provided you dress appropriately for the nippy weather. We don’t think twice about grabbing our favorite jackets and hoodies. But what about our dogs? In chilly weather, some pups need the help of the best dog sweaters to stay toasty.

Prone to Pupsicle

Some dog breeds thrive in the cold. With double coats or origins in regions known for ice and snow, you’ll find dogs that bound into leaf piles without a second thought. Saint Bernards, Great Pyrenees, and any of the Huskies would bolt if you approached with a dog sweater. And within minutes, they’d be panting from excess heat. There’s no reason for that extra layer of warmth.

Other breeds, however, come running when you hold up their favorite fleece blanket. They don’t have the advantage of an insulating undercoat. Or they may have a thinner frame, allowing autumn and winter winds to cut straight through them. As temperatures drop, they turn into heat-seeking missiles. Some of these breeds include:

For these pups, the best dog sweaters turn into their best friends. 

Cold Dangers

No one likes getting chilled. However, the cold can prove dangerous to dogs that lack a thick hair coat’s natural protection. Worse, as our pups start to age, they lose their ability to regulate their internal temperature. So as the mercury in the thermometer drops, the risks of hypothermia creep up.

If you’re not sure whether or not your dog needs an extra layer of protection in the chill, keep an eye out for these warning signs:

  • Shivering
  • Rapid breathing (worse than their usual panting)
  • Frequent urination
  • Piloerection, or hair standing on end
  • Ears and paws feeling cold to the touch

All of these symptoms reflect the body’s attempt to keep the vital organs warm. They’re also the first signs of hypothermia. If your dog’s internal temperature continues to drop, serious complications could occur.

But if you add a dog sweater? The extra warmth prevents the body from having to work so hard.

Choosing a Dog Sweater

Dog sweaters come in every form – from cute to functional. And, depending on how much hair your dog has, you can decide what you need. For most owners, they want a thick layer of warmth to keep their pup warm as temperatures dip into the cooler degrees. As you start searching for the best dog sweater, make sure you keep a few key things in mind:

  • Material: Dog sweaters come in a range of fabrics. Wool’s the warmest fabric out there, but you have to hand wash it, and it’s often itchy. Cotton’s easy to wash, but it’s not warm. You’ll need to decide which is the most important.
  • Accessibility: If you and your dog need to play Twister to get the sweater on and off, odds are you’ll never use it. Make sure it’s easy to get your kiddo dressed. And look for that critical leash attachment.
  • Size: Every dog clothing company uses its own size chart. Many utilize a weight or breed guideline, but they’re not the most accurate. You’ll want to go through ALL of the measurements for your dog to find the proper size.
  • Safety: Little pom poms or buttons make dog sweaters look adorable. If you have a pup prone to chewing, though, you should skip those accessories. The last thing you want to happen is a foreign body. You also want to make sure the sweater doesn’t obscure important “bathroom areas.”

Measuring for a Dog Sweater

Trying to determine sizes for dog clothing often gets tricky. No two companies work the same. Sizes can run small or large. And when it comes to the best dog sweaters, you want a fit that’s snug enough to keep your pup warm without getting so tight your dog can’t move. As with a dog harness, you should be able to slide two fingers between the neck and armholes.

To get a proper fit, you need to take careful measurements. And just like you would when cutting something for a project, you should measure twice before placing an order (especially on wiggly, excited puppies). You need to check ALL of the following measurements for an accurate dog sweater order:

  • Around the neck
  • The width of the chest
  • Body length (chest to hind end)
  • Around the waist
  • From the top of the shoulder to the paw
  • Around the thickest part of the arm

If you’re ever uncertain about the size, look at the company’s return policy. With luck, you can order two and return the incorrect size.

Caring for Dog Sweaters

As your dog runs around in their fabulous dog sweater, it’s going to get dirty. Autumn and winter aren’t the most pristine of seasons. As dirt, skin oils, and food collect on the material, you’ll need to face washing the sweater. If you don’t, you can cause skin irritation to your kiddo. (Not to mention the smell. Pew!)

Look at the instructions particular to your dog sweater. If you went with wool, you’re stuck with hand washing. Wool blends and other materials may allow for machine washing. If you DO use a machine, turn the sweater inside out. And ALWAYS use the delicate setting. You’ll keep the dog sweater lasting longer that way.

No matter how you wash a dog sweater, they always do better hung up to air-dry. It takes longer, but it’ll prevent unintended shrinking. (After you worked so hard to get a perfect size, you don’t want to scramble to get a new one)

And, unhappily, sweaters snag. If your dog loves running through brambles or rolling on the ground, the stitches may start unraveling. You can consider repairing the damage yourself if you have the knack, or you can opt for a sturdier winter dog coat.

The Best Dog Sweaters

Nippy temperatures don’t have to banish your dog to indoor games of fetch. With the best dog sweater, they’ll look fantastic and stay warm at the same time. It’s the perfect compromise for those breeds with thin hair coats and minimal body fat. Or maybe your older pup needs a little extra warmth in their golden years. Who knows – maybe you’ll even find one to match YOUR favorite sweater!

BINGPET knows you want a little cuteness with your dog sweater. You can choose from a leather paw print or bone design on the back of their cream and brown acrylic sweater – just the right amount of embellishment. You have seven sizes to choose from, and they recommend you go up in case your dog’s legs are larger (or if you find they fall between sizes). 

Downsides? The position of the armholes is a little strange, making walking awkward for some dogs. And the acrylic WILL stretch. You may be able to shrink it back down in the wash (put it in the dryer), but make sure you’re prepared.

The Good

The Bad

Do you want a simple dog sweater? Blueberry Pet has the answer in the form of their Classic Knit Pullover. The wool and yarn blend promises plenty of warmth without weighing your dog down. You get the expected cable-knit pattern in a staggering THIRTEEN colors! And with the addition of the acrylic yarn, you don’t have to worry about hand washing this attractive sweater. The sizes range from 10 inches up to 22 inches, so take your measurements carefully.

The downsides? Unhappily, large and giant dogs miss out on this sweater. People also struggled a bit with getting the sweater on, even with the crewneck opening.

The Good

The Bad

Sometimes you want to give your dog a little more luxury. Blueberry offers that with their Chenille Striped Dog Sweater. The turtleneck design protects your pup up to their furry face, while the soft polyester material feels super luxe. Meanwhile, you catch a break with machine-washability! You can choose from six different color options in seven different sizes. (The lengths range from 10 inches up to 22 inches – pretty standard for Blueberry Pet)

So what are the downsides? Again, the bigger dogs miss out on this one. And polyester isn’t the most durable fabric. Make sure you stay on top of the care so it’ll last. (And skip it if you’re dog’s wild outside)

The Good

The Bad

CHBORCHICEN offers a cute, classic dog sweater. You can choose from strawberries or hearts for the pattern on this woolen blend. A turtleneck design assures your dog stays warm, even as temperatures drop. You have four colors to choose from between the two patterns, too, all vibrant in hue. And the sizes range from XS to large.

Downsides? While there’s a large size, this dog sweater’s intended for the small breed sect. And even then, the sizing runs small. Make sure you look over their sizing chart carefully (and then go up on what you think you need).

The Good

The Bad

Maybe you want the warmest option possible. Chilly Dog understands. With 100% wool, their dog sweaters come hand-knit by Quechuan Indians, dyed with organic plant dyes. They meet all fair-trade guidelines (so you can make your purchase without hesitation). You can choose from EIGHT different sizes – one of the few options out there to include the big guys!

The downsides? You only get one color option (if that’s a big deal for you). And the wool can end up scratchy for some dogs.

The Good

The Bad

Fitwarm goes the extra distance by adding a hood to their dog sweater. The hood and the armholes’ trim feature a velvety fabric that’s soft on your dog’s skin. The plush knitted material remains breathable and stretchy – with the bonus of machine washability. And who doesn’t look stylish in stripes? You can choose from six sizes, from XS to XXL.

So what are the downsides? Unhappily, those sizes are all intended for small dogs. And, again, sizing runs small. And while the outer fabric feels soft to the touch, the inner lining is scratchy and may irritate your dog’s skin. Consider throwing on a t-shirt for protection.

The Good

The Bad

What about the large and giant dogs in your life? Idepet thought of them and wanted to make sure they stayed warm in the cooler seasons. With SIX sizes, going all the way up to 2XL, you’re larger-than-life pup will get to stay stylish AND warm. The cotton material’s also breathable and washable, so you won’t spend hours scrubbing the dog sweater in the sink! Six bright colors help your pup stand out against the fall and winter backdrops.

Downsides? Cotton tends to shrink, so mind your washing settings. And while you CAN put it in the dryer, air-drying is your better option. You also need to read the sizing chart carefully. Many people complained about things running too small, but the company refers you to the chart in their description.

The Good

The Bad

For the lovely canine ladies out there, you may want to consider kyeese. They add a ruffly skirt onto their turtleneck dog sweater for that feminine touch! The turtleneck and snowflake pattern adds a classic element that works any time of the year (they could be flowers or stars, after all). You can choose from navy blue or grey, and the acrylic material’s a snap to wash. And with size options between XS to XXL, most dogs will look fantastic.

Downsides? For once, the medium dogs win here. Unhappily, small and large dogs miss out on this trendy dog sweater. Also, it stretches a bit, so be careful with your care.

The Good

The Bad

Nothing says autumn quite like plaid, right? Pawz Road agrees. Their dog sweater features a cheerful plaid exterior, complete with a drawstring hood and a polyester lining to help keep your dog warm in the chill. Four beautiful plaid colors give you plenty of options, and they help the adorable pocket on the back stand out. (Okay, it’s not practical, but every hoodie needs a pocket) There are seven sizes, including just about every breed. And washing? Not a problem!

The downsides? Unlike most dog sweaters, Pawz Road features button closures. It may make it easier to get on and off, but it can also present a temptation to chewers. The same for the drawstrings on the hood. Keep a close eye on your dog. And while warm, the polyester lining isn’t the softest, particularly for dogs with thin hair.

The Good

The Bad

Stinky G may not have the best name, but their dog sweaters are still adorable. The colorful polka dots work for any dog, and you can choose from three different options. The soft acrylic material won’t irritate your dog’s skin, and it’s easy enough to throw in the washing machine. You have six sizes to choose from, ranging in back length from 10 inches to 32 inches. And if you want, you can roll the sleeves up or down for extra coverage!

So what are the downsides? This is another dog sweater intended for the smaller set. The extra material on the sleeves may also make for a bit of a struggle when dressing/undressing your kiddo. Sizes run small, and, unhappily, there isn’t a size chart to work from. Assume you’ll need to go up.

The Good

The Bad

Sweater Weather

Nothing says autumn quite like falling leaves and the perfect cozy sweater. You can take in the frost while staying toasty. And with the best dog sweater, your faithful canine companion can join in on the fun. It’s amazing what a little warmth can do to brighten your pup’s step. Not to mention protecting them from the harmful effects of the cold.

So don those matching sweaters and head out to the apple orchard. Everyone’s sure to admire you!

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria grew up in a pet-friendly household. On weekends, the family made trips to zoos and aquariums in the area. So it wasn’t a surprise when she gravitated toward a career with animals.

After six years working among the background operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, she gained a unique insight into the veterinary world. The vet staff provided her first lessons in terminology, the identification of medical equipment, and glimpses of radiographs (x-rays). She also enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk with everyone, including the veterinary technicians. And they offered an alternative for someone NOT interested in surgical pathways: Namely, their course of study.

Andria enrolled at Harcum College. Philadelphia boasts two programs for vet techs, but only Harcum works with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania’s small and large animal facilities, respectively). Harcum’s vet tech students receive six months of hands-on teaching and experience alongside Penn’s vet students.

With the opportunities and connections available with one of the top veterinary schools, the decision was easy for her to make.

New Bolton Center: Large Animal Medicine
Andria ended up trudging through snow up to the knee and shivering in subzero temperatures during her winter semester, but she wasn’t disappointed with her choice. New Bolton provided a thorough grounding in large animal medicine. A horse-lover as a child, the experience renewed those old emotions.

And a few memories stood out and remained to this day:

  • Standing alongside a Clydesdale and feeling TINY
  • Holding the reins of a horse galloping at top speed on a treadmill
  • Nursing tiny foals through the first days of their life

Ryan Veterinary Hospital: Small Animal Medicine
Veterinary students can legally work at a practice while studying. Andria took advantage of the opportunity, gaining “real life” experience while attending class. It provided a slight advantage when she entered her three months at the small animal hospital.

However, as Ryan Veterinary Hospital offers treatments unique to the veterinary community, she continued to gain valuable experience. For instance, she spent a day working alongside their Chemo Team. The positivity of everyone she encountered – staff, clients, and patients alike – left a lasting impression.

Additional standout moments included:

  • An afternoon spent with the head of the feline kidney transplant program
  • A day serving as the anesthesia technician in their new radiation unit
  • Recognizing a radiograph of a giant elephant shrew (applying her previous zoo knowledge)

Emergency/ICU Veterinary Technician
Accompanying her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, Andria received a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The two led to her certification/license as a veterinary technician – first in Pennsylvania (CVT) and later in Virginia (LVT).

Emergency medicine appealed to her from the beginning. The flux of ailments, injuries, and even species kept her mind sharp at all times. The knowledge required to handle cats, dogs, exotics, and even wildlife is highest in an ICU setting. When a vet tech never knows the patient’s stability coming back to the treatment area, skills and the ability to respond in an instant always stay in peak shape.

With treatments evolving at a constant basis, Andria sought out the best Continuing Education opportunities. She attended the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) Conference whenever possible. This allowed her to discuss the latest wound treatments, medications, and advancements in diet formulations.

Cardiology Veterinary Technician
With the increased knowledge and experience, Andria noticed gaps in her abilities. Her grasp of cardiology remained at the basic level. She wanted to boost her skills and understanding as much as possible, improving her patient care. When an opportunity within the practice arose to move into the cardiology department, she accepted.

She sharpened her ability to read ECGs, recognizing arrhythmias of every type. Speaking with the cardiologist, she learned to read echocardiograms, picking out the most common disease processes. And, courtesy of her position in the department, she took in everything she could regarding the grain-free diet concern.

And throughout her ten-year career, she built her store of client interactions. She learned stories of heartbreak and hope. In the middle of the night, she shared touching and humorous conversations. Every moment taught her to engage with people. And the skill blended into her writing ability, capturing the interest of pet-lovers everywhere.

Check out Andria’s LinkedIn here

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