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Best Dog Sweaters to Prevent Shivers and Whimpers

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When the autumn leaves start falling and frost creeps over the ground, you know it's sweater weather. Nothing beats snuggling into your favorite warm weather garment to enjoy the brisk chill. And for certain dogs who lack an insulating fluffy coat of their own, the same holds true. If your pup's been shivering in the chill, you'll want to reach for one of the best dog sweaters to keep them snuggly warm.

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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 your 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:

  • Chihuahuas
  • Dalmatians
  • French Bulldogs
  • Greyhounds
  • Salukis

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 their 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 a 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 the 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 the 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 trim of the hood and the armholes both 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 SEVEN sizes, going all the way up to 9XL, 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! Four bright colors help the creative logo stand out.

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. And while cute, the logo peels off fairly easily. If that means a lot to you, it could be a downside.

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 add a classic element that work 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 Kennedy worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician for 10 years, focusing on Emergency/ICU and later Cardiology, as well as volunteering at both the Philadelphia Zoo and Virginia Living Museum for over six years. She's now a freelance writer, but she gravitates toward writing projects with a focus on animals (once an animal-lover, always an animal-lover). She lives in Virginia with her husband, three cats (one "works" as her personal assistant), and a Greyhound who thinks she's a big cat — all of them rescues.

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