Best Dog Sweaters

Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for Best dog sweaters

If you're hanging out at home and start to feel cold, the first thing you probably reach for is a sweater. What about when your dog feels cold? A dog sweater can provide an extra layer for your canine companion, so they feel comfortable when the temperature drops.

Depending on your dog's needs, they might wear a sweater indoors or outdoors. The trick is to find the perfect sweater for your dog. You'll need to decide what type of sweater you want: you can find everything from a classic knit sweater to a contemporary hoodie. It’s also important to get the size right. This can be delicate, especially if you have a large dog; many canine sweaters only come in smaller sizes. In addition to being functional, dog sweaters are meant to look cute, so pay attention to color, print, and design.

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Small dogs tend to get cold more easily than large dogs because their body heat dissipates quicker. As such, small dogs are more likely to need sweaters.

Key considerations

Sweater type

All types and styles of dog sweater will do the job if you just want to keep your dog warm, but you might prefer a particular style or have certain requirements for your canine companion. In that case, a closer examination is required.

Hoodie: Dog hoodies are soft and cozy, and the hood extends up the neck a little for added warmth. They usually have a comfortable degree of stretch that makes getting them on your dog a little easier. Some have zippers or Velcro, which is better for nervous dogs and older dogs with stiff joints.

Knit sweater: Knit sweaters are cute and classic. They feel warm but are still breathable, as the knit fabric naturally has holes in it. You can find some cable knit sweaters and options with patterns as well. 

Fleece: Synthetic fleece is an extremely warm option. It feels super soft and is unlikely to rub or chafe. Fleece tends to be quite stretchy, so it’s easy to pull on and take off your canine companion.

Christmas sweater: Christmas dog sweaters deserve their own category since many pet parents like to dress their dogs up for the holidays.

Size

Sizing isn't always as it seems when it comes to dog sweaters. Some brands provide a wide range of sizes to fit dogs from Chihuahuas to Irish wolfhounds, but it's fairly common for dog sweaters to only fit small dogs. Even sweaters designed only for small dogs tend to follow an XS to XL sizing pattern. Therefore, while you might expect an XL sweater to fit a dog the size of a large mastiff, in some brands, it will only fit a French bulldog.

It's vital to check the sizing chart and measure your dog to find a sweater that fits just right. Generally, you'll need to measure your dog around the chest and along the back, from the base of the neck to the base of the tail.

Comfort

Dog sweaters should be comfortable for dogs to wear for long periods. The most comfortable canine sweaters are free from zippers, buckles, and other hardware that could dig when your dog lies down. They should be made from soft materials and be neither too tight nor too loose.

Even if it’s extraordinarily comfortable, we wouldn't recommend your dog wear their sweater 24/7 because it could rub or get itchy if worn all day. Some dogs do wear their sweaters at night to keep warm or while their human is at work and unable to cover them with a blanket if they get cold.

We recommend starting off with 30-minute wearing periods with someone at home to supervise. If the sweater is uncomfortable, your dog will probably let you know, but you should also watch for areas where the sweater rubs or digs into the fur. In particular, check under the front legs for marks after you remove the sweater.

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Did You Know?
Some dog sweaters have hoods. Although mostly for decoration, a hood can help keep the rain off your dog's neck and head if you get caught in a storm.
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Features

Colors and prints

Yes, dog sweaters are warm and functional, but they also look adorable, so it's natural to want to pick colors and prints that look great on your dog. If you prefer an understated option, go for a solid color — you can find practically any color of the rainbow. Alternatively, you can choose from a range of prints including polka dots, stripes, hearts, stars, and plaid.

Materials

Dog hoodies are usually made from polyester, cotton, or a cotton-poly blend. Fleece sweaters are made from synthetic polyester fleece. Knitted sweaters can be made from wool but are more often made from acrylic yarn.

Harness compatibility

Some dog sweaters have D-rings on the back to be used in lieu of a harness. This is generally only suitable for smaller dogs, however, as the sweater material could tear at the point where the D-ring is stitched to it if the dog pulls on the leash too hard.

You can also find a handful of options with small slits in the top to pull a leash through if your dog is wearing the sweater over a harness. For the most part, however, dog sweaters can be worn underneath a harness.

Some manufacturers make matching dog and human sweaters. If you want to be twinsies, it’s possible!

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Dog sweater prices

Inexpensive: Some inexpensive dog sweaters cost as little as $10 to $15. These are usually in small sizes and aren't especially durable.

Mid-priced: For $15 to $30, you can find a variety of dog sweaters in most sizes and a range of styles, including hoodies, knit sweaters, and fleeces.

Expensive: The most expensive dog sweaters cost between $30 and $50. These tend to come in large sizes and are made from quality materials.

Dyk2
Did You Know?
The material of a dog sweater needs to have some degree of stretch to make it easier to put on and take off.
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Tips

  • Choose a sweater that you can easily get on and off your dog. Often, a sweater must be pulled over the dog’s head and both front paws lifted through the leg holes. Not all dogs appreciate that.
  • Note that some dog sweaters are warmer than others. It’s important to decide whether your canine companion needs just a light sweater or something more substantial.
  • Consider the durability of any sweater you get your dog. It should be able to withstand a reasonable amount of wear and tear on walks, during play sessions, and so on.
  • Check the return policy. If your dog has never worn a sweater before and you're unsure whether they'd like wearing one, a return policy can be very reassuring.
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Turtleneck dog sweaters extend up the neck somewhat to keep it warm.

FAQ

Q. Does my dog really need a sweater?

A. This depends on your dog. Some are happy to spend hours outside in a snowy backyard; others prefer to spend the colder months under a pile of blankets. A dog’s coat type can play a large role in determining this. Dogs with longer, denser coats will keep warmer than those with shorter, sparser coats. However, some dogs just tend to tolerate the cold better than others.

If you've noticed your dog shivering, feeling cold to the touch, burrowing under blankets, or hanging out near the radiator, they may benefit from wearing a sweater in the house on cold days. Sweaters are also great for walks on days when a thick coat or raincoat isn't warranted.

Q. Why should I get my dog a sweater instead of a coat?

A. Dog sweaters are lighter than dog coats, so they're better for indoor use. If you have the heating on, a coat is likely to be much too warm for your dog, even if it's extremely cold outside. In addition, dog coats can have zippers and buckles that dig in when your dog lies down. As such, a sweater is generally more comfortable for relaxing inside.

Q. How should I wash my dog's sweater?

A. The majority of dog sweaters are machine washable. Some are also suitable for tumble drying, whereas others need to be air dried. Check the label for wash and care instructions.

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