Beyond the Sweater: Knitting for Dogs

While every knitter has seen or heard of sweaters or coats for dogs, there are other choices.  Some of them are much simpler and quicker, but not every idea will work for every dog.  Here are some of my thoughts on knitting for dogs, beyond the dog sweater.

Toys

Some dogs love stuffed animals.  Some dogs love to rip stuffed animals to shreds.Dog & Toy

Do you really want to put all that effort into making a stuffed animal for your dog, only to have it ruined in a matter of minutes?  Take your dog into account when deciding whether or not to knit toys for them.

My dog treats stuffed animals like her own puppy – for awhile.  Inevitably, after a certain amount of time, usually a couple of weeks, she starts chewing on it.  It doesn’t last long after that.

There is one kind of toy I have considered making for her.  A bottle cover.  You’ve probably seen these in pet stores.  They’re usually designed to look like other animals, but rather than being a stuffed animal, they’re designed to go over a 16 to 20oz water or soda bottle.  It’s expected that the dog will play with these, probably pretty roughly.  Dogs like these because of the crinkly noises the bottles make when they’re poked or chomped.

Any bottle cover pattern would work for this, but the yarn would have to be pretty durable.  Maybe a rug yarn?  Since wool sticks to itself so well, it would be a much better choice than a plant or synthetic yarn which would unravel once a strand broke.

Blankets

I’m kind of surprised no one talks about making blankets for their dogs.  In my experience, dogs love blankets.  Dogs love anything that makes their lying down spots a little softer.

I like dog blankets, too, because once the dog learns that the blanket is “theirs,” it’s really easy to signal to your dog where you want them to lie down just by putting the blanket down.  Not only is this more comfortable for your dog, it could help train them!

This isn’t a big project, either.  Even for a large dog, a crib size blanket would work well.  As long as it’s easily washed, like any dog blanket, this could be a great gift for your dog.

Bed Cover

A slight variation on the blanket idea, it would be pretty easy to make a dog bed cover.  If you want make it work like a pillow cover, you can add some sort of fasteners to one end.  Or just make it a little long  and fold the flap under the bed.  Either way, make sure it’s a washable yarn!

Here’s my idea:  Measure the dog bed.  Add some inches to account for the depth of the dog bed to the width and length.  Cast on enough stitches to get the desired width.  Knit until it’s long enough to fold over and cover the bed cushion.  Sew two sides together, leaving one end open.  Add whatever fasteners you want to the end.  Slide the bed cushion in.  Ta da!  Your dog’s bed is cushi-er than ever.  (Of course, you could just make a blanket this size, fold it over, and throw it on top of the bed.)

Yarn

Does it matter what kind of yarn you use when knitting for your dog?  Yes.

  1. Dogs get dirty.  Be sure you can wash your finished project.
  2. Dogs are tough on stuff.  Choose a durable yarn.  It may not be as soft as you’d like.  You’re dog probably won’t care.  It’s not going to come in contact with their skin.  And it’ll be softer than lying on the floor.
  3. Wool is still best for outdoor wear for dogs or humans.

Finally, I’m working on a post on knitting up a dog sweater.  It won’t be a stitch by stitch pattern and you might be surprised by my approach, which is based on my real life experience with dressing two very different cold dogs.  It should be out in a few days, maybe less.

I hope these slightly different ideas about knitting for dogs helps you choose a project for your furry best friend.  Let me know if this was helpful and what you’re working on these days.

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