How to knit dog sweaters for beginners

Updated April 17, 2017

Even with their fur coats, dogs can get cold during the winter just like their people do. Knitted dog sweaters can help keep your pooch warm, and they can be simple projects for beginners. While many dog garments have sleeves to help keep the sweater in place, the simplest have a blanket style square that goes over the back and a strap or two to keep it on. Beginners can knit a dog sweater within a few evenings of work, and the project will not require any advanced techniques.

Measure your dog. You will need to get a fairly accurate measurement of your dog's girth and an idea of how long you would like the sweater to be. Measure him around the widest part of his chest, and measure down his back. You will also need to measure around his neck for a front strap. From these measurements you can chart out a basic rectangle for the blanket part.

Check your gauge. Knit a small swatch and measure the number of stitches per inch that you get with your yarn and needles. Multiply the number of stitches per inch you get by the desired width of your rectangle. For instance, if you get five stitches per inch, and you want your rectangle to be 10 inches wide, you will need to cast on 50 stitches.

Cast on and knit. Most cast on techniques will be suitable for this project. Cast on and knit until you have reached your desired length for the rectangle. If you are feeling adventurous, you can try different stitch patterns such as two by two ribbing or seed stitch. Cast off all stitches and weave in the ends with a tapestry needle.

Make the straps. Pick up and knit about two inches of stitches on one side of the rectangle where you want the first strap to go. Continue knitting until you have reached slightly less than your dog's girth measurement. Bind off all stitches and using your tapestry needle and the tail of your yarn, sew the strap to the corresponding spot on the other side of the rectangle. Repeat at the front corner of the rectangle for the neck strap. Make the neck strap a little looser so that it does not choke your pup. You may want to try the sweater on your dog for fit before attaching the neck strap. Weave in all ends.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry needle
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About the Author

Based in New York City, Virginia Watson has been writing and editing professionally since 2004. Her work has appeared in magazines including "The Roanoker Magazine," "Blue Ridge Country," "Pinnacle Living" and the award-winning "Virginia State Travel Guide." Watson holds a Master of Arts in philosophy of education from Virginia Polytechnic and State University.