Buying a sweater for a dog can be confusing, especially if your dog is small. Many times commercially available sweaters will not fit properly, or they will not function as expected. By following these tips below, you can be sure that you're buying a sweater that will work for the both of you.
- Measure your dog: Make sure that you know how tall he is from floor to shoulder, how wide he is across the chest and how much room there is for his private area. Many times a sweater will fit, but will be too long, allowing the dog to urinate on it, causing damage to the sweater and possible dermatitis if left in contact with the dog's skin for too long. Also, if the sweater is to fit properly, it should not reach below your dog's elbows or much beyond his tail to keep from interfering with him range of motion.
- Understand why you need a sweater: Do you need a sweater because your dog has a health condition? Is it because you live in a cold climate with a short haired dog? Or is it because you want him to just be fabulous? If you need a sweater for function, skip the novelty stores and head straight for a pet boutique that offers well made sweaters at a decent price. These sweaters will be made from good insulating materials like cotton and wool, which will protect your dog in the cold of winter. If you own a Chihuahua or other breed particularly susceptible to cold, you may consider buying two sweaters, a bulky one for outdoors and a lightweight one for inside, especially if your home is prone to being breezy. If your intention is to merely make sure that your dog matches your outfit or décor, then feel free to purchase them from anywhere as durability is not a paramount here.
- Take your dog for a test fit: Whenever and wherever possible, take your dog to try on sweaters to ensure a proper fit.
Sweater buying doesn't have to be a chore if you are prepared. Understand that in this industry, you get what you pay for, so expect that a well made sweater will probably cost upwards of $20- $30 or more, while novelty wear at the big box stores will be considerably less. The quality will be significantly cheaper, meaning that sweaters will need to be purchased over and over as the older ones wear out.