It’s hard not to cave to the crazy prices on dog clothes at your local PetMarket when your furry pal is shivering piteously. And it’s almost as tempting when you’re tired of putting on that one same old ratty sweater all fall and winter. Don’t even get us started on how short sweaters are when you have a tall, skinny dog.
Here’s our solution which saved our butts and kept Ada and Fruit Bat’s warm last winter before we started making dog clothes and when money was tight:
Not dog socks, because those turn into dog toys before ours get out the door. We mean people socks, knee-length, specifically, also leg warmers and arm warmers.
Above, Ada is modeling an old sweater that was barely long enough when she was a puppy along with a thin white knit arm warmer, a long section of lacy black sock, and a second section of lacy black knee sock as a scarf along with her usual harness. She was toasty all day.
Here’s what to look for:
Here’s what to avoid:
Socks that are too tight or short.
And here’s all you have to do. Make sure the sock is wide enough to stretch comfortably around your dog’s ribs, and that the cuff isn’t too tight for their neck. You can do this by stretching the width of the sock over your dog’s back to where it hits the upper front legs. If you can do this comfortably, you have enough stretch to go all the way around the dog’s torso. Admittedly, I just stretch the neck and eyeball it, but you can also use the same technique to test the cuff around the dog’s neck. If you can stretch the cuff 2/3 around your dog’s neck from the back without indenting their skin, you have enough cuff. If you’re not sure, make sure you can easily slip two fingers between the cuff and your dog’s neck once the sock is on.
When you’re ready to proceed: If it’s a sock, cut off the foot, hold it up to the side of your dog and decide how much neck you want above the shoulder.
Keep a finger where the dog’s shoulder hit, and cut two shallow ovals. It should look something like this:
When you put it on your dog, it will look something like this:
As an additional bonus, the gentle pressure of the sock has an effect a lot like those thunder calming shirts that cost your first-born child and three goats.
Raid your sock drawer for all those singles and the socks with holes in the toes like we did, and you’ll have layers to keep your little dog warm, happy, and fashionable until next summer. (Then you can keep using them, as we did, for sun protection.)
For bigger dogs, take a look at old leggings that never fit right or have a weird hole somewhere. Even sweatpants and knit pajama bottoms.
Now go forth, and have adventures!
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