Knitting for your pet (Photo - Iouri Goussev).

      Knitting for your pet (Photo – Iouri Goussev).

      We “Pet Parents” do whatever we need to do to keep our four-legged babies warm, happy, and healthy. If that means we knit them a little something to keep them warm or happy, then that’s what we do.

      By Robin Southworth

      I live in California, so knitting for my babies isn’t really necessary. Both my cats come complete with thick, long-ish fur. My Lab mix dog, on the other hand, LOVES being covered by a blanket in the winter, so I knit him a throw of his own out of left-over yarn. He also loves his head on a pillow, but that’s another story.

      The expected

      Knitted hat for dog (Photo - Cute Dog Wallpapers, flickr).

      Knitted hat for dog (Photo – Cute Dog Wallpapers, flickr).

      There are all kinds of expected things to knit for our pets. Sweaters. Cowls. Blankets (as noted above). Felted beds for small dogs or cats. Fully enclosed beds. Toys, fillable or not.

      If the knitted item is to be felted, a 100% wool yarn would be perfect. If you are knitting a sweater, cowl, or blanket, a nylon/acrylic yarn would be appropriate. These things get dirty and you’ll want to wash them on occasion. Hand-washing a pet sweater is a bit of a pain. I prefer to toss my dog’s “blanky” into washer and dryer and just have it done.

      There are also costume-y things that are knit for our pets. It is my opinion that most of these things are designed to amuse the humans in our pet’s lives, as the looks on these pets will attest.

      I refuse to knit things like this for my pets, mostly because they would kill me in my sleep if I did.

      The unexpected

      Knitting for the unexpected (Photo - pxhere.com).

      Knitting for the unexpected (Photo – pxhere.com).

      I am not a lover of rodents-as-pets. Rats. Mice. Ferrets. Guinea pigs. Hamsters.


      A sweater for a rat is kind of cute. They do get cold, so a sweater in a sock yarn, knit in a stretchy rib, would be great (and reasonably easy to hand-wash).

      The humanitarian

      Knitted sweaters for oil-soaked penguins to keep them warm until they are well enough to be cleaned (Photo - Penguin Foundation, Facebook).

      Knitted sweaters for oil-soaked penguins to keep them warm until they are well enough to be cleaned (Photo – Penguin Foundation, Facebook).

      When there are oil spills in our environment, wildlife is the first to suffer. The little penguins of Phillip Island in Australia are very susceptible to oil.

      A patch of oil the size of a thumb nail can kill a little penguin. Oiled penguins often die from exposure and starvation. Oil separates and mats feathers, allowing water to get in which makes a penguin very cold, heavy and less able to successfully hunt for food.
      – Penguin Foundation

      Thus, knitting sweaters (or “jumpers” in British-English) for penguins began. At the current time, the foundation has more penguin sweaters than they know what to do with. Please don’t knit a sweater for a penguin right now, unless you know one personally. The Penguin Foundation has more information, if you are interested.

      Rescued chickens (from battery cages) rarely have a full set of feathers. In cold weather, without those feathers, they can die from the cold. There are patterns out there for chicken sweaters for them to wear until their feathers come in. Sounds odd, a sweater for a chicken, but it makes sense, doesn’t it? You want your pet chicken to survive and live a better life than it once had. If a knit sweater is what it takes, knit one! One pattern I saw was quite simple with increasing and decreasing being the most complex thing about it. It looked like it could be knit in a day. Two days, if you get interrupted all the time, as I am.

      Now get out there and knit your four-legged child an early-Christmas present!

      Check out Robin’s other knitting and non-knitting articles here.


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      1. Harper says:

        Those penguins in sweaters are so adorable! I’m convinced to get sweaters for my maltipoo now HAHA thanks for sharing

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