Inexpensive Options For Dog Clothing

Atlas in Sweater

Recently, I’ve come across a lot of social media posts for dog clothing. The main component of these posts are inexpensive options for dog clothing. Many people this year are having financial hardships. Businesses have closed due to COVID. People have been laid off from work. It makes sense to find these inexpensive options for dog clothing in order to keep your dog safe.

Some posts I’ve seen are people making dog clothing. I’ve also posted about shopping at thrift stores in the past for clothing for your dog. Finally, some have just used a diagram to physically make their dogs clothing. But first, why do dogs need clothing?

Why Some Dogs Need Clothing.

For those of you that have read my posts, then you might already know the answer to this question. However, if this is the first you’re reading, then yes, dogs need clothing. I live in Alaska, and it’s downright cold up here. You can see from the picture I’ve posted to the right. Of my three dogs, two are short haired dogs. Short haired dogs need protection in the cold since they don’t have the fur Alaska Pictureto keep them warm.

Think of it this way, if you’re cold, they’re cold. Stand outside in a very thin pair of pants and shirt. Barefoot. Wait for just a little while. Are you cold? Do you feel chill? Then your short haired dog is too. My Pocket Bully, Atlas, has a naked stomach. When she’s outside too long without her sweaters or coats, her stomach will be very cold when she comes back in. Normally, from my children taking her out and playing with her. They forget, she needs her sweaters more often than not.

Now, if you live in a warm climate, this doesn’t count for you. Instead, you want something to keep them cooler in the heat. Dogs overheat just like we do. I knew of a dog this past summer that had died from the heat up here. The owner left the dog in the vehicle and the dog passed, sadly. No, I’m not friends with this person. I simply heard of the tragedy.

Let’s get back to those that need clothing. First inexpensive option – making the dog’s clothing from your own.

Making The Dog’s Clothing From Your Own.

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of people making dog clothing from their own. They simply take some piece of clothing that is long sleeved. They take the sleeve, make two small slits where their arms would be and voila, done!

Small Dogs Sweater
Small Dogs

This method works if you have a very small dog. For those of us with bigger dogs, obviously, our dogs won’t fit in our sleeves. But for the small ones, it’s very clever.

Imagine the endless possibilities for the smaller dogs. Any old sweater that you don’t wear anymore. Simply take that sleeve, cut it at the shoulder to remove it from the whole thing. Then, you lay it out flat. Take a pair of scissors, and cut two small half-circular slits at the edges. See the picture I’ve posted to the left. Then, simply cut it to length.

You can use sweaters for this idea, long sleeved shirts. Even thin shirts. While I cringe at the idea of ruining a sweater, maybe find one that’s damaged already? I’m a firm believer in donating clothing if it’s still good. A lot of people this time of year need clothing, especially the kids.

Speaking of, what about those options of finding clothing at thrift stores?

Finding Options At Thrift Stores.

Thrift stores is where I buy a lot of Atlas’ clothes. She’s a very thick Pocket Bully and most dog clothing is too tight. Unless I buy an XL vest or sweater, but even then, it’s tight across her shoulders. Plus, some of you might know that I absolutely hate Velcro! It just doesn’t stay, nor work!

Large Dogs Sweater
Large Dogs

What I look for, when I’m shopping for Atlas are kids clothes. She fits a size 5T. Since the shoulders are made for kids shoulders, which are more wide than a typical dogs, they fit her perfect. I also look for vests with zippers. Not the chincy Velcro that so often comes on dogs clothing.

The last vest I bought Atlas always peels off her shoulders. The rest of the vest, just fine. But her shoulders? Nope. Just doesn’t work. I always get so agitated too and end up ripping it off, telling my husband to remind me to sew buttons on the thing.

So, if you have a bigger dog, like a Lab, a Shepherd, a Poodle, any of these breeds, you can find human clothing.

Lab – standard size, most likely will fit a size 8/10 in shirts.

Shepherd – Males – probably also a size 8/10 or small size in ladies.

Poodles – depends on the size of your poodle, but probably close to the Lab size, 8/10 in kids.

If you have kids, take one of their shirts and try it on. That’ll give you their size. For Atlas, it works really well and she’s a very short dog, only 16″ to her withers. Human clothes just work well on her because of her shoulders.

Another inexpensive option for dogs clothing, make it yourself.

Using A Diagram To Make It From Scratch.

Making a dog shirt
Per Bing Search – Diagrams for making a dog shirt

Okay, I’m going to be real honest here, I’ve never done this. Sure, I can be crafty. I’m sure if I sat down and really thought it out, I could make something for my dogs. But, A: I don’t have a sewing machine, so I’d be sewing by hand. Not something I really want to do. B: I don’t exactly have a lot of time to be sewing. It’s probably because it’d be by hand.

I have thought about making Atlas a crown sweater though. I seem to have about 1,000 crown bags saved up over the years. Honestly, I think it’d be cute, and it’d be one of a kind.

For those of you that have the machine though and the time – what a great option! Material is very inexpensive. You can order it off Amazon, JoAnn’s, other fabric places. Fabric is way less than buying anything from the store. Most dogs could probably get away with one single yard for their clothing. Small dogs, you could make several from a yard.

I’ve seen the diagrams online, so it’s pretty easy to find them. If you knit or crochet, even better! Making their sweaters from yarn, wow.

There are so many options out there!

Why Inexpensive Options For Dog Clothing Are Needed.

This year has been a whammy of a year. I lost my 9-5 job back in February. It took me a long time to stop being angry over it. Honestly, to this day, I just don’t miss it. I’m glad I’m home with the kids while they’re in school online. They wouldn’t focus if I was at work. Guaranteed.

Because of so many people out of work, we’re all in the same boat. The broke boat. Come on, jump in! The water’s fine. Kidding. Don’t jump in if you don’t have to. I’d rather be in the money boat!

Regardless of your financial situation, there are options. Inexpensive dog clothing options. Whether for yourself or a friend. If you prefer to buy them from a retailer, awesome. You know I post a lot of clothing options for dogs. Some are better than others and I’ve admitted that in the past articles.

However, I still shop at thrift stores for Atlas because honestly, they just fit her better. For the small dogs, I buy their clothing. I always rave about BNY and their clothing. Better quality. A little more expensive. But, we have a saying – you get what you pay for.

What have you done in the past for your dogs? Thrift store buys? Making it from scratch? From a piece of clothing? Let us all know what worked best for you!

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4 thoughts on “Inexpensive Options For Dog Clothing

  1. It is amazing what inspiration you have provided me. We do not have any dogs but we sure do have a lot of leftover clothing. My wife and I are the youngest siblings in our families and our older siblings provided us with many boxes of used kid’s clothing. We always donate the clothes to local charities, but maybe I can donate them to an animal shelter. Do you think an animal shelter would appreciate this gesture? If so, I could have the kids make the clothes for them.

    1. Rob,

      Absolutely! The animal shelters that are in colder climates actually always need clothing. And making these is so easy. This would give the shelters a way to be able to let the dogs out more during the winter with their possible new parents. More often than not, the dogs have to sit in a cage with people looking to adopt when it’s too cold outside. But dogs need space to warm up to people. Sounds backwards, but it’s true. Dogs in cages will always be different versus dogs that are able to get some air and some space.

      What a great idea! I just love it!


  2. Hey Katrina,

    This is such a helpful and inspirational article. I had never thought about making dog clothing from my own clothing or from family. I don’t have a dog but my brother does, well it is my niece’s dog really. I’m going to use your article to make some clothes for the dog as Christmas presents. My niece will love them. I’m going to take her through your article too and show her how to make clothes for the dog herself. She will be so happy to be able to do this herself.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the amazing work you do.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks Tom,

      Kids do love making clothes for dogs, I will admit. My two daughters are always trying new clothes on my dogs. The two female dogs love it, the male…not so much. My oldest daughter is always trying to put him in clothes because he was supposed to be her dog, but she can’t have dogs in the apt she lives in. So, we still have him 3 years later. 🙂 He’s part of the family, so it’s okay. He just doesn’t like clothes like all the other dogs.

      Hopefully your niece is able to make some pretty cool clothes for her dog. Thanks for reading this and thanks for sharing!


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