Sweaters Needed for Shelter Animals

Posted by Pia

While we humans may welcome the change of seasons with a favorite fall cardigan or cozy up with a blanket knitted by grandma, we must not forget that dogs in shelters get cold too. Many shelter animals are kept in outdoor kennels or uninsulated enclosures. While this may be comfortable for most months, the winter months can get quite nippy.

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Bubba - Baltimore, MD. 
Cozy and hip in a chartreuse polo shirt

1 Bubba - Baltimore, MD. Cozy and hip in a chartreuse polo shirt

Pepper looooves her sweaters!
Here she is 'pretty in pink...'

2 Pepper looooves her sweaters! Here she is 'pretty in pink...'

Bobby- Halifax, Fl.

3 Bobby- Halifax, Fl. "Hats keep us warm too!"

Martha and the authors in felted sweaters made from 
hand-me-down cardigans.

4 Martha and the authors in felted sweaters made from hand-me-down cardigans.

And Minnow is gathering up quite a little wardrobe.  She likes the urban, edgier get-ups...

5 And Minnow is gathering up quite a little wardrobe. She likes the urban, edgier get-ups...

Tristan- Gormley, Al.
Preppy trench coat helps keep the rain out...

6 Tristan- Gormley, Al. Preppy trench coat helps keep the rain out...

Rescued Malina loves her pink velour parka and it keeps her toasty warm.  She wishes other pups awaiting homes in shelters could be this warm!

7 Rescued Malina loves her pink velour parka and it keeps her toasty warm. She wishes other pups awaiting homes in shelters could be this warm!

Malina's rescued cousin Daisy also likes to sport pink outerwear!

8 Malina's rescued cousin Daisy also likes to sport pink outerwear!

Even in California, especially in the desert areas, temps can drop dangerously low. Thankfully there are some maternal souls out there making sure that fido and his other shelter friends have a sweater to fetch when they hear, "Take a sweata honey... you're gonna catch a cold!"

For those of you who would like to help keep our fellow critters stay warm as they eagerly wait for forever homes, here are some tips and ways you can do so:

Bonnie Monaghan writes....

Please consider joining me in my efforts to collect sweaters for Los Angeles's shelter dogs (and the occasional out of area shelter upon their request). Beginning this time of year, night temps can get very cold. Often the short haired pit bulls and chihuahuas in particular can be seen shivering during the day in the winter months- So I can't even imagine how they get through the nights!

Many shelters do not give blankets to the dogs because they can chew them or get them dirty quickly- but they will allow sweaters! Sweaters are great because they cover the dog's back (unlike blankets) and keep the heat in.

I am collecting sweaters and will distribute them to as many
Los Angeles shelters as possible that have outdoor dogs.

Types of sweaters needed:
*Chihuahua sized (mostly Small, sometimes XS) and Pit Bull sized (Large) are the ones needed most.
*Sweaters do not need to be pretty, just warm!
*Snug/tight necks are important. If the neck is too loose, not only will they slide right off backwards, but some shelters will then not want sweaters at all.
*Snug bellys are important for boy dogs, so they don't pee in them, making them wet/cold.

Here are some additional ideas for those who wish to help collect sweaters:

  • Put a collection box in your place of business, local school, church, community center, etc.
  • Ask veterinarians and other animal related businesses to host a collection box.
  • Look online for sweaters to buy and donate. Many are super affordable, can be bought in bulk and will ship directly!
  • Look for holiday themed sweaters when they go on sale after such holidays as Halloween, Christmas, Chanukah, etc.
  • Contact local pet product stores to ask that they donate any of their 'defective' of 'damaged' clothing .
  • We will need people who are able to sew or knit to help alter sweaters as needed.
  • If you enjoy knitting/crocheting or are part of a knitting club, let your group know!
  • If you are a teacher, this is a great project to suggest for students who wish to get involved or form a club to help.

If anyone (local or out of area) wants to help coordinate this effort I would welcome the assistance!

Sincerely,
Bonnie Monaghan
HALT Pet Overpopulation

If you want to request sweaters for your shelter or would like a list of shelter addresses to send sweaters directly, contact Bonnie.

Nancy Sanders is spearheading a similar effort for a large shelter in her area where temperatures get very low at night:
The Humane Society of the Desert in North Palm Springs.
To donate sweaters contact Nancy Sanders.

I hope everyone chips in to keep our best buddies warm- and probably quite fashionable;) - this winter!

In Kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

Comments (9)

  • More wonderful tips, thanks Dr. Pia!

  • Hi Dr. Pia,
    That is a really neat idea to give sweaters to the shelter animals. I have an even neater idea. You, Franny, Sharkey, G.K. and Minnow should appear on the Martha Stewart Show requesting sweaters and I bet every animal in every shelter would soon have a sweater for winter. My cleaver mind is at it again.
    Love & licks,
    Basil

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    Hello to you too Dr. Pia. Sweaters looks like it is a good idea for keeping dogs warm when the cool days approach. As for me, I grow my own so I don’t need to have one. In fact, Chow Chows are very well fit for the cold climate. One year a team of Chows ran in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. The team didn’t win, but it shows that the Chow is well equipped for the cold. Now it that new hair didn’t itch so much when it comes in, things would be perfect. I’ll be thinking about my short haired buddies when the cold comes. In the meantime; keep warm.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • What a great idea! I hope this is successful...
    a couple of years ago they did that here and everyone either made or bought sweaters to donate...
    Love the Photos.

  • Hi Dr. Pia, Bless you for coming up with the best ideas for animals! This was another great blog and I will do everything that I can to help get sweaters for those special shelter animals. Cute photos, too! Jan PS-F.S.G.K., I just saw your video about your TV show on Martha's blog page with Alexis as the narrator. When do we get to see it on Hallmark Channel?!!! Jan

  • Good idea Dr. Pia I'm a Shih Tzu and although we can have beautiful coats sometimes we get groomed and then we are cold!!I sleep in a bed with my mom and was still cold after my haircut yesterday I'll tell my mom to make extra coats. Melly

  • I share my home and my heart with 7 little Chihuahuas, who are more precious to me than any thing on this earth. I always use sweaters in the Fall and winter. And, having had the pleasure of living with a number of other breeds, I can tell you that dogs actually love wearing things like T shirts and sweaters, and if they happen to have any kind of skin irritation, like an itchy rash, having the sweater on, deters them from scratching. If you happen to have a larger breed, a used human T shirt is ideal, and much less pricey than doggy fashions. I'll definitely search through my fur babies' sweaters to choose some to share with chilly Chi's in shelters.

  • Hi,
    I remember my mother once bought dollar store baby clothes for her terriers. They are a lot cheaper than dogs sweaters.

  • I have discovered that 99 cent only stores are selling dog sweaters of only 99 cents! Many are very practical! Please consider picking some up and bringing them to your local shelter.

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