Knitting Patterns for Pets You Have to Knit

Knitting for Dogs: A Dog Sweater Pattern Example from Dogs in Knits.

Photo from Dogs in Knits by Judith L Swartz

Our pets are such a big part of our families. As knitters, we want to share our craft with all of our loved ones, and this should include our pets! There are so many ideas out there already on knitting for pets, from sweater knitting for dogs to beds to toys for all sorts of pets. This article will help you learn how to knit a dog sweater including getting the perfect measurements, plus find ideas for other dog and cat knitting patterns. Come join us and discover the joy of knitting for pets!

Knitting for Pets: Felted Toys

I have two dogs and a cat, and they all love toys. Safety is a big concern when knitting toys for pets. I feel that tightly felted toys are the safest way to go because there’s no loose yarn that can be ingested and caught up in your beloved pet’s digestive system.

When you’re making a toy for your dog or cat, just be sure to felt it enough that there are no loose ends that your pet can get hold of and no holes that stuffing can be pulled out of. If your knit and felted pet toy gets a hole in it, it’s time to get rid of it and knit another one!

One really fun way to make knitted cat toys is to knit a pouch. Stuff the pouch loosely with fiberfill and close it using the 3-needle bind off. Now felt the pouch very firmly in the washing machine. The yarn will felt around the stuffing making a firm toy that your pet will love. The Sachet Trio ePattern includes two different designs you could use for cat knitting patterns. The drawstring bag is perfect for holding little trinkets and toys, or use it to store tasty morsels. The sachets can be stuffed as toys and felted, or left unfelted and filled using a few sprigs of dried catnip to create a knitted cat toy that’s sure to give your cat a thrill!

My cat loves little balls I make this way. For a special treat you could also roll them around in some catnip!

Knitting Patterns for Pets: Pet Beds

I don’t know about you, but whenever I leave my knitting lying around a cat or dog ends up using it as a bed. I’ve knitted several pet beds, but my favorite is a simple garter stitch mat that I felted. I used some leftover self-striping wool run with a strand of worsted-weight wool, knit until the piece was 30% longer than I wanted it to be, then felted it firmly. My cat loved it.

There are lots of pet beds with sides that can be knit too, such the 40 Winks Basket design by Hana Jason, pictured below. Just place a comfy pillow in the finished bed and your pet will make him or herself at home!

Cat Knitting Patterns: 40 Winks Basket from Interweave Knits Weekend 2009 that you have to knit for your furry friend.

Photo from Interweave Knits Weekend 2009, design by Hana Jason

How to Measure Your Dog for Dog Sweater Patterns

Dogs come in so many shapes and sizes that it’s impossible to create a universally fitting dog sweater knitting pattern. So it’s best to take key measurements and adjust accordingly to ensure a custom fit for your dog sweater pattern. Since being measured is not an event dogs are accustomed to, keep a few little treats handy and also let your dog inspect the tape measure (especially if it is a spring type before starting). There are five key measurements that determine a good fit for your dog knitting patterns:

Learn how to take knitting measurements for your dog's sweater pattern. Image from Dogs in Knits by Judith L. Swartz.

Photo from Dogs in Knits by Judith L Swartz

  1. Length: Measure down the center back of your dog, from just below the collar to just above the base of the tail. Sweaters can be shorter than this length, depending on style, but never longer.
  2. Neck Circumference: Measure around your dog’s neck, just below the collar. Add about one inch (2.5 cm) for ease. The next two measurements will help determine correct placement of leg openings.

  3. Width Between Front Legs:
    Measure between the front legs at the tops of the legs (where the front legs meet the body). No additional ease is necessary with this measurement.
  4. Length from Neck to Leg Openings: Measure at center front, straight down from neck to top of front legs. No additional ease is necessary with this measurement.
  5. Chest Circumference: Measure around the widest part, generally just behind the front legs. Depending on the desired fit of the sweater (close fitting, loose fitting, or oversized) add from one to five inches of ease.

—Excerpted from Judith L. Swartz, Dogs in Knits.

Our pets deserve to benefit from our knitting, too! I hope you’ll find these tips helpful while you work up some fun and functional dog sweater patterns, knitted cat toys, and other knitting patterns for pets.

Recommend Pet Knitting Patterns:

Dogs in Knits

Learn how to knit a dog sweater including finding measurements, plus get 15+ exciting dog knitting patterns. You and your furry friend will love this delightful knitting for dogs pattern collection.

Dog Walker Knitting Pattern

Walk in style with this coordinating set of patterns. The mittens are for you and the sweater is for your pup! A fabulous fashion statement to share with your best friend.

Fetching Dog Sweater, Bag, and Mittens Crochet Pattern

This amazing set of knitting patterns for dogs tops them all! You’ll discover an adorable dog sweater knitting pattern, and a pair of colorful mittens and a bag for you.