Dog Christmas Jumper Guide: The Dos and Don’ts

The information in this article was reviewed and approved by registered veterinary nurse, Beth Walker

Animed Veterinary Nurse, Beth Walker

As we all get into the festive spirit, many owners are eager to dress their pooch up in an adorable Christmas jumper. But is it ok to dress your pet in a Christmas jumper? What do pet owners need to consider? As we’ll discuss in this article, it’s important to always put the health and happiness of your pup first. To help you do just that, read on for our Dog Christmas Jumper guide, so that you and your furry friend can enjoy the festive season together!

Should Dogs Wear Christmas Jumpers?

We know that novelty Christmas clothing isn’t for everyone, so we wanted to hear more about what our Animed customers thought when it came to their pets!

We recently conducted a survey with 4,833 Animed customers to ask their opinions around dressing up dogs. For this survey, we defined dressing up dogs as using novelty clothing that is purely for fun, such as Christmas jumpers, dog bow ties or dog headbands. Our definition did not include items intended to protect dogs from the weather such as coats, raincoats or foot protection, or items such as Thundershirts.

Unsurprisingly, we discovered that the overwhelming majority (90%) of respondents thought that all kinds of novelty clothing for dogs should be designed to consider the dog’s safety, comfort and happiness.

When asked if they thought dogs should be dressed in Christmas jumpers, 63% of our customers were happy, but only if the dog was content to wear it. And while 5% didn’t have an opinion on dressing dogs in Christmas jumpers, another 30% felt that it wasn’t something they’d do with their pet.

The results tell us that the majority of pet owners we surveyed feel it’s important to be completely sure that our dogs are comfortable with any clothing we intend them to wear. We love our pets so it’s no surprise that our survey results reflect the concern we have for their happiness and comfort.

Whether your dog is trying a Christmas jumper for the first time, or they’re used to wearing a variety of novelty items, it’s important to be aware of your pet’s behaviour at all times. Some dogs may be quite happy to wear a dog Christmas jumper. However, you should still keep an eye on their behaviour in case this changes.

How Do I Know If My Dog Doesn’t Like His Sweater?

Ensure your pet is always supervised when wearing novelty clothing, and regularly check for any signs of irritation. These include:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Head shaking
  • Barking or whining
  • Restlessness or tenseness
  • Tucked tail and/or flat ears
  • Excessive licking of the lips or yawning
  • Panting

If your dog displays any of the above signs, always take their Christmas jumper off straight away.

It’s important to note that while most dogs will let you know they are uncomfortable, this is not always the case. Irritation can sometimes be hard to spot, and the behaviour each individual dog may exhibit can vary.

Allergic Reactions

Some dogs might even have an allergic reaction to the jumper. It could be the fabric itself that causes irritation, or the products that the jumper has been washed in. Watch out for the following signs, and always take the jumper off immediately if you spot any:

  • Weeping eyes
  • Head shaking
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Excessive scratching
  • Redness or cuts on the skin caused by scratching

If you’re concerned about potential allergies, speak to your vet for advice. In some cases, symptomatic treatment may be required to ease discomfort.

Do Dogs Get Too Hot in Jumpers?

Another important consideration is your dog’s body temperature. Unlike humans, dogs have a thick fur coat to keep them warm. While some dogs may benefit from additional support to stay warm, even these pets can quickly overheat in a dog Christmas jumper, particularly inside when the heating is on. Watch out for panting, extreme salivation and excessive drinking.

Even if you don’t spot any of these signs in your dog, they still shouldn’t wear a Christmas jumper for too long.

Materials to Avoid in Christmas Jumpers for Dogs

Dogs can find wool very itchy, so it’s best to avoid this material. Meanwhile, synthetic materials made from plastic fibres like polyester and nylon are not very breathable and can make your dog hot. Dog jumpers made from pure cotton are best, as cotton is breathable, soft and lightweight.

Other Dos and Don’ts with a Dog Christmas Jumper:

  • Don’t get one that has rough seams. These might push into your dog’s skin and cause irritation.
  • Do get the correct size. A jumper that is too large can cause your dog to become entangled, while a jumper that is too small can restrict movement. Always allow a minimum two finger gap around leg and neck openings.
  • Do make sure your dog can move naturally. Can they still walk, run, drink, lie down and go to the toilet as normal while wearing the jumper?
  • Do ensure it’s easy to put on and take off. If it isn’t, the experience could be very stressful.
  • Do check the materials. Just in case your dog were to chew on the jumper, it’s important to make sure it’s not made from toxic or dangerous materials.
  • Don’t leave your pet unattended when they are wearing clothing. This way you can monitor their behaviour and watch out for signs that they are uncomfortable or getting hot. You’ll also be there to help in case the jumper gets caught on something.
  • Don’t let your dog wear the jumper for extended periods of time. Even if your dog doesn’t seem to show any signs of discomfort, they still shouldn’t wear any kind of novelty clothing for too long.
  • Do be mindful of your dog’s individual needs. For example, male and female dogs may have different requirements in terms of shape, or long-haired dogs may find jumpers uncomfortable against their fur.

How Should I Dress My Dog For Winter?

If you’re looking to keep your pet warm, a purpose-made dog coat is a better choice than novelty clothing. Dog Christmas jumpers are not built to protect dogs from the wind and rain, and they are unlikely to be very breathable. If worn in the rain, they could actually end up making your dog even more cold rather than warming them.

We recommend using a protective dog coat, made with waterproof material or with insulating padding. For more information on how to choose a winter dog coat, take a look at this blog.

While Christmas dog jumpers are typically only worn during the festive season, a smart dog coat like this one can be worn all year round, with a removable fleece liner for warmer weather.

Wrapping Up

Remember, if your dog shows any signs of distress at any point, remove the Christmas jumper immediately. Never put one on your dog forcefully. If dressing up isn’t for them, that’s ok! There are still plenty of other ways to enjoy the festive season with your pup! For one, a festive dog toy to enjoy never goes amiss! And why not take part in our Christmas Countdown Challenge, where we’ll be asking you to share your photos completing our daily challenges with your pet? Join in on our Facebook page, starting on the 15th December.