Help regarding knitted blankets for animals

Just recently, I have decided to knit some blankets for our local animal shelter. I have some questions, though.

Should I use two strands of yarn when I knit? I am worried that the animals’ claws will tear through the blanket, do I need to worry about that?

Also, I am making a blanket out of many small knit squares sewn together. Should I block those? Will that make a difference in how soft the blanket is, or anything else? Thanks so much! :wink:

I’m no help but wanted to give you a paws up for doing such a great thing for the animals. As someone very involved in rescue (bassets) I applaud anything done on behalf of our furry friends.

Why thank you! I was hoping to get some answers quickly so that I can start a blanket tonight. :mrgreen:

While I commend your efforts, knitted blankets are not really practical for shelters. I have volunteered in our local shelter and the best blankets are fleece ones that can be easily washed and dried. Knitted ones catch in the nails of the dogs, tear and unravel.

Our local shelter gets donations of old blankets and when knitted items are included they are seldom used. Other shelters may be different. But if you are making blankets, one solid piece would be much more practical and less likely to come apart than a pieced blanket.

They do occasionally use knitted sweaters for short haired or sick dogs.

We have a group here (and on Ravelry), Oddball Pet Snuggles, that has been knitting for animal shelters for about a year and a half.
Check out this thread , our blog
and the national web-site
I know that when it’s my turn to donate our finished oddballs, the shelters I’ve taken them to have all been excited every time they get one. In fact, I made my little girl one of her own and she loves it, too.

Oh, and yes…we use two strands of worsted yarn (and sometimes some fun fur, too).:teehee:

I went to the site: It’s wonderful! So are snuggies the blankets, or the bed-like things?
Do the blankets hold up well?

Thanks so much for your help!!

Can I make a snuggie out of many knitted squares instead of strips? I know GinnyG said that they don’t hold up so well, but I don’t have a ton of time to sit down and just knit: I usually knit while I’m waiting somewhere, or on the bus or something. And it’s much more convenient for me (and probably a lot of other people) to make small squares. Will that work?

I dont see why not. As long as they’re sewn firmly together, it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m a member of the Oddball Snuggles Group here on KH. The snuggles are sent around the country, and each of us adds a little bit to them. All of the ones I’ve participated in were about 72-80 stitches cast on (2 strands of yarn) to circular needles. Each person adds 5-6 inches or so, and then sends it to the next one. The last person binds off, and (I think) crochets a border around it to give it a finished look. I’ve never received a finished one, so I’m not sure how big they are when they’re finished. It’s a fun group to be in. All you have to do is go to the Oddball Snuggles thread under Charity Knitting, and ask/volunteer for one. It’s where I learned to knit on circular needles!

My dogs and cats will dig my crocheting and knitting out of my bag to lay on it. They love it!

I’d say that for anyone who can sew, polarfleece squares (~ 2 feet by 2 feet or so) are great cage liners. Or, polarfleece on one side and fabric on the other side. You can do a quilting type stitch to stick them together and they can be laundered over and over. The hospital where I used to work had a very generous lady who used to make the polarfleece cage liners with different (seasonal) fabrics on the other side and they were the perfect size for lining cages, and they typically held up fairly well to laundering in our commercial machines.

We don’t have those where I work now (and I don’t sew or have a machine). We mostly use towels and some blankets, and we take all sorts of donated towels and blankets and some sheets that people don’t want anymore. Crocheted or knitted things, in general, do not hold up that well. Remember, these are being washed DAILY if not more, and getting all manner of puke, poop, pee, etc. on them. Claws and paws can get into yarn and rip them, and ANY loose threads or strings are a hazard since a pet could swallow them, so once anything knitted has any holes or is unraveling, even in one tiny spot, it would have to be trashed.

I think it’s really admirable to want to help a shelter and I am sure they ARE grateful even if you’re providing something knitted that may not last as long as other types of bedding. It would be incredibly rude (and I can’t imagine them saying) that they didn’t want your handknitted things. A gift is a gift! However, I don’t think that knitted items are very practical for use as cage bedding when compared to the amount of effort required to make them. Just my 2 cents…

If you’re donating to a specific place, you might want to ask them what they could use the most. If they say that your knitted or crocheted things work well for them, then go for it! :thumbsup:

With 4 kids you can imagine how quickly I go through blankets. I donate our used ones to our vet and the local dog shelter we have in our small town. I do know that shelter asks for non-knitted blanket donations as they had one dog unravel a blanket and wound up choking on the yarn it ate.

It’s the little bit I can do to help out since I’m not able to adopt a dog (we are comfy with our 3) but since our German Shepherd is getting to the end of her days, we are looking in to fostering for the shelter in the future.

I poked in at the pet snuggles knit-alongs a while ago, and they do a marvelous thing! I have been doing snuggles for about 6 months. I have gotten into a routine of having one on the needles almost all of the time because they are easy to do. I pick these up when my hands are free but I can’t concentrate on anything tricky, or when I’m riding in the car. I use 2 strands and size 10.5 needles and do nothing but garter stitch. I usually do about 80 stitches wide and knit until I run out (if I have full skeins). Most of the ones I’ve done end up about 20" x 20" up to 24" x 24". I’ve donated 15 of them to the local shelter since I started, and the people at the shelter claim they love them for the cat cages. I doubt that knitted blankets would be as good for dogs. I was looking at the “cat adoption” page the other day and saw a picture of a cat on one of my snuggles! That was fun.

I typically pick up Red Heart or Caron when it’s on sale (or stop at Michaels or Joann’s and get one each week with my 40-50% off coupons!) and I also use leftovers.

My suggestion is to actually go to the shelter and ask the people there what they could use. Good for you for wanting to help!!!

I agree with CHJ, I think the snuggles, or any knitted item, would be better for cats as opposed to dogs. When I posted I was thinking about dogs.

Ok. I contacted the shelter and am just waiting for a reply.
So the blankets should be ok for cats? I keep seeing all the articles online about how we should knit for the animals and all that, but then everyone is saying that the items aren’t as functional as the shelters would probably like?

Great news! The shelter already participates in the snuggles project! I think maybe I could still help out by posting something about that on the site, so other people will know.:knitting:

I called the one place that takes cats here in town, the Humane Society and they told me they would rather NOT have knitted items for any of the pets, due to the unraveling and choking issues with both dogs AND cats. However, they did say that they would not turn them away for the large farm animals they have taken in more and more since they don’t tend to tear things up as easily or eat what they do manage to tear up.

We live in farm and ranch country and the number of horses alone that the Humane Society has taken in has easily doubled in the past 18 months, they told me. Many of the horses are malnourished and have a very hard time maintaining a healthy body temp in the weird cold spells we get here and the blankets help the sick horses.

It’s amazing how much you find you CAN do when you simply look and ask around. It’s given me some excellent ideas for a church program.

I love knitting and crocheting dog and cat beds and blankets. They aren’t practical for caged dogs, but they can be donated to shelters to go with adoptions. Dogs love to have a blanket on the floor to runch around on, so the adopted dog goes to its new home with something of its very own.
Also, many shelters also have a thrift store. Handmade items are always welcome there.
I did make the mistake on my first one of using needles that were too big, so the dog got his claws caught in it. Now I use more yarn (at least 2 strands – sometimes up to 4) and either seed stitch or that wonderful K2, P1 stitch.
Don’t forget the kitties, either. I think most shelters accept cat toys, but you should check first. Also, they’re small enough to take with you, just like the squares you’re doing. I met “Aunt Jean” here, years ago, and posted her pattern here:
Juggle balls would work too, but they aren’t much fun to make.
I’ve been trying to come up with a cute, easy, cat toy, but inspiration eludes me at the moment.

I thought about this thread today as we found a downed hawk in a neighbor’s backyard and took it in to the Humane Society for the Wildlife Rehab lady to pick up. I put in a call to her to see if she needs anything and she said that blankets of any kind are always welcome. I asked about the knit/crochet aspect and she said that only coyotes, foxes and the odd feral cat are ever caged, but deer, and recovering birds have no problem with them. So, my neighbor and I are knitting and crocheting some small blankets for her to pick up when she releases the hawk back into our neighborhood.

The blankets that we make in the Oddball Pet snuggles forum are probably best for small animals. They are knit holding 2 strands of worsted weight yarn together. They are made in all acrilyc or all cotton yarn, so that they can be easily washed and dried. Cats tend to love them, ask any of our knitters that have worked on them! I have donated a few to my local vets office, they use them for the kitties that are recovering from surgeries, so most often they are not a danger for chewing and such because they use them for sleeping off the drug hangover :roflhard: .
I applaud anyone that wants to knit or donate for animals! good luck!