Dogs wear bandanas for several reasons. Dog bandanas come in all shapes, sizes and colours. High vis dog bandanas, different coloured dog bandanas and multi-purpose dog bandanas.
They can be used for remedial, safety, and pre-cautionary reasons and can serve different purposes when pets and their owners venture outdoors.
In this article, I will breakdown each of the reasons so you are no longer left wondering why dogs wear bandanas?
Why Do Dogs Wear Bandanas?
Dog owners put different coloured bandanas on dogs to help visually communicate how they can interact with other dogs and people. Dogs also wear bandanas to reduce anxiety, repel bugs and are worn as a fashion accessory.
The purpose of a dog bandana starts with the reason it is being used. Take for example the weather. If it is winter or you live in a cold country and your dog isn't a Labrador with multiple coats then the material of the bandana can have an impact on keeping your dog warm. A small tweed bandana could actually be beneficial in keeping your small dog cosy and warm around their neck and their chest.
Why is a Coloured Dog Bandana Better Than a Ribbon?
Many dog owners simply tie a coloured ribbon on to the leash to signify the extra space or caution that should be practiced around their dog. The problem with a ribbon on the lead is that it can be very difficult for others to see. A bandana will draw attention far quicker because it is a human instinct to look directly at the eyes and facial features of another person or animal to quickly understand it's emotion and intent if there is any.
The bandana colour provides us with all the information we need and quickly draws our attention to it which is why a bandana is a powerful and useful tool.
Why Do Dogs Wear Coloured Bandanas?
Dog Bandanas are worn in different colours for a 'signalling reason' too. The dog bandana colour is often a pre-cautionary signal to other dog owners that your dog has potential behavioural or health conditions. This helps them know to take care around you, avoid you or just simply approach with caution if the dog owner gives you the ok.
They could be very nervous, deaf, in training, blind, a service dog etc. This may seem like numerous possibilities but simply asking the owner from a safe distance will give you a clear answer on if and how to approach them.
Some dog bandanas are simply for fashion, fun and to show off that personality so don't always worry when you see one. Just approach with caution and keep an eye on the owner's communication.
Keep reading to see what the different coloured bandanas mean!
Should My Dog Wear a Bandana?
Dogs do not have to wear a bandana. If you need to signal to others something about your dog, then yes your dog should wear a bandana.
If you want them to wear one for fun and fashion, then this is fine so long as they are comfortable and happy wearing it. Most dogs are fine because they are used to wearing a collar or harness, but if you sense any distress then it would be best to not wear a harness or gradually introduce them to it by using positive training and treats.
Why Do Dogs Wear a Cooling Bandana?
In a warmer climate or if you are in England for six weeks out of the year and you are ready to visit the beer gardens to cool down with a cider then you will be better off with a dog cooling bandana made of materials which deflect sunlight and soak up water to give a consistent cooling effect to your dog.
Dog cooling bandanas have been made to cool your dog effectively on warm days. When dogs get too hot, they start to pant a lot because they cannot sweat like we can. We cool our dogs down usually by trying to cool the neck, chest and paws. The bandanas cover the neck and the chest which are two of the key areas you want to cool down.
- Take the bandana and wet it by immersing it in water
- Squeeze out the excess water
- Tie it around your dogs neck (not too tight)
- Ensure the largest part of the bandana covers the chest
Bandanas can stay cool for a couple of hours but if its a really hot day, keep covering it in water and ensure you have other dog cooling accessories available to you.
What Are Cooling Bandanas Made Of?
Cooling bandanas need to be made of water-resistant materials such as polyester fabric. It neither fully repels or absorbs water so it won't get super heavy nor will it just withstand water. Waterproof would be no good as the water would not soak into the material to keep your dog cool, it would simply repel the water.
If you want the ultimate cooling bandana materials then you need something which contains polymer crystals. If the outdoor heat is rising then one of the best spots on the body to cool down is the paws, belly, chest and neck. Bandanas around the neck can contain these polymer cooling crystals which quickly absorb water to cool the bandana and your dog. They will hold their chill for hours which makes them quite a practical item in the sun.
A word of caution
If your dog loves to tear things apart and a cooling bandana could be one of them, then the polymer crystals could spill out and be consumed by your dog. The crystals will more than likely be non-toxic, however, they will swell in water as that is what they were designed to do. if they swell inside your dog then they may cause an intestinal obstruction and a vet may be required to induce vomiting to remove them from the system.
Even though the crystals are non-toxic, they do swell in water (and will swell in your dog's system), and there is a chance they may cause an intestinal obstruction, so if he ingested this within the past 1-2 hours, it would be a good idea to induce vomiting to get them out of his system.
What Does a Red Bandana on a Dog Mean?
It is a warning to not approach just like a red sign is typically a warning. The strong colour is to catch your attention to show their dog is not always happy with interaction from dogs or humans and would prefer their own space. The owner has put this colour on for a reason so we should respect that and do our best to not cause an issue.
The worst-case scenarios we have seen before is when an unleashed dog runs up to a dog with a red bandana which never ends well. This leaves the owner of the dog with the red bandana in a very difficult and unfortunate situation and the other dog owner should be responsible and quick to act and remove their dog from any aggravated situation.
What Does a Yellow Bandana Mean on a Dog?
A yellow dog bandana is a warning and request for space. It typically means to not approach or approach with caution, but you should keep other dogs away from them. It can also be a warning that they may be scared or skittish.
What Do the Other Dog Bandana Colours Signify?
There aren't just one or two colours, there's a list of them all with different reasons. But once you see our breakdown below, it will be much easier for you to know the key colours to look out for.
Any funky looking or fashion bandanas are just that and the colour will probably be something like purple or green to show friendliness or let you know there is nothing to worry about and they can be approached.
Here is a simple breakdown of what the colours mean.
|Red||Do not approach/approach with caution|
|Orange||Not good with other dogs|
|Green||Friendly with everyone|
|Blue||Working dog or training|
|White||Deaf or blind or both|
|Yellow||Nervous - Take care|
What is a High Vis Dog Bandana?
A high vis dog bandana is typically reflective and adds a great safety feature which further re-enforces how useful a dog bandana can be. If car lights shine on it, then it will stand out which has a much greater chance of preventing a road traffic accident if your dog is in the road. The text on the bandana can be made of reflective vinyl to accomplish this.
REFLECTIVE DOG BANDANA: Now with the option to upgrade the text to a reflective vinyl (that exceeds the minimum values set by EN ISO 20471) which when illuminated by light will help your dog be easily seen in the dark (high-vis dog bandana).
Dog Bandanas for Events
Dog bandanas can be used to raise awareness of a particular event. For example at a dog birthday party or human party we wear hats and other colourful items and many would like their dogs to wear bandanas that celebrate a special birthday, especially one of a dog or a person who is a huge dog lover.
Pets and animals are becoming more and more popular at wedding events and join in on the pictures so they need to look the part.
Even brand awareness and other causes and charity's are a great excuse for wearing a bandana. Any time you need to represent something, especially dog or pet related a dog bandana could go a long way to helping such a cause.
Can Puppies Wear Bandanas?
Puppies like adult dogs can wear a dog bandana for numerous reasons. The puppy might be in training, nervous, want to socialise or wear one because they are fashionable. Different coloured bandanas will help other dog owners know how to approach your puppy.
How Should a Dog Wear a Bandana?
Bandanas can be attached in two typical ways:
1) On the collar which means the collar slips through the bandana and it hangs on the collar.
2) Hook and loop which means it simply fastens with Velcro.
Here is a size chart for the Travfurler bandanas. These are available for both dogs and cats, and they are available with or without reflective vinyl. This table shows the typical sizes to help you understand how a dog should wear a bandana and what size would be a good fit.
On-the-collar fitting sizes (slip on dog collar bandana)
XS - 10cm width, 8cm drop with a collar channel of 2.5cm
S - 12cm width, 9.5cm drop with a collar channel of 3cm
M - 19cm width, 11.5cm drop with a collar channel of 3cm
L - 26cm width, 15cm drop with a collar channel of 4.5cm
XL -35cm width, 20cm drop with a collar channel of 6.5cm
Hook and loop fitting sizes (velcro dog bandanas):
S - 15cm-30cm
M - 30cm-39cm
L - 39cm-47cm
XL - 47cm-62cm
XXL - 60cm-74cm
Is it safe for cats to wear bandanas?
What if I don't have a dog and want a bandana for my cat? Cats often wear bandanas just like dogs. A cat bandana is not seen as often when out and about and may not use the same colour coding system as dogs at the moment, however this will likely change. We sell green Travfurler cat bandanas here.
To conclude, dog bandanas are an excellent accessory that can serve multiple purposes. We should always keep an eye out for them as they can help us to understand how to behave around other people's dogs. This could prevent scaring an already nervous dog or stop an attack from happening and could help a driver to see a dog at night in the road. They allow everyone to enjoy the outdoors together whilst respecting each other's space where necessary. I hope this article has provided some indication as to why dogs wear bandanas.