You walk out the door every day with an outfit that is practical for your daily activities and conveys your unique sense of style.
As a dog lover yourself, you might have also considered accessorizing your furry best friend. Bandanas are an easy, accessible way of doing this, but are they suitable for dogs?
Yes, bandanas are good for identification, protection from the elements, and displaying important information about your dog.
But dogs can only gain these benefits and become a part of your personal style if they wear bandanas safely.
Read on to learn how your pet can wear this fashionable fabric.
Are bandanas safe for dogs?
Bandanas are safe for dogs if they are worn correctly. One of the only dangers of bandanas is the possibility of snagging on objects if it is too loose or restricting your dog’s breathing if it is too tight.
Note that a bandana shouldn’t be tighter than your dog’s collar. The commonly used “two finger rule” states that the collar should be worn just snug so your pointer and middle fingers can slide between the collar and the dog’s neck.
Adjust the bandana, so it rests about the same diameter above the collar.
Bandanas are also safe only if your dog is not prone to chewing on fabric. If you have a puppy that is teething, you might want to wait until they grow out of their teething phase to give them a bandana.
A piece of fabric can be a choking hazard or get stuck in the lower intestine if swallowed. You should always take your dog to the vet immediately if you believe your dog has ingested this or any other fabric.
7 Benefits of wearing a bandana
The main benefit of bandanas for dogs is, of course, style! You might see popular pets on social media sporting an endless variety of patterned and printed neck scarves.
Some pet companies sell gear sets (bandanas, collars, leashes, etc.) in the same print or matching pet-owner sets with accessories so you and your dog can match.
Bandanas can also be changed for different holidays and events. You may soon find yourself with a collection of dog bandanas for various occasions!
A bandana that looks unique can also help you identify your dog in certain situations. It can help your dog stand out in a crowded dog park with dogs similar in appearance to yours.
A bright color or pattern can also help you spot your dog at night if they have a dark brown or black coat.
Consider getting a personalized one with your dog’s name to make it even easier to spot your pet.
#3 Sun protection
Dogs are prone to sunburn, like us, whether they are hairless or covered in hair.
Hairless dog breeds like Xoloitzcuintli and Chinese Crested need extra sun protection.
Dogs with thinning hair or seasonal shedding may also need barriers from the sun. A bandana can provide sun protection around the necks of dogs with these sensitivities.
#4 Ease of allergies
Many dog owners understand the plight of shedding. Everything you own seems to be covered in hair, which is especially bad for those with dog allergies.
Bandanas can help catch some of the hair shed around dogs’ necks before it is passed into the air.
If you notice the cloth collecting hair, be sure to wash and change out the neckerchiefs frequently.
#5 Can convey warnings
Working dogs wear vests that display words such as “service dog,” “in training,” or “therapy dog.”
Other such gear may say “anxious” or “deaf” in order to convey information about dogs’ social abilities.
Any words about what your dog does or needs can be displayed on a personalized bandana.
It is important to note that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require the identification of service dogs on anything they wear.
However, a bandana or any other identifying gear is highly advisable because it warns others in public spaces that your dog must focus on work.
#6 Scent carrier
Bandanas can be an aid in easing your dog’s anxiety if they are sprayed with soothing scents.
Lavender oil or pheromones can be applied to the fabric, and the proximity of the scarf to your dog’s nose will increase their effects.
Be sure to use aromatherapy products approved for dogs to reduce harm if swallowed.
Similarly, bandanas can be treated with insect-repelling essential oils to defend your dog against ticks and fleas outside.
Rosemary, peppermint, and basil are some you can dilute and apply to the fabric.
You can also find commercially made insect-repelling dog bandanas if you choose not to make your own.
#7 Looks more approachable
If you notice people avoiding your dog on walks, you might consider putting a bandana on your dog, so they look more approachable.
A scarf with a cute print or bold color can make perceived “dangerous” dogs, such as German Shepherd and Pitbull terriers, look less intimidating.
Dogs in animal rescue agencies will sometimes be given bandanas as a bit of flair to look friendly to potential adopters.
How your dog can wear bandanas safely?
Before shopping for a suitable bandana to fit your dog’s personality, consider the following to ensure your pet is safely showing off its style.
Get the right size
A Great Dane and a Yorkshire Terrier clearly do not wear the same size collar, so they also need bandanas of different lengths and widths.
Make sure your dog’s neckerchief is appropriate to its size. There should be enough length to comfortably tie it around their neck and room to adjust should it come loose.
It should not hang at the top of their legs but dip at just the top of their chest.
Wash and change frequently
A bandana that is worn for a long time can gather excess oil from your dog’s hair and cause skin conditions.
It can also smell! Be sure to wash your dog’s bandanas frequently, especially if they are active and outdoors often.
You might consider purchasing multiple bandanas for your pet so they can be changed and washed easily.
Get easy to remove bandanas
Most bandanas found online and in pet stores are triangular with long extended tips to tie them in a knot around the dog’s neck.
If you struggle to put on and remove these, you can find alternatives with a snap button and Velcro closures.
Choose the right fabric
The image that comes to mind when you think of a bandana is likely one of red cotton paisley worn by everyone from cowboys to rock stars.
Cotton is a commonly used material for bandanas because it is easily washable, durable, and breathable.
Polyester and nylon are also commonly used because they are lightweight and, unlike cotton, can wick away moisture from your dog should it get wet.
Choose a material that you find easy to maintain and fits you and your dog’s lifestyle.
Although bandanas make your dogs look unique, do not rely on them as their only form of identification should they get lost.
Always ensure your dog wears a collar with a dog tag engraved with your address and phone number.
You can also consider the extra precaution of a tracking device secured to the collar.
When did dogs start wearing bandanas?
Although the origin of bandanas on dogs is unclear, we know these pieces of cloth have a long history of human use.
The word bandana comes from the Hindi word bāndhnū or “tie-dyeing.”
The most recognizable style is paisley, but in India, these square pieces of silk and/or cotton cloth were originally dyed many different colors and patterns.
Bandana also comes from the Hindi word bāndhnā, which means “to tie.”
In some religions, women secure similar pieces of cloth around their heads as Christian head-coverings to conceal their hair. They are also used as accessories worn around the head and neck.
In American history, labor workers used these handkerchiefs or neckerchiefs to wipe off stains, blow their noses, and protect their faces from the elements.
It is not known exactly when dogs started wearing bandanas. Still, it is easy to imagine how a cowboy protecting their face from dust or a person who simply loves fashion would give their dog the benefits of versatility and style.
People have used bandanas in everyday life throughout history and culture, and it is easy to see how one person simply thought to tie it onto a man’s best friend.
As long as humans have had dogs at their side and an interest in fashion, we have shown off our dogs’ personalities through their own clothing or accessories.
Bandanas are an accessible, easy way of displaying your dog’s uniqueness with endless patterns and colors to fit your dog’s appearance.
Your dog not only shows off their own style, but among other benefits, they gain protection from the elements and the ability to stand out in a crowd.
Your relationship with your dog may get stronger when you show the world how your dog is as unique as you.