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Best Dog Bandanas: Canine Fashion for Every Occasion

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You want your dog to look perfect for a photo-op, but they hate wearing clothing. It's a special occasion, and something extra's needed. Luckily, dog bandanas come work perfectly! And most dogs don't even mind wearing them - letting them look adorable for every situation.

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Dogs in clothes top the list of adorable things you can find on the internet. From Halloween costumes to formal garb, it’s all precious. And some dogs don’t mind clothing. Other dogs, though, run the other way. You’d love it if your pup dressed up a little for the next family photo, but they fall into the latter category. Good thing there’s a simple compromise. Dog bandanas come in every color, pattern, and style, making them work for every occasion. And since they fit like a collar, dogs don’t mind wearing them!

Canine Fashion

If you have a hairless breed, odds are you also have a closet of outfits for your pup. The need to keep those dogs warm in drafts makes dog sweaters and dog coats a necessity. The smaller dog set often enjoys parading around in the latest fashions, too. And if you’ve introduced your kiddo to clothing from a young age, they may not mind putting clothes on.

Other dogs have no concept of clothing. It’s difficult tracking down outfits that fit giant breeds. And if your dog has an exceptionally thick hair coat, they won’t tolerate an extra layer of clothing. (Imagine wearing THREE winter coats at one time!) But you still want your pooch to look fancy now and then. Which is where dog bandanas come in.

Dog Bandanas

Dog bandanas may seem simple (they’re really squares of cloth), but they add the perfect touch to your dog’s look. And since fabric comes in every color and pattern imaginable (not to mention every style), you can find a dog bandana that works for every occasion:

  • Holidays
  • Seasons
  • Parties (Anniversaries, Birthdays, Gotcha Days, etc.)
  • Weddings

But dog bandanas also have a useful side. They can serve important functions for you and your dog:

  • Messages can let passersby know they’re a service dog, blind dog, anxious dog, or even a friendly dog
  • Large dog bandanas can help prevent sunburn in dogs with thin – or no – hair coats (though you should still add sunscreen)
  • Some dog bandanas have cooling technology, bringing your dog’s temperature down for a few hours
  • You can add calming sprays to the dog bandana when your dog’s out in public

Dog bandanas are fun, functional, AND fashionable accessories!

Choosing a Dog Bandana

Finding a dog bandana (or fifteen) isn’t difficult. There are THOUSANDS to choose from, with more appearing every day. You can even make your own (patterns swarm the internet) if you’re handy with a sewing machine. And fabric…well, step into your nearest craft store, and you’ll end up overwhelmed with choices. But before you start going dog bandana-crazy, make sure you keep a few things in mind:

  • Size: Believe it or not, dog bandanas aren’t one-size-fits-all. You need to measure the circumference (all the way around) of your dog’s neck before you buy one.
  • Material: You may have a weakness for sequins, but your dog probably doesn’t want them against their skin. Look for breathable, quality fabrics. You may need to pay a little more, but your dog will thank you.
  • Cleaning: Even if you only use the dog bandana for a few quick photoshoots, it’s going to pick up dirt and body oils. You want to make sure you can wash the bandana for future use.
  • Closure: Most dog bandanas are simple squares of fabric. You fold them into a triangle and tie a knot. However, you CAN find Velcro, clasps, snaps, and clips if you want alternatives. It’s up to you.
  • Special Options: Do you want more than a fashion accessory? Are you looking for a dog bandana with embroidery to let people know you have an anxious dog? Or do you need a cooling bandana? If you want something special, narrow your focus.

Fastening a Dog Bandana

For most dog bandanas, you’ll get the traditional square piece of fabric. You want to make sure your dog stays comfortable when you attach it, even if you’re only anticipating they’ll wear it for an hour or so. If you haven’t fastened a bandana on your dog before, it’s pretty simple.

  1. Fold the dog bandana in half to get a triangle.
  2. Wrap it around your dog’s neck.
  3. Tie the two adjacent corners. You want it sturdy enough to hold but not so tight you’ll have to hunt down scissors to remove it.
  4. Make sure you can fit two fingers under the bandana. (It’s the same rule you use for collars and harnesses)

If you happen to have a sighthound, a word of warning: that bandana is going to slide along their long neck. I speak from personal experience. We always tie dog bandanas around our Greyhound’s neck where her martingale sits, and she shakes it around her neck EVERY time. (And then proceeds to pull it off. She HATES them) Long necks get tricky.

The Best Dog Bandanas

Dog bandanas might be the perfect canine accessory. They let you express your personality in a simple way that doesn’t bother your dog. You can make the bandana functional in other ways, choosing bright colors to draw the eye of those around you to important messages. Or you can include your pup at formal events – skipping tuxedos and gowns. And since dog bandanas fit comfortably, like a collar, dogs don’t mind wearing them. How do you beat that?

The Best Cooling Dog Bandana

When temperatures climb, you start worrying about heatstroke. And you start checking the boxes on keeping your dog cool. Do you have a swimming pool or another water source they can swim in? Is there plenty of water available for drinking? Adding a cooling dog bandana can pitch in on your summer plans. Many of them allow you to drop your dog’s temperature by 5-20 degrees! They work on the same technology as the cooling towels you use when working out in the yard. And your dog gets to look chic at the same time!

All for Paws wants to make sure your dog stays comfortable when the mercury rises. You dunk the dog bandana into water, squeeze out the excess, then pop it into the fridge for 10 minutes to prepare it. The cold-sensing fabric then goes to work, resisting the outside temperatures and keeping your pup nice and cool for up to four hours before it needs recharging. You get three different sizes to choose from, and it closes with Velcro.

Downsides? If your dog has long hair, the cooling technology may not work through all that fluff. Also, the sizing runs small, so double-check your measurements and then go up to stay on the safe side.

The Good

The Bad

The Best Single Dog Bandanas

You have a birthday party coming up, and you want your dog to look perfect at the celebration. Or maybe you want a cute accessory for your pup to wear out on their walks. You want the perfect touch for a spontaneous photo-op out in the park. Whatever the reason, you only need one dog bandana for the occasion – not an entire suite of them. Not a problem! You can always find an adorable bandana to suit your needs. And before you know it, your pup will have a personal collection of cute dog bandanas to choose from!

Dog Mama Shirt Shop knows you have a sassy side – or, rather, your dog does. With a cute saying to make everyone laugh, you’re sure to impress. And you know your dog’s Instagram followers will get a kick out of this dog bandana. You have three size options in TWELVE color choices, which will really personalize things. The handmade bandana washes without a problem, though you want to let it air-dry flat to keep it looking its best.

Downsides? The only big concern here is that the shop doesn’t accept returns if there’s a problem. Make sure you take those measurements carefully, so you get the size correct the first time.

The Good

The Bad

Birthdays are always a big occasion. And when it’s your pup’s day, you want everyone to know it. So Hecho provides the perfect dog bandana. The cotton square is pre-softened for your dog’s comfort (though they still recommend you wash it before use). The colors pop, and it’s a cinch to tie.

The downsides? Unhappily, you only get one size to choose from, so a lot of dogs are going to miss out on the birthday fun. Also, it clearly says “birthday BOY,” so the ladies get left out. But for a few quick photos with your pup, it’s not bad.

The Good

The Bad

We don’t want to leave the lovely ladies out of birthday celebrations. Or maybe you want to surprise a friend or relative on their big day. That’s where Tail Trends comes in. Their cotton dog bandana has reinforced stitching on the edging to help it last through multiple birthdays. You can put it through the delicate cycle and leave it out dry flat. Two sizes accommodate most pups, and they have ELEVEN styles to choose from, including a Gotcha Day! The boomerang shape makes tying those ends a little easier on you, too.

So what’s the downside? Sizing runs small. Go up.

The Good

The Bad

Unique Style Paws has the perfect dog bandanas to choose from for those looking for a more classic look. The dual-layer of soft cotton ties in the traditional manner and feels comfortable on your dog’s neck. You can throw them in the washing machine, leaving them to air-dry on a flat surface. Two different sizes come in THIRTEEN plaid and floral patterns (with one watermelon sneaking in there – just for fun). Your dog will look fantastic, no matter what season it is.

Downsides? Considering you’re only getting a single dog bandana, some people felt the cost was a little steep. As this style lends itself to frequent wear, there were also some problems with tearing. You may want to take it easy or minimize how often your pup dons their cute bandana.

The Good

The Bad

Perhaps you’d rather skip the hassle of a tie closure. YaoYao has you covered. Their dog bandanas come with adjustable buckles, working like an ordinary collar. The soft cotton fabric comes in four different colors, and you can personalize it with your kiddo’s name (in TWELVE different thread options!). Four different sizes mean almost every dog has a chance to join in on the fun. Best of all, this bandana’s machine washable!

The downsides? The cotton fabric tends to pill when washed. Also, people felt this bandana looked more like a bib than a bandana. It’s up to you whether you feel that’s a problem.

The Good

The Bad

The Best Dog Bandana Set

Let’s face it: if your dog doesn’t mind wearing dog bandanas, you want to keep more than one on-hand. You need to change colors and patterns depending on the season (or day). And when you find the perfect style that works, it helps to get an entire set. Lucky for you, dog bandana sets exist! Now you can keep your pup looking fantastic while you wash the bandanas they aren’t wearing. It’s a nice option for anyone wanting to ensure their dog looks amazing at all times.

If you have a dog with refined taste, you want the KZHAREEN dog bandana set. Styled after Japanese kimonos, the flower patterns will look stunning on any pooch – in any season! The cotton is an official kimono fabric, and the seam and threads are all internal, letting you reverse the bandana without a problem. You can choose from two sizes, and you get four different patterns in the set. Best of all, they’re machine washable!

Downside? Sizing can run a little small. Make sure you’re careful with your measurements.

The Good

The Bad

Odi Style keeps your dog looking stylish in multiple hues of buffalo plaid. The washable cotton is soft and breathable, in four bright colors that work for any pup. You can choose from two different sizes, which fit most dogs.

The downsides? Unlike the typical dog bandana, this one comes as a triangle, not a square. As a result, it tends to the small side and rolls up easier when you tie it. The fabric’s also on the thin side.

The Good

The Bad

Plaid is always a popular dog bandana option. Petsvv lets you take their unique plaid patterns and reverse them, saving on constant washing. The dyed cotton yarn keeps the bandana breathable, comfortable, and absorbent (in case you have a drooler). You get six colorful patterns in each set, and there are two sets to choose from. You can wash them by hand or opt for the machine.

So what are the downsides? Unhappily, this dog bandana set only comes in one size, and it’ll fit small dogs only. Also, when you put them in the washing machine, you’ll notice pilling of the fabric. Something to keep in mind.

The Good

The Bad

Travel Bus continues the plaid trend in dog bandanas. However, the reversible cotton fabric gives you the option of stripes or checkers, letting you change up your dog’s wardrobe. Two different sizes work well, especially as you can roll the edges down for smaller canines. The fabric’s lightweight and breathable, but it’ll look fantastic throughout the year.

Downsides? These dog bandanas are prone to shrinking AND wrinkling. You’ll need to do some extra laundry work. Also, the stitching tends to fray with prolonged wear. Just keep an eye on your dog, as you don’t want them playing with the threads.

The Good

The Bad

Ready for the Close-Up

Photo-ops are everywhere these days. Whether you’re including your dog in your wedding, posing for vacation pictures, or celebrating your dog’s Gotcha Day, you want them to look their best. But a complete outfit? It’s probably not in the cards for some dogs. Dog bandanas make the perfect substitution. Your dog looks amazing, the bandana adds to the festive atmosphere, and your pup stays comfortable.

And when you feel good, you look good. That works whether you’re human or canine!

So find that perfect dog bandana for your picture needs. Even if it’s just because it’s Tuesday. I promise you can find a bandana that works!

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician for 10 years, focusing on Emergency/ICU and later Cardiology, as well as volunteering at both the Philadelphia Zoo and Virginia Living Museum for over six years. She's now a freelance writer, but she gravitates toward writing projects with a focus on animals (once an animal-lover, always an animal-lover). She lives in Virginia with her husband, three cats (one "works" as her personal assistant), and a Greyhound who thinks she's a big cat — all of them rescues.

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