Color-coded ribbons are a safe way to communicate

Just like humans, dogs have different personalities and what one dog may be comfortable with, another may struggle. While some pet owners provide anxiety relief for their dog in the way of behavioral or anxiety medications or by having them wear dog anxiety jackets, others focus on communicating their dog’s skittish behavior to others, rather than medicating or covering these behaviors up. That’s why you may see a dog with a yellow ribbon tied to their collar. The yellow ribbon signifies a skittish dog.

Shop this article: Vetoquinol Zylkene Behavior Support Small Dog and Cat Supplement, Cozyvest 3-in-1 Anti-Anxiety Jacket, Nervous Yellow Padded Dog Leash

A yellow ribbon signifies a skittish or anxious dog

There are many reasons why an owner might want to tie a yellow ribbon on their dog’s collar. Mainly, a yellow ribbon is a way to communicate to other owners how to best proceed around the animal, but individual reasons could include a service dog that’s in training, has PTSD or other health issues, is deaf or blind, a rescue dog or is generally anxious around other animals and humans, too.

What does a red ribbon on a dog’s collar mean?

Other color-coded ribbons are sometimes used to communicate different messages as well. A red ribbon tied onto a dog’s collar indicates an aggressive dog. In that case, it is advised not to approach the dog. Red and yellow are the most commonly used color-coded ribbons, but there are a few others, too.

Green indicates a friendly dog that welcomes pets, while an orange ribbon signifies that the dog likes humans, but that other dogs should keep their distance. A white ribbon is traditionally used to indicate that a dog is blind or deaf. A blue ribbon means that a dog is in service training (though yellow is sometimes used for this, too), and purple indicates that a person should not feed the dog (be it because of allergies or another reason).

Sometimes a bright yellow ribbon is used to indicate that a dog is up for adoption. Because there is a significant difference between a nervous/anxious dog and one that’s up for adoption, always ask a dog’s handler for clarification before approaching or petting. In either scenario, make sure to give the dog space.

Best products for nervous dogs

a white bottle of 30 75 mg pills

Vetoquinol Zylkene Behavior Support Small Dog and Cat Supplement

For pets that need a medical boost, this capsule uses alpha-casozepine, a naturally occurring milk protein from cow’s milk, to promote calming behavior. It’s lactose-free, easy on sensitive stomachs and starts working within 90 minutes in stressful short-term situations.

Sold by Amazon and 1800PetMeds

a yellow dog leash (6 feet long) printed with the word "nervous" in black text

Dexil Limited Nervous Yellow Padded Dog Leash

Like a yellow ribbon, this yellow dog leash communicates to other pet owners, and people in general, to be careful around this dog. To make sure nothing is lost in translation, the word “nervous” is printed on the leash.

Sold by Amazon

a husky wearing a Cozyvest 3-in-1 Anti-Anxiety Jacket. Arrows point to the different features of the vest (place for essential oils, music player and compression wrap)..

Cozyvest 3-in-1 Anti-Anxiety Jacket

Using compression that promotes feelings of calmness and safety, this vest also features a music player and pocket for essential oils. It’s designed to touch on a dog’s three senses — touch, smell and hearing — and reduces stress during fireworks, vet visits, thunderstorms, travel and separation anxiety.

Sold by Amazon and Walmart

An orange box with a picture of a dog on it; text reads: "Thunder Essence for a naturally calmer dog, with natural essential oils lavender, chamomile & Egyptian geranium." Next to it is a small bottle of calming spray.

ThunderEssence Natural Oils Calming Spray

A drug-free way to quell a skittish dog, this calming spray uses lavender, chamomile and Egyptian geranium essential oils. Pet owners can spritz it on a dog’s anti-anxiety jacket, on their bed, blanket or in the air.

Sold by PetcoAmazon and 1800PetMeds

A small dog wearing a yellow vest with the word "nervous" printed in black text on it. A top and side view of the vest by itself.

Dexil Limited Nervous (Give Me Space) Yellow Vest

This harness makes it easy to communicate to other pet owners and people that the dog wearing the vest needs to be given space. It reads “Nervous” at the front of the harness and on both sides as well. It also has both front and back rings for a no-pull walking experience.

Sold by Amazon

A rectangular box next to a small dropper bottle of CBD oil. Text on both reads: "Corn Bread Cats & Dogs Hemp Oil. Corndog flavor. 17mg serving. 500 mg bottle."

Cornbread Hemp CBD Oil for Pets

Made from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Organic Hemp Oil from Kentucky, this oral CBD supplement helps with separation anxiety, stress, overactive behavior, excessive barking and chewing and general discomfort in public settings as well. It promotes overall wellness for dogs’ hips and joints and is made without any additives, preservatives, synthetic ingredients, dairy or gluten.

Sold by Amazon

A yellow bandanna with 2 images of black paw prints on it. Black text on bandanna reads: "I'm a little scared please ask to pet."

Jxgzso Nervous Anxious Dog Bandanna

The words “I’m a little scared, please ask to pet” are emblazoned on this yellow dog bandanna. It’s also available in a similar phrase — “please don’t pet, I’m a little anxious.” Both bandannas help notify others that this dog is skittish or anxious.

Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Stephanie Osmanski writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.