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National Dogs in Yellow Day 2024: When Is It & How to Celebrate

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By Nicole Cosgrove

sheltie puppy wearing yellow rain coat jacket

A lot of dogs are friendly, confident, and love the attention of all people and other dogs. But, as with people, there are some dogs that can be very anxious. Anxious dogs still need exercising and may enjoy some level of socialization but may not appreciate being approached by people or hounded by other dogs. Otherwise, perfectly pleasant dogs can lunge and growl when they get anxious while on their leads. National Dogs in Yellow Day is a national day, started in the UK in 2022, and that is celebrated on 20th March.

It encourages owners to raise awareness of anxious dogs. As well as sharing information on social media and by talking to other owners and people, anxious dog owners are encouraged to dress their dogs in yellow, which shows others that the dog is anxious. The hope is that by raising awareness of anxious dogs, and the wearing of yellow dog jackets or harnesses to signify anxious dogs, all dogs can enjoy respectful time out on walks free from stress.

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What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?

There are a lot of potential causes of anxiety in dogs. When at home, they can become anxious if they are left alone for too long without companionship. They may become anxious if they hear noises or feel that something is trying to get into the house.

Dogs that have been abandoned or have endured cruelty at some point in their lives, may develop anxiety. Poor socialization may lead to anxiety around certain groups of people, for example, people in uniforms or children.

Out of the house, dogs can be anxious of traffic or bicycles. They may get anxious around groups of people, and many dogs are anxious about meeting other dogs even if they are well-behaved and on a lead.

boxer lying on the carpet
Photo Credit: heathergunn, Pixabay

National Dogs in Yellow Day

National Dogs in Yellow Day was founded by dog owner Sarah Jones. Her dog, Bella, was attacked by another dog as a puppy. As a result of this attack, Bella gets anxious around other dogs. She can growl and even lunge at other dogs. Sarah established National Dogs in Yellow Day to encourage owners of anxious dogs to spread the word about anxious dogs.

Owners are encouraged to don their dogs in yellow jackets or harnesses, possibly including black text to identify the dog as an anxious dog, and take them out as normal.

The first National Dogs in Yellow Day took place in 2022 and is set to continue annually. Social media users can expect to see more posts raising awareness of the yellow jacket and the plight faced by anxious dogs. People are encouraged to give dogs in yellow extra space and time and to be more understanding of the behavior of dogs wearing yellow harnesses at all times, especially on National Dogs in Yellow Day.

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The 5 Ways to Combat Anxiety in Dogs

Treating an anxious dog can be difficult. You can’t speak to your dog to determine the cause of anxiety, so you will need to look for clues to identify the cause. This will make it easier to help combat the anxiety. Possible ways to treat or combat anxiety in dogs include:

1. Exercise

Exercise is vital to the physical and mental health of any dog. If your dog gets stressed and anxious while out of the house, it can be tempting to forego walks, especially if you’re not feeling very sociable yourself. However, dogs need exercise every day, and with some dogs, it may help desensitize your dog to whatever is causing the stress.

french bulldog walking with owner outdoor
Photo Credit: JACLOU-DL, Pixabay

2. Socialisation

Another key component to raising a well-adjusted dog is good socialization. Socialization introduces a dog to different people and different situations, showing them that new situations do not need to be feared. When socializing a dog, always start slowly and build up gradually. Try to ensure that your dog is introduced to men and women, young and old, as well as people in wheelchairs, on bicycles, and in uniforms. Walk different routes to introduce your dog to new situations but be patient with their development.

3. Space and Time

If your dog gets anxious, whether indoors or outdoors, be prepared to give them a little space and time. Crowding an anxious dog can enhance their anxiety and may exacerbate the problem. Some owners find crate training can help, or you can provide an area in one room where your dog can go to settle.

dog lying on the floor
Image Credit: Dominik QN, Unsplash

4. Stress Vests and Anxiety Clothing

Stress vests, sometimes also called thunder vests, sit snugly around the dog and provide physical and emotional comfort. You can also get anxiety coats and other items of clothing designed for this purpose, and they do come in yellow so that you can let others know that your dog suffers anxiety in certain situations.

5. Understanding

Anxious dogs can growl and lunge at other dogs while out on a walk. Other owners and members of the public may frown and react, but your dog needs the support of those who are closest to it. You need to be understanding and provide support as well as training and equipment.

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National Dogs in Yellow Day is celebrated on 20th March and started in 2022. The day aims to raise awareness of dogs that suffer anxiety, especially while out on walks. Owners are encouraged to put yellow harnesses or jackets on their anxious dogs—items that can also include text like “anxious dog”. Other owners are encouraged to give anxious dogs space and not to react negatively when they see them.

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Featured Image Credit: arturs.stiebrins, Shutterstock

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