If You See a Dog With a Red Collar, This Is What It Means

When you see adorable dogs, it’s hard not to want to pet them. With their floppy ears and doggy swagger, the first thing you want to do is give them some ear scratches or a belly rub. Though petting a dog might seem like a great way to get your daily quota of endorphins, but it’s not always a good idea — especially if the dog is wearing a red collar or bandana. Red is the universal sign for “stop.” We see it on stop signs and stoplights around the world, and it’s a prominent color for police sirens and fire trucks. Red gives us reason to pause and be cautious, which is exactly why some dogs wear red collars or bandanas, as well as red leashes. Red is the signal that the pet is aggressive and needs space from both people and other animals. They’re known to snap at or bite passersby, attack other dogs, or even lunge at people. These pets might be perfectly fine at home around their owners, but they become overly protective of them when they’re out. In some cases, red collars are worn by service/working dogs that shouldn’t be approached. Typically, they wear a vest that indicates they’re a service dog or emotional support animal, often accompanied by the warning “DO NOT PET.” As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to use caution when approaching a dog you don't know and to always ask permission before extending your hand. If the owner says they would prefer you didn’t pet their dog, it's likely to protect you, the pup, and the owner.