People still have misconceptions about dogs wearing muzzles on the street as they walk next to their owners. It seems like a muzzle is a warning sign of aggression in dogs but that isn’t always the case. Dogs must not be judged whether or not they have a muzzle on. Perhaps the owner just wants to be cautious because we never know what could happen beyond the comforts of our home or in our yard.
The best dog muzzle is one that could protect you, other people and your dog as well. It is not uncommon for dogs to wear muzzles even if they show no signs of aggression. In fact, there are some places in the world that require certain breeds to wear muzzles in public (breeds that could get aggressive easily). Choosing the right muzzle for your dog will mostly depend on your purpose so you first have to identify why your dog needs a muzzle. In the first place, does your dog really need a muzzle?
When to use and when not to use a muzzle
Muzzles are used to prevent dogs from biting you or other people. Though biting is in a dog’s nature as an animal, it would be a great hassle if you were bitten by your own pet. There are certain instances that put dogs in distress like when they are in pain, panic or feel threatened which may cause them to be aggressive. The following are instances wherein a muzzle could be used:
- Training: Training a dog isn’t easy. This puts dog trainers at risk for the misbehavior of the still-untrained dog. Thus, a muzzle could be used as a form of restraint for the mean time to prevent being bitten.
- Control: This does not just mean control from causing harm to others, but muzzles could also prevent your dog from picking up random things in the park and eating them while you take your morning walk with them. This could also control excessive barking.
- Grooming: Nail clipping, hair cutting or simply hair brushing may cause distress for a dog. In order to protect the dog groomer, muzzles are used to help them keep still without biting.
- Vaccinations: Because this involves sticking a needle in the dog which may involve a little pain, muzzles may be used to protect the veterinarian.
- Medical purposes: There would be times wherein your dog might require topical medications for skin allergies. Muzzles will prevent them from licking the ointment from their skin.
Muzzles could be great help in dealing with dogs, but putting them on our pets is not the solution to our problems, especially when they are not supervised.
Though muzzles are there to prevent injury to ourselves, others and other dogs in the case of dog bites, muzzles definitely should not be used in a few of the situations listed below:
- Substitute for behavior modification: There are many ways to train dogs and putting them in muzzles for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week is not proper training. They might just turn out to be more aggressive once the muzzle is out. Besides, if ever the muzzle breaks, this does not guarantee that the dog will not bite you or others.
- Prevention of injury: Though we prevent aggression and the possibility of your dog to bite others, a muzzle cannot guarantee being injury-free. Dogs wearing muzzles could still illicit injury to the people around by bumping on them. People could still be injured, especially children.
- Unaccustomed dogs: Of course, every dog would be uncomfortable wearing a muzzle at first. You cannot force your dogs to like it. Forcing them would result to injury to your dog while he tries to take off the muzzle forcefully in any way he could. This may cause scratches and even wounds all over your dog. There are creative ways to introduce the muzzle to your dog. One way is to put treats in the muzzle to make him like it.
Choosing the right muzzle
Just like people, every dog is unique in its own amazing ways. Accompanying their unique attitude and characteristics, dogs have unique facial features as well. Dogs have different snouts. Some are short while some are long. This factor tells us that not one muzzle could fit every breed. Muzzles come in different sizes that would be perfect for your dog.
This is to address the factors we have to consider when choosing the right muzzle for your dog:
- Comfort so they can move about
- Airflow and respiration
- Decreased risk for injury
- Proper fitting
- Right heaviness
There are different kinds of muzzles available in the market using different materials coming in different styles. To figure out how to pick the best one, please read our article on how to pick the best muzzle.
Basket type muzzles
This type of muzzle is absolutely dog friendly. They could be made out of different materials such as wire or plastic. The wire basket muzzle is of better quality than those made of plastic because of their sturdiness, but the plastic still works the same way. It is not too tight-fitting, keeping airflow continuous by allowing your dogs to pant.
This is ideal for use when walking in the park, since it also allows them to drink and to some extent, eat as well. As you play with your dog in the park, the basket muzzle would allow you to slip little treats into their mouth for extra happiness. These basket muzzles are perfect for long snouted dogs, but there are also muzzles made for short snouted dogs and they are tied to their foreheads for better fitting.
Here are a few examples of great basket muzzles for your pooch:
Police style muzzle
They resemble the basket muzzles but are made of leather. These are especially used for dogs known to be aggressive by nature. If you wish to purchase them online, the search words used for these kinds of muzzles are “Attack Muzzles”, and mind you, they stand up for what they are called.
Most often, we would see dogs wearing attack muzzles walking with the authorities, sniffing bombs and doing rounds in the crime scene, but of course, they are not limited to that only.
These muzzles are not only available for police canines, but they are also available for pets of any breed. These muzzles offer great control because of their sturdy material. The leather mesh type has gaps that allow dogs to breathe, pant and take a few sips of water when needed. There are also leather muzzles that simply have holes all over it. Nevertheless, they don’t give dogs a difficult time to breathe.
This type of muzzle is made out of a strong nylon fabric that keeps the dog’s mouth shut. It does its job real well by preventing dog bites and this could be adjustable at the back of the dog’s neck. However, this is not recommended to be put on for long periods.
A few minutes should be enough since its tight fitting nature does not allow dogs to pant, compromising their airflow and respiration through the mouth. This is the type of muzzle used in a veterinarian’s clinic wherein a procedure is down quickly, such as vaccinations or check-ups.
This is not a one-size-fits-all type of muzzle. They come in different sizes depending on how long or large the snout of your dog is. They also come in different colors when you prefer your toy dog breeds to walk in style and high fashion with you.
This is a new type of muzzle using contemporary materials that comes in different colors for the personal style of the dog and the owner.
Like the other types of muzzles, the silicone muzzle could help control biting, barking and chewing unnecessary things especially while having a walk in public parks and roads.
One design that has become a hit to many pet owners is the duckbill design that makes your dog’s snout look like a duck’s. Its soft material prevents injuries from scratching or scraping. With its very cute design, this is ideal for tiny breeds you could simply carry around.
If you need a muzzle in a pinch, you can always learn how to make your own dog muzzle.
The main purpose of muzzles is to prevent injury from occurring whether you are inside or outside your home. However, we must remember that muzzles are not the solution to your dog’s aggressive problems if ever they are present. There are many ways to handle and train dogs.
The holistic approach in controlling your dog involves having a deep understanding of your dog’s issues and how stress could be managed effectively. This is far more effective than any muzzle you put on their mouth because it would last longer than you could imagine. You can start to learn by the basics by reading our article on dog aggression training.
As they say, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. In case only muzzles could work at the moment, there are many available out there. The trick is finding the muzzle that fits your dog right.