For some pet parents, the idea of putting a dog muzzle on their dog is an unsettling one. Will she be able to drink, eat or even breathe properly? Won't it be rather painful? Isn't it quite a cruel idea in the first place? When should a muzzle be used? Is using a dog muzzle ever justified? There really are so many questions around what can be a rather difficult issue.
The use of dog muzzles can appear to be controversial, but in general experts do agree that there are some situations in which they are called for, either to protect the pup, to protect a person or sometimes even to do both. And these situations can arise unexpectedly, so even if you never have a reason to shop for dog muzzles it is always a good idea, as an educated pet parent - which is what every dog needs - to understand a little more about them.
What Kind of Situations Might Call for a Dog Muzzle?
Just when might you need to make use of dog muzzle? Here is a look at some of the possible reasons.
In an Emergency: Sometimes if a dog is ill or injured it may bite as a result of pain or anxiety he does not quite understand. This is a natural reaction and rarely a reflection on the temeprent of the dog.
To meet a breed restriction: In some areas of the country breed restrictions call for any member of a certain dog breed to wear a muzzle when out in public. While this is rather unfair it is sometimes the only way a loving pet parent can continue to care for their precious pup.
Grooming: Grooming is a must for most dogs in order to keep their coat clean and healthy and prevent skin infections and other problems. While some dogs go to the groomers just fine others just never quite get used to it, so the pet parent supervised use of a dog muzzle may be a sensible precaution.
What a muzzle should not be used for is to prevent barking, chewing or other behavioral problems. There are two basic reasons for this. The first is that dog muzzles are only designed to be worn for short periods of time. The second is that these are behavioral issues that have real causes that need to addressed with a vet and/or a canine behavior specialist. A dog muzzle should also never be used as a punishment.
Types of Dog Muzzles
If you have determined that the occasional use of a dog muzzle might be called for for your pup then when you begin to shop for one you will find that you have two basic options, even though there will be many different makes and 'models' to choose from:
Basket Dog Muzzle
A basket dog muzzle fits over the pups face to mobilize the mouth but, depending on the style, tends to allow the pup to still drink or pant. For a larger dog a wire basket muzzle may be the best way to prevent biting but for most mid sized to smaller dogs a softer, silicone option is the better choice.
Fabric Dog Muzzle
These dog muzzles, which are usually crafted from a tough fabric such as nylon, are usually one piece items that are easier to put on than a basket muzzle. As they don't allow for panting or drinking though they should only be used for a very short time (like that trip to the groomers)
Helping Your Pup Get Used to a Dog Muzzle
Most pups reaction to a muzzle being placed for the first time is one of fear and anxiety if they are not introduced to it properly first. Here is one way of doing that:
Let your pup sniff the muzzle. After a few minutes give her a small treat, Then repeat the process a few times.
Next, touch your pup's nose with the muzzle and let him 'explore' it with his nose. Then hold the muzzle in one hand and a treat in the other, so that in order to get the treat she will have to put her nose into the muzzle.
Gently slide the muzzle into place, while all the time reassuring your pup everything is OK. When it has been in place for, at most, a minute or so, take it off and offer another treat.
If you have the time - if the muzzle is to be used during a walk, or for a grooming appointment - this process should be repeated several times more before you have your dog wear it for a longer period. If the muzzle is being used to prevent biting after an illness or injury that may not be possible, but you should still go through this process at least once so that the idea of wearing the muzzle is not as frightening for your pup.
Sizing a Dog Muzzle the Right Way
If you are shopping for a dog muzzle you will need to ensure that it is the right size for your dog's face. That is because the right fit is key to the safe use of dog muzzles. If the muzzle is too large it will fall off, and if it is too small it will hurt your pup to wear it.
To properly size your dog for a muzzle measure across the narrowest and broadest parts of your dog's nose and note these measurements down so you can refer to them while shopping. You may also want to consider a dog muzzle that offers some level of adjustability.
Know that you know more about dog muzzles you will be better prepared to shop for one if you need to. We offer a range of dog muzzles that are safe and well constructed that will allow you to muzzle your dog if needed in a caring, humane manner.