You would be right to think and even say that dogs wearing muzzles have a bad reputation. To most people, they look intimidating and scary – even the cutest of dog breeds may look unapproachable.
But, despite their negative perception, they are for a good cause. They can help:
- Prevent your dog from lashing out – They give a dog that is easy to anger, a chronic scavenger, or has a history of biting the chance to romp and play freely and be happy. A muzzle also keeps the people and pets around your dog safe.
- Ease carrying out medical procedures – With a muzzle, your vet can easily carry out complex medical procedures on your dog. It especially comes in handy in times of medical emergency. A frightened or injured puppy is more likely to bite, specifically in a case where you need to move them.
- Keep your dog safe – A muzzle is a perfect control measure if your dog loves the garbage pit and gutter bites.
Introducing Your Dog To Wearing A Muzzle
It is not a walk in the park. Most dogs tend to resist wearing a muzzle on the first try, but with gradual exposure over time, they can warm up to it. Be keen on watching your dog’s reaction at every step of the process. If they show a consistently positive attitude, you are good to go, but if they portray a negative feel for it, let them be.
When choosing a muzzle for your dog, consider the size, fit, and style. Getting this right will ensure the muzzle is effectively used and securely and comfortably held on your pup’s snout.
Related: Should You Use a Dog Muzzle? The Truth Behind Dog Muzzle
Measure Your Dog
The measurements are in length and circumference.
Length – Take measurements from your dog’s eye to the tip of its nose.
Circumference – Measure your dog approximately 1″ below their eyes.
You are advised to add a few inches for circumference to prevent tightening.
Small puppy – 1/4″ to 1/2″
Large dog – 1/2″ to 1″
The Available Muzzle Options
There are four major types of dog muzzles, namely: Basket Muzzle, occlusion muzzle, short snout muzzle, and homemade muzzle. Either of the above is a good muzzle, as long as it is all comfortable and safe for your canine companion.
As the name suggests, it features a basket weave pattern that you strap to your dog’s nose and mouth. The muzzle helps prevent your dog from biting, allows airflow, and keeps your dog cool. At the same time, the basket muzzle allows your dog to eat small-sized treats comfortably.
It is worth noting that even though your furry friend can eat small-sized treats, it will not be able to take in food and water or bite and chew at inedible things. This makes the basket muzzle a good tool when training your dog not to bite and tear on furniture or inedible items around the home.
Most basket dog muzzles are made with adjustable straps that go around the back of your pup’s head to give a comfortable and secure fit.
They are also the recommended muzzle type if your pup barks constantly. The basket muzzle is a training aid for your dog to bark less often.
Basket Muzzles are made from various materials, including wire, plastic, silicone, and biothane.
1. Wire Basket Muzzle
This is the sturdiest of all the materials used to make basket dog muzzles. It is primarily meant to tame your puppy if it has a habit of biting.
If you go for this basket muzzle, add a layer of padding for comfort. The pad also serves as a preventive measure to keep your dog from constantly rubbing against the wire, which could lead to bruising.
2. Plastic Dog Muzzle
Plastic comes in many types, including soft or moldable muzzles or very hard, rigid ones. Plastic muzzles are the most affordable type. However, this calls for you to be keen, as some could be cheap due to low quality.
The plastic muzzles are mostly designed to be strong enough for an average dog. If your canine friend is aggressive and tough, then the plastic-made muzzle may not be the best choice.
3. Silicone Dog Muzzle
Muzzles made from this material are usually almost similar to the plastic type, only they are softer. It is also considered more food and child safe than other materials. Since a muzzle is usually close to your dog’s mouth and snout, silicone dog muzzles are more advocated.
4. Biothane Dog Muzzle
This type is made from coated webbing, making it soft, flexible, and long-lasting. It is lighter than leather in comparison but happens to be as tough and more durable. Many paw parents prefer the biothane muzzle, considering it is ultra-comfortable. It is one of the best muzzle materials there are in the market.
During the training phase, you are advised to purchase a basket muzzle with side slits. Through the slits, you can easily slip in your dog’s treats like sliced or diced hot dogs. The treats are meant to encourage and reward your dog, especially if the muzzle is for disciplinary purposes.
Ready-made basket muzzles are available at malls and pet stores, but some dog owners prefer to have theirs custom-made to fix their canines’ specific snout shape.
The wire basket muzzle is the most effective tool to prevent your dog from biting. It is also an excellent choice for larger dog breeds. Depending on how strong your pup’s breed or jaws are, other softer material muzzles may not withstand their fight.
You may choose between soft nylon and plastic muzzles for average and smaller dog breeds.
Also known as the soft muzzle, it is mainly made from fabric nylon sleeve or mesh and is less comfortable than the basket muzzle.
The occlusion muzzle takes the form of a straightjacket and is wrapped around your dog’s mouth, keeping it closed at all times. It is designed to accommodate adjustable nylon straps that wrap around the back of your dog’s head to ensure a secure and comfortable fit. The muzzle’s major function is to help control your dog from biting and barking.
It would be best if you only left the occlusion muzzle on your dog for short periods. Have it strapped for short dog grooming procedures, walk around the block, or brief veterinary visits. Leaving the muzzle on for a long duration can be quite uncomfortable for your dog as it hinders mouth movements, including pants. Dogs pant to cool their system down and dissipate heat from the body since, unlike humans, they do not sweat. Preventing them from panting will agitate them and make them detest the muzzle.
Moreover, you are never to have your dog wear an occlusion muzzle during hot weather, indoor or outdoor. Keep in mind the soft muzzle doesn’t allow your dog to pant; it leads to them overheating. Being overly heated could cause your dog to have a stroke. This is even more dangerous if your dog is the kind that likes to play outside a lot.
Though the occlusion muzzle can help control barking and biting, most animal experts do not advocate for it as it restrains your canine companion from eating and drinking anything. It would help if you gave your dog treats now and then to make training easier.
Short Snout Muzzle
If your fur baby has a short nose, the basket or occlusion muzzles will not be a good fit for them. That is where the short snout muzzle comes in. It is ideal for breeds such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, English bulldogs, and French Bulldogs.
Short snout muzzles are made of breathable mesh. They are designed to cover the whole face, leaving only a small but comfortable snout opening for your dog’s nose and mouth to fit. This helps them breathe and pant easily while preventing them from barking and biting. Some makes have an eye hole to allow the dog to see clearly and comfortably.
Home-Made Dog Muzzle
You can make a muzzle by yourself, but it is more of a temporary than a permanent option. There are different ways to go about it.
You can use a gauze roll, a pair of pantyhose, or your dog’s leash to wrap around their snout and mouth. To put it on, approach your dog slowly as you would in the case of any muzzle and have them sit or lay with you. Wrap the gauze roll, leash, or fabric around your dog’s snout and the back of its head. Tie it at the back, ensuring the knot is firm.
Note that the right fit is key to using a muzzle correctly. Make it too loose, and your dog will take it off: have it too tight, and your puppy won’t be able to breathe, eat or drink. It must be a comfortable fit that allows your dog to breathe easily. Ensure the straps fit one finger between your dog’s head and the strap.
Try several sizes and consider advice from a professional trainer or experienced muzzle user.
There are various types of muzzles, including the option to make one at home. However, if you can, it is best to order a ready-made muzzle, as the materials used at home are not the best. Moreover, making your dog wear a homemade muzzle can be more difficult.
Remember to take your dog’s measurements, especially when ordering a muzzle online. If you own a flat-faced dog like a pug, they can wear muzzles that have been custom-made to fit their specific shapes and features.
If you are using a muzzle on your puppy to rectify its behavior, accompany it with consistent positive training to achieve the best results in the shortest time.