Dog Muzzles Should be Used as Protective Gear, Not Punishment

Dog Muzzles Should be Used as Protective Gear, Not Punishment

When you see a beautiful face like this one (or better yet, adopt him into your family!) the last thing you want to do is cover it with a muzzle.  There are good times and bad times to muzzle a dog, and good and bad muzzle designs.  Here are some great pointers on dog muzzles. 

When to muzzle?  When NOT to muzzle?

Certain breeds, typically greyhounds, whippets and galgos, have very thin skin, thin coats and almost no body fat which means that they are prone to being easily injured during a vigorous game of Bitey Face.  It's absolutely natural for dogs to play this game, and it's not as vicious as it looks or sounds.  However, accidents do happen.  Like my mom always told me growing up, "It's all fun and games until someone gets an eye put out!"  Your hound isn't likely to lose an eye while playing, but he can get lacerated skin.  Ouchies!  So it's a good idea to have all participants wearing a basket muzzle.

dog muzzle

If your dog is prone to being aggressive with people or other dogs, then of course you should muzzle him.  (Along with getting some behavior modification from reputable positive-reinforcement-based trainers or animal behaviorists!)

If your dog is usually fine but tend to do the "MOOOOM, he's touching me!" tantrums when in the car with other dogs, then it's a good idea to muzzle everybody in the car.  Confined spaces often bring out the worst in all of us.  Don't let bickering turn into a bloody fight.

greyhound muzzle

If your dog drives you batty with constant barking, that is not a good reason to muzzle him.  Go for anti-bark training instead.  Which leads us into types of muzzle....

Typically the muzzles used to stop barking are the cloth, leather or tight mesh kind that holds the dog's mouth closed.  These muzzles are highly risky and should never be on a dog for more than a few minutes.  They prevent the dog from panting which leads to overheating.  The dog can't drink with it on, more overheating.  Also just from an empathetic perspective, if I was the dog I would feel extremely frustrated with this on my face!  In my opinion this kind of muzzle is just a punishment device if anybody other than a trained veterinarian uses it.  There are much better options for dog owners.

Basket muzzles are a better option.  The best designs are roomy enough to allow the dog to pant normally, drink water through the muzzle and even accept treats, which helps with training.  Below are pictures of different muzzle designs that all work well.  Their job is to simply keep the teeth where they belong, and to do it with as little discomfort to the dog as possible.

Coursing MuzzleKenel Kosy MuzzleWire muzzles are light and airy


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