Muzzles I believe get a bad rap. There are many advantages to training your dog to accept and be comfortable with being muzzled. For some dogs it gives them the off-lead freedom that they may not otherwise enjoy.
Muzzles are not just for the “aggressive” dog.
Muzzles can help with the dog that eats poo, or the dog that is in and out of the vet due to scavenging. Although if this is your dog, it might be worth investigating the why of this behaviour and assess their nutrition.
Muzzling is a great way of indicating to others that your dog might not be comfortable around children or other dogs and encouraging them to recall them away and give you space.
Muzzles are also a life saver if your dog is in pain. You want to be able to help them without fear of being bitten and you don’t want to be adding stress to your already stressed animal by struggling to place a muzzle on them when they are coping with so much already.
But, what type of muzzle is the best?
These examples are highly rated on the internet.
But consider. Can your dog still nip in these, can they fully open their mouth to pant in these, can they drink in this design freely and perhaps more importantly what affect do these have on our dog’s welfare and health.
Dogs have a highly developed ability to detect scent. Their nose is their most developed sense and they view the world not through their eyesight but through this amazing part of their anatomy.
As you can see from these illustrations the canine nose is a complex structure and the location of a network of highly important arteries, muscles and nerves.
Even though these muzzles are advertised as being soft, the design of them and nature of them will put pressure on these important vessels, potentially damaging nerves and restricting blood flow. These could result in headaches, strains, damage and discomfort.
The design of this muzzle is slightly better as it isn’t as tight around the muzzle of the dog. But it is still questionable as to whether the dog can fully extend his lower jaw. The muzzle is also sitting very close to the delicate eye area and the mesh may restrict airflow.
When choosing a muzzle look to ensure that it is a good fit. Not too big that it rises up into the dog’s eyes, but big enough that the pressure is not on the delicate structure of the nose. The dog should be able to fully open their mouth to pant and to drink. These basket muzzles allow for this and for good airflow. At the same time it is made from durable material that is unlikely to break and the structure contains the jaws of the dog preventing nipping. The muzzle should be half an inch longer than the dog’s nose.