Muzzles – Which Type Is Right For Your Dog

Muzzles - Which Type Is Right For Your Dog

Ellen Britt for CNT #wooftips

You might need a muzzle for your dog at some point. Using a muzzle when appropriate will protect you from a bite should your dog be injured. Breed specific laws in some states require some dogs to wear them in public.

But how do you know what sort of muzzle to choose for your dog? Let’s take a closer look.

There are two basic types of dog muzzles, the basket type and the soft type. You can also make a homemade one if absolutely necessary and you have no other choice.

Basket muzzle  

This muzzle gets its name from the way this muzzle looks…like a basket that goes over your dog’s nose. Many owners balk at this type because the muzzle looks like a cage or even prison bars, but it’s actually for most dogs the best choice. This muzzle, unlike a soft muzzle, allows your dog to open his mouth to pant, to drink and even to eat and accept treats through slits in the sides on some models to permit training. 

Basket muzzles are made of various materials including wire, plastic, leather and even rubber. They can be purchased in the store or ordered to fit your dog’s particular anatomy.

Soft muzzle  

These are called “soft” muzzles because they are made from a fabric like mesh or nylon and sometimes leather. They work by wrapping around your dog’s mouth and actully hold it closed. For this reason, they should only be used for very short periods and should never be used in hot weather, as they prevent your dog from panting.

While wearing a soft muzzle your dog cannot drink or eat or even bark. And if he can’t eat, you can’t use treats to train him, unless you use a squeezable cheese product made for dogs that he doesn’t have to chew. Needless to say, we are not a fan of the soft muzzle.

Homemade muzzle  

If you absolutely have no other choice, such as trying to move your dog when he is injured, you may have to improvise a very temporary muzzle from something you have on hand, such as a roll or gauze or using part of your dog’s leash. You can search online for instructions on how to do this.

The better thing to do is to get prepared now and get a muzzle, either a basket or a soft one, to go in your dog’s canine first aid kit. 

In a later post, we’ll look at how to train your dog to accept a muzzle.

By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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