Dog muzzles are gadgets that you can use to temporarily manage excessive barking, chewing, or even biting in dogs. These contraptions are generally made of safe materials and come in various sizes. However, it is very crucial to choose the right muzzle as there can be numerous implications in its use. For starters, severely restricting the movement of your dog’s mouth can prevent it from drinking, eating, and panting, the latter of which is very important in canine thermoregulation. As such, we’re presenting these 9 best dog muzzles for your perusal in the hope that you’d be able to choose one that is more to your liking. However, we do recommend reading the rest of this article as we’ve prepared something very special for you and your pet.

The Best Dog Muzzle

1 Baskerville Ultra Dog Muzzle

Baskerville Ultra Dog Muzzle
Key features:
  • Soft and lightweight   
  • Exceedingly strong, tough and durable
  • Very Safe and Secure

This basket design muzzle from The Company of Animals is made from rubber has been ergonomically designed so that dogs are comfortable while wearing it. This muzzle successfully stops dogs from biting or barking so can be used as a training device when being socialized from an early age.

Read here our detailed Baskerville Ultra Muzzle Review.

What others say about it:
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Our vet recommended this muzzle for a procedure where our 70lb super mutt needed to be restrained while awake. Gave him a little peanut butter through the muzzle while slipping it on and it was very easy, AND he didn’t mind it much at all (I think it bothered me more than him). I periodically give him treats through it to keep him used to it and leave it in his toy bin so it’s familiar (he licks it at times because it smells like peanut butter).

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Easy to adjust for your dog’s comfort
  • Allows dogs to eat, drink and pant
  • Comes in a variety of sizes
Cons
  • Not suitable for dogs with biting behavior
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2 CollarDirect Leather Basket Dog Muzzle

CollarDirect Leather Basket Dog Muzzle
Key features:
  • Made specifically with pitbulls, American Staffies and Staffordshire terriers in mind
  • Made from genuine leather
  • Adjustable straps for a snug fit

While the metal studs and spikes may not be for everyone, this muzzle that is suitable for dogs with short snouts is made of genuine leather so is comfortable for the dog to wear. The basket design lets the dog continue to pant as well as eat and be fed treats through the weave’s gaps. It it easy to put on and helps prevent barking.

What others say about it:
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I don’t usually take time to review a product, but these are awesome. They seem to be very well made and with quality materials. My boys don’t like them, but one is already getting used to it. I bought one black and one brown. The black dog goes with me everywhere. The tab one is his brother. They hate each other. This allowed me to have them together for the first time in a year and a half. It won’t be on them unsupervised or for long periods, but it is going to be a great trainer. I’m sure it will hold up for quite some time. They tried and could not get them off. The tan pup tried hard. He failed. Just make sure you fit them properly.

Update: the tan one destroyed it in 10 minutes on the second attempt. Ripped a rivet straight through the leather. Completely unusable.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Leather is highly durable
  • Perfect for dogs with stout snouts
  • Excellent for training young boisterous dogs with
Cons
  • Metal finishes can be a little intimidating to other dog walkers
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3 Barkless Soft Basket Silicone Muzzles for Dog

Barkless Soft Basket Silicone Muzzles for Dog
Key features:
  • Nylon strap design to prevent barking and biting
  • Padded for dog’s comfort
  • Comes with a 12 month warranty

This adjustable loop nylon dog muzzle is perfect for those that need to stop their dog from barking as well as a little help on walks to stop their dogs from pulling. The design is comfortable for the dog as it the adjustable straps can help give a snug fit. The soft tape design is less intimidating than some other more traditional muzzles.

What others say about it:
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My dog needs to wear this constantly because extremely high prey drive and history of attacking (killing) any small animals or pets he can catch. Unless I can guarantee he is not going to be at risk to other animals he is wearing this muzzle. It is nice that he can drink and pant with this muzzle since he is in it most of the time. He has also gotten out of muzzles in the past and the collar attachment has prevented him from removing the muzzle. I have been happy with this muzzle seeing it was this dogs last hope.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Comes in a variety of sizes
  • Simple and pared back design
  • Stops dogs chewing but also pulling
Cons
  • Takes a while to master how to put on the dog
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4 Ewinever Breathable Safety Dog Muzzle

Ewinever Breathable Safety Dog Muzzle
Key features:
  • Made of strong nylon with breathable Oxford fabric
  • Adjustable fasteners and strap
  • With quick-release buckle closure

Currently a bestseller in a great number of online commerce platforms, the Ewinever Breathable Safety Dog Muzzle makes its way to our list for its excellent combination of ease of application, amazing doggie comfort, splendid effectiveness, and superior economy. For just over $10, you already get 5 of these contraptions, each made of a combination of nylon and Oxford cloth for amazing toughness and breathable comfort. It comes with a quick-releasing buckle so putting it on and removing it is easy while maintaining security if you want it to.

What others say about it:
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Worked perfectly! I just received this and immediately used the Medium on my Jack Russell to clean his ears. He has a terrible ear infection, so I’ll be doing a lot of ear cleaning. He’s a biter when you trim his nails or clean his ears. He did try to remove the muzzle (as I expected), but was unsuccessful. [Tip: I also wrap his body in a blanket while cleaning his ears to keep him from pawing at the muzzle and me. If you’re trimming nails, you can wrap the other 3 legs in a blanket to help keep you from getting scratched.] The XXL fit the Great Dane, but the strap was barely long enough. The small would be good for a Chihuahua, but probably need an XS (not included) for a teacup. The material is good; not great quality, but much better than I was expecting for the price. I think they will hold up well for home use. There are 5 different sized muzzles with 5 clasps (one pair on each muzzle as shown in the picture). P.S., I work at a vet clinic and many unruly dogs can get muzzles off, even the expensive ones. Also, muzzles are not to be kept on for a long time and always under supervision.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Easy to put on any dog
  • Very comfortable for the dog
  • Highly affordable
Cons
  • Comes in a pack of 5 of differing sizes, which you may not need.
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5 BronzeDog Wire Basket Dog Muzzle

BronzeDog Wire Basket Dog Muzzle
Key features:
  • Metal cage design
  • Perfect for dogs or a Doberman size
  • Straps are genuine leather

The metal cage design for this muzzle makes it perfect to help train Dobermans and prevent them from barking and biting when needed. The adjustable straps means that it can be made to fit most Dobermans of a medium size comfortably, though owners should always measure their dog’s snout first before purchase.

What others say about it:
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My vet recommended a “greyhound-like muzzle” to prevent licking a granule man. My dog wore a “cone” provided by the vet but it restricted her eyesight and distorted hearing. The Doberman muzzle fit her perfectly. It can be adjusted. I am splitting time between the cone and the muzzle while my dog gets more comfortable. Her lick granuloma is continuing to heal. Now trying to break her licking habit. So far, seems to be working and she is tolerating the muzzle.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Does not cause any discomfort in heat
  • Design allows for eating and drink
  • Has padding for additional comfort
Cons
  • Metal basket casing looks quite ferocious
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6 photoiscool Dog Muzzle Leather

photoiscool Dog Muzzle Leather
Key features:
  • Made of premium grade leather
  • With adjustable straps
  • Allows for panting and drinking
  • Durable yet lightweight

Nylon is cool but it doesn’t do justice to the elegant look of your pooch. As such, we believe the photoiscool Leather Dog Muzzle for biting and barking pooches is simply the best. It may be priced higher than the ewinever, though. Nonetheless, with leather making up a majority of its components, we believe a lot of folks will love this best dog muzzle. The design is simple enough yet super secure to prevent your pooch from ever breaking free. And if you know how leather feels on the skin, then you know that your dog will have no complaints using this one.

What others say about it:
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I love this muzzle!!!! I have a 5 yr. old Chow Chow and he’s hard to fit with a muzzle. I ordered three different sizes (M, L, XL) to make sure I got the right size for him. The large one is perfect. Normally he’ll get a mesh or nylon muzzle off quickly but he can’t get this one off at all. I only use it on him when he goes to the vet for his check-ups because he doesn’t play well with non-family members plus he gets growly and doesn’t like being examined or given booster shots. This muzzle will be a great helper in making sure no one gets bit at the vet’s office. I’m keeping the other sizes because I plan on getting siblings for him soon. I’m so thankful I found this great muzzle at such a great price.
 
Pros
  • Leather gives the muzzle a more elegant look
  • Simple effective design
  • Very secure
Cons
  • Leather will take a while to soften up
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7 Downtown Pet Supply Quick Fit Dog Muzzle

Downtown Pet Supply Quick Fit Dog Muzzle
Key features:
  • Durable nylon construction
  • Easy to apply
  • Available in 9 sizes 

If your main concern is the incessant barking or chewing of your dog, then Downtown Pet Supply’s Quick Fit Dog Muzzle is for you. Made of strong nylon with adjustable straps and available in 9 different sizes, there’s bound to be one for your pooch. The only lament we have about it is that it doesn’t really allow for more efficient panting as the snug fit prevents your dog from opening its mouth. Again, if it’s basically for addressing barking, then the Downtown is a great bet.

What others say about it:
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We have a foster chihuahua and she has been dealt a rough life through neglect and lack of socialization. I’ve never had to muzzle a dog my entire life, but for her safety and her veterinarian we decided to go this route.

Al in all, I was really happy with the fit, she is a size 0 for reference and 7 lbs. The large clasp was easy to snap on and off without hurting her or taking too long to get off.

Though she tried, she wasn’t able to get it off by herself and the adjustment straps on the back were easy to tighten up.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Comes in a wide range of sizes so will fit the majority of dogs
  • Made from strong, durable nylon built to last
  • Dressing your dog in this muzzle is quick and painless
Cons
  • Does not allow dog to open its mouth to pant
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8 PetSafe Muzzle

PetSafe Muzzle
Key features:
  • Available in four sizes to fit most dogs.
  • Durable nylon straps and breathable mesh.
  • Ideal for trips to vets and groomers.

The PetSafe muzzle is a simple but effective design, made to be the most comfortable fit for your dog. Not only is it made to be comfortable, but reliable as well, with strong nylon fabric used for the main structure. This dog muzzle is both adjustable around the neck strap, and the nose area to allow you to made small adjustments that result in a better fit. Additionally, the muzzle itself is padded with a breathable mesh bottom side so that your pup doesn’t get too warm. It is also available in four sizes, so as to fit almost any dog! The only downside to this design is that a few past purchasers have said that their dogs were able to figure out how to loosen the velcro strap around the nose.

What others say about it:
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Perfect for my weimaraner whose anxiety of people in our house plays out as ferocious barking and biting men. It is a perfect solution for us.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Adjustable neck and muzzle for the perfect fit.
  • Padded muzzle for comfort.
  • Prevent nipping, barking, and biting.
Cons
  • Some dogs have been able to loosen the velcro around the muzzle with their paw.
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9 CollarDirect Adjustable Dog Muzzle

CollarDirect Adjustable Dog Muzzle
Key features:
  • Safe lock buckle to avoid escape.
  • Available in three sizes.
  • Lightweight but durable nylon material.

The CollarDirect adjustable dog muzzle is the ideal design for nervous pups with a tendency to become nippy or bite in stressful situations such as the vet or groomers. It is an easily foldable, nylon design that can be pocketed and kept with you at all times. The flexible, lightweight design helps your pup to feel more comfortable and less restrained, reducing anxiety. Additionally, the nylon material used for the construction of this muzzle is both flexible and extremely durable, so once the muzzle is on, your dog will have a hard time wriggling out of it, no matter how good the escape artist. The main thing to bear in mind with the CollarDirect muzzle is that this design is not very well suited to dogs with short muzzles.

What others say about it:
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I got this for my 6 month puppy because she bites and barks when she’s frustrated at me because I’m not playing. It’s usually right in my face and she’ll bite hard. It’s been a struggle for months now. This helps teach her it isn’t okay without being extremely cruel. It also for walks because she puts everything in her mouth and I’ve caught her with glass in her mouth three times now. It works great and she doesn’t seem to mind. It came with two and they were numbered. The straps are adjustable so it is a just the right size and can grow with her if the biting doesn’t stop. Hopefully it does! (We’re taking to a trainer)

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Flexible, lightweight, and comfortable.
  • Simple, universal black design.
  • Great for use with nervous dogs.
Cons
  • Not ideal for dogs with shorter muzzles such as Chihuahuas.
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10 CollarDirect Leather Dog Muzzle for Terrier

CollarDirect Leather Dog Muzzle for Terrier
Key features:
  • Perfect for those with dogs with short snouts
  • Comes with adjustable snouts
  • Genuine leather

This muzzle is made of genuine leather, and though perhaps a little more expensive than other muzzles, it will stand the test of time against even the strongest of pitbull terriers. It has a couple of adjustable straps so that dogs of a variety of sizes can wear it, though in general this will only be suitable for dogs with shorter, flatter noses.

What others say about it:
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I’ve been using the muzzle for about a month and it’s definitely helped. We adopted this 3 year old pit 6 months ago, she loves people but is very aggressive towards other dogs and cats. Although she still tries to lunge at other animals, she’s not able to bark or bite them. That makes the walks feel alot safer. Definitely a good buy for the price. I got a large which fits great… her snout is about 11 inches around and is wide.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Leather eventually softens up to be extremely comfortable for your dog
  • Comes in two classic colors: black and brown
  • Difficult for dogs to take off with paws
Cons
  • Quite expensive, even for a leather muzzle
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11 Dogs My Love Adjustable Dog Muzzle

Dogs My Love Adjustable Dog Muzzle
Key features:
  • Constructed of strong yet lightweight material
  • With soft padded liner
  • Complete with snap buckle closure

It’s quite easy to see why people would want to get the Dogs My Love muzzle for dogs. It’s fully adjustable and is constructed of lightweight yet sturdy material. Plus, it is available in 6 different sizes to help augment the adjustability of its strap for a more snug and comfortable fit. And speaking of comfort fit, the padded lining takes care of that, too.

What others say about it:
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Stays on and works great. Dogs can still open mouths slightly to breathe better. I was trying it primarily to shield them from growling and lunging at me while nail clipping/grinding. Dog were calmer and more focused on this muzzle than on the nail clipper. Great product. Its adjustable which was nice and dogs were not able to swipe it off like other muzzles. This is not a cruel device. Very dog friendly.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Padded lining affords your dog maximum comfort
  • Very lightweight so dogs can wear for longer than other muzzles
  • Comes in various sizes
Cons
  • Color may not be for everyone
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12 Canine Friendly Short Snout Dog Muzzle

Canine Friendly Short Snout Dog Muzzle
Key features:
  • Constructed of sturdy nylon and breathable mesh fabric
  • Soft padded bumpers
  • Quick-release buckles
  • Fully adjustable straps 

The Canine Friendly does justify its name since it is more like a basket dog muzzle except that it is constructed of durable nylon. Moreover, instead of the usual basket weave design, what is integrated is a mesh panel that actually covers the entire face of your pooch. Technically, it is more like a fencer’s mask rather than a dedicated muzzle. An opening is provided at the front to allow your canine friend to breath easily, drink, eat, and even pant. It should be noted that the Canine Friendly is ideal for pooches with relative short snout such as the French Bulldog, Pug, and Shih Tzu, among others. It’s pricey though.

What others say about it:
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I have a 10 pound Pekingese rescue dog who gets severe anxiety going to the vet. I have tried all kinds of flat nosed muzzles, including cat muzzles but she could get them all off.

This muzzle, I can attach to her collar and she can’t get it off (as easily – she is persistent and creative).

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Perfect for dogs with small snouts
  • Nylon is long lasting while very comfortable for your dog
  • Allows dogs to eat and drink through it
Cons
  • Completely covers the face of the dog, which may not be to everyone’s taste
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13 NACOCO Anti Bite Duck Mouth Shape Dog

NACOCO Anti Bite Duck Mouth Shape Dog
Key features:
  • Fun and adorable design
  • Made of soft and light silicone
  • Fully adjustable straps 

It’s whimsical and actually very adorable. People will simply not think that the NACOCO is actually a dog mouth guard. Shaped like the beak of a duck making it more like a costume than it is a dog muzzle for biting, the NACOCO is a lovable piece that you would want your pooch to wear if it is in an environment where its tendency to bite is significantly heightened. It’s available in 3 colors and two sizes, too, and costs less than $10. The NACOCO is constructed of lightweight, flexible, and durable silicone.

Pros
  • Humorous design takes the intimidation out of muzzles
  • Available in a number of colors and designs
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Some people may not agree with the fancy dress element of this muzzle
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14 Gentle Muzzle Guard Dogs by GoodBoy

Gentle Muzzle Guard Dogs by GoodBoy
Key features:
  • Fully adjustable and available in three different sizes
  • Padded neoprene muzzle strap
  • Collar and connection straps
  • Does not impede breathing, panting, or drinking

If you are looking for a humane way to prevent excessive barking, unwanted chewing, and biting, then the Gentle Muzzle Guard Dogs by GoodBoy might be just what you need. The soft muzzle comes in three different sizes and can be adjusted to fit your dog perfectly using the Velcro straps. The muzzle allows your dog to breathe and pant easily and does not hinder their ability to drink; making it a safe and humane option. It features collar and connection straps to hold it firmly in place while the neoprene padding stops chaffing and hot spots from forming. The muzzle also includes high-quality buckles to make further adjustments easy and secure.

Pros
  • Padded neoprene muzzle strap reduces the risk of rubbing that can lead to chaffing and hot spots
  • Design does not stop dogs from panting or drinking and does not hinder natural breathing
  • Easy to adjust to fit the needs of your dog
Cons
  • Some dogs may find this muzzle easy to remove
  • Some concerns over the accuracy of the sizing
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15 Lepark Nylon Dog Muzzle for Dog

Lepark Nylon Dog Muzzle for Dog
Key features:
  • High-quality, durable nylon construction
  • Padded muzzle strap
  • Metal D-ring leash attachment
  • Quick release buckle connectors

The Nylon Dog Muzzle by Lepark is made from high-quality durable nylon. It is designed for daily use and with the comfort of your dog firmly in mind. When correctly fitted your dog is still able to have free tongue movement. The muzzle strap includes a padded layer to ensure comfort and protect your dog’s skin. It is available in five different sizes and is easily adjustable so that you can get the perfect fit for your dog without creating stress or anxiety. The muzzle also features a metal D-ring leash attachment, giving you complete control while out walking.

Pros
  • Different sizes and adjustability make it suitable for most dog breed sizes
  • Metal D-ring increases control while walking
  • Muzzle style does not impede breathing or panting
Cons
  • Not suitable for short muzzled dogs
  • Adjustable straps can be loosened by the dog causing the muzzle to be easily removed
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Best Dog Muzzles: Buying Guide & FAQs

How to Choose the Right Dog Muzzle

Picking the right muzzle for your pooch entails quite a few considerations. First and foremost, you need to have a very clear idea of the indications for the use of such types of canine restraints. Understand that under no circumstances is the facial restraint to be used as a long-term solution to a canine behavioral issue such as barking or chewing or even aggression. There are many reasons why these behaviors occur. Muzzles may only prevent barking, chewing, and aggression, but it doesn’t solve the reason why dogs are having these behaviors in the first place. Towards the long term, dogs that are put into this kind of restraint will recognize that they are being punished for something. This is no way to treat a man’s best friend.

In buying a dog muzzle it is important to look at the following.

Type 

There are different types of canine muzzles, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Basket: This type of canine muzzle is typically constructed either of sturdy plastic or pet safe wire. From the name itself, it forms a basket weave pattern that allows pooches to have ample ventilation on their muzzles. There are types that allow for sufficient movement of the dog’s mouth, allowing it to pant, but not necessarily to drink or eat. There are also basket types that allow for greater freedom of movement, enabling your pooch to drink, eat, and pant, but not necessarily to bark. Wire baskets are preferred for larger dogs as well as doggies that have the tendency to bite. Plastic baskets are best reserved for smaller breeds.
  • Nylon sleeve or wrap: As the name implies, this type of muzzle is more like a straightjacket that is wrapped around the canine’s mouth to restrict any form of movement. Nylon strips are wrapped around the back of the doggie’s head to secure the restraint. There are also products that make use of other materials such as mesh or leather instead of nylon. The important thing to remember is that this type of doggie facial restraint really prevents any form of movement on your pooch’s mouth. It will not be able to pant which is technically a canine’s way of dissipating heat from inside its body and is equivalent to human sweating. It also cannot eat or drink. As such, if you do decide to get this for your pet, make sure never to leave it alone and to use it only for very brief periods.

Size 

The size of the muzzle matters as this is equated to security and safety for your pooch. We will have a separate discussion about this especially on how to measure the correct size of muzzle for your pet.

dog muzzle

Choose the Best Size for Your Dog

In choosing a muzzle for your pet it is important to get the correct size, otherwise, you will be presented with a host of problems that may make your life and that of your dog even more miserable. Here is how you can choose the best size for your dog.

  • Measure the length of your dog’s muzzle from the tip of its nose all the way towards its head, about half an inch or so from its eyes.
  • Measure the circumference of the terminal end near the eyes. Remember to position your tape measure about half an inch from your pooch’s eyes and wrap it all the way around its muzzle.

You will use these two measurements to determine the correct size of your pooch’s restraint. You can choose to add about half an inch or so in your measurements but make sure that it will not be too loose or else you risk the muzzle easily getting off. A good rule of thumb for basket types of restraint is to add 2 inches to the circumference if you have small to medium-sized breeds and 3 inches for large dogs. 

How to Safely Use Dog Muzzles

It is understandable that many people are quite apprehensive when it comes to putting muzzles onto their pet dogs. It can be downright unsettling. There will be questions related to the pooch’s safety and comfort. Will it still be able to breathe? Can it still eat or drink? Can your dog still pant? For many of us, it simply is inhumane to put these on our dogs for it does conjure images of Hannibal Lecter or other famous fictional criminals and villains that have worn a muzzle either to silence them or as part of their signature costume.

The thing is that there are quite a number of safety issues that need to be answered every time you put on these dog silencing contraptions on your pet. Now, if you are really going to use this type of restraint on your dog, then it is critically important that you know when you can use it and when you are not supposed to put it on your dog. This provides the very foundation for the safe use of dog muzzles. So, when can you put it on your dog?

Check out our article on the Best Dog Silencer.

In an Emergency

If your dog is injured there’s an increased risk of biting because of the severe pain that it is experiencing. A seriously agitated or even a fearful pooch can also snap without warning. And if you have kids in the vicinity, chances are they might be on the receiving end of a vicious dog biting incident. Sadly, many dogs are inadvertently punished because their human masters simply failed to recognize the relationship between pain and behavior.

Let us put it this way, if you are in pain, you cannot think straight. You can be extremely cranky, curse, hurl invectives or even objects, or display any other ‘unusually aggressive’ behavior. Pain floods the system with a lot of stress hormones that translate into negative energies. These energies are channeled through a variety of means. You cry, moan, bang your head, hit the wall with your fist, or even go into a fit. The point is that if we are overly stressed out or anxious, the level of aggressive tendencies substantially grows.

Remember Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief wherein anger follows denial before bargaining and depression set in? While dogs don’t necessarily show ‘denial’, ‘bargaining’, and ‘acceptance’, they do present with anger and depression. Regrettably, anger always precedes depression. So, a dog in pain or a highly anxious pooch has the tendency to grow angrier (translated as more aggressive) where it can snap and bite anyone who may be well within striking distance. In such cases, whether you consider it inhumane or not, a dog muzzle may have to be used.

Alternatively, you can place your pooch inside its crate so that it will not be a danger to itself or to anyone else in your home.

There is an Increased Risk of Biting Secondary to a Volatile Situation 

There are dogs that have grown to be very aggressive throughout the years. This is definitely regardless of whether they are in pain or not. The point is that you know the behavior of your canine friend. If you think that it is too aggressive and that there is a great chance it will bite someone especially when presented with a situation that can trigger its violent behavior, then putting it in its cage or crate is ideal. However, since exercise is still pretty much an important part of a dog’s wellbeing, then you need to put a muzzle onto your dog whenever you have to let it out of its crate. Remember, the use of the muzzle is only temporary to protect your dog, you, other people, and other dogs whenever your pooch is out of its kennel.

You may also like our article on Dog Head Halters.

Required by Law 

In 1998, a controversial law in the Irish Statute Book was published requiring owners of the following dog breeds to put muzzles on their canines whenever they are in public spaces.

In the US, similar laws were implemented in a variety of states, carrying a penalty ranging from a few hundred dollar fine to a few thousand dollars. In the Miami-Dade area, individuals are forbidden from owning or keeping a pit bull unless the dog has been pre-registered before 1989. In Denver, pit bull owners are required to have at least 100,000 USD in liability insurance as well as post appropriate signage in their property the warning “PIT BULL DOG”. So, you might want to check the breed-specific laws that may be in effect in your community as these often require the wearing of muzzles whenever your dog is in a public area.

During Grooming Sessions, if the Dog Has Not Been Desensitized 

If you have an adult dog, it should already be accustomed to being groomed by a professional. This typically starts at puppyhood. If not, then it may need some form of restraint such as a muzzle to help protect the canine groomer. This is especially true if the groomer is not recognized by your pooch.

When Should You Not Use It?

To Manage Ongoing Behavioral Problems Like Chewing and Barking 

Ongoing behavioral issues such as excessive barking and chewing are best managed through other means, often requiring behavior modification and consistent training. The reason for the behavior should thus, be determined so that appropriate measures can be explored. For instance, it is a well-established fact that one of the reasons why dogs bark is due to separation anxiety although attention-seeking, boredom, territoriality, and alarm sounding can all be valid reasons as well. These reasons should be explored further and attempts be made to address the real issue. Muzzles are designed for temporary use only, often in very short periods of time. Remember that these can inhibit a dog’s ability to drink, pant, and eat.

As a Form of Punishment 

Muzzles should never ever be used to punish a canine pet. This will only make your pooch more anxious and more fearful. As much as possible, the undesirable behavior should be addressed appropriately.

Knowing when and when not to use a dog muzzle is critical to ensuring the safety of everyone concerned, including you and your dog. Once you determine that it is in the best interest of everyone that your dog wears a muzzle, then you have to observe these safety tips.

Teach Your Pooch to Be Comfortable With the Muzzle

This is the very essence of canine training. Anything that you put on your pooch you will have to train it so that it will be more comfortable with the gadget. To do this, you’ll need tons of patience and plenty of rewards. The idea is to make your doggie feel that it is okay for it to wear the contraption. It needs to feel relaxed while wearing it. Also, you will need your pet not to struggle to get the muzzle off its face.

Use Only an Appropriately-Sized Restraint

Too large a restraint and you defeat the purpose of the gadget. Too tight and you restrict joint mobility and efficient blood circulation. If your dog will only wear the muzzle for a few minutes, then choosing a restraint that allows it to pant should be considered. The point is that the muzzle should be safely secured without necessarily restricting blood circulation or causing discomfort for your dog.

Remember to Use the Muzzle as a Temporary Solution to Canine Behavioral Issues

We already explained above that ongoing behavioral issues should be addressed and managed using more appropriate methods. Muzzles will not fix aggression, destructive chewing, inter-dog aggression, or even excessive barking. These behavioral issues have deeply-rooted causes that need to be identified and addressed appropriately. Using muzzles will only ‘dampen’ these symptoms but not fix the real problem.

Don’t Leave Your Muzzled Pooch Unattended

Don’t exercise blind faith on muzzles. Regardless of how secure these restraints are made, you will never know how your pooch can instantly turn into a Houdini. Moreover, your pooch might scratch and injure itself in an attempt to get the restraint off of its head. And since you’re not there to supervise it, then a minor injury can easily turn for the worse. If you really cannot supervise your pooch, it’s better to put it in its kennel or dog crate. 

Take a look at our guide on the Best Dog Crates.

Can Dogs Bark with a Muzzle On?

A straightforward answer to this question is a pretty simple ‘No’. The reason is pretty obvious. Since a dog’s bark is almost always equated with human speech, the frequency and intensity of the vocalization is thus, still dependent on the vibrations of the vocal cords. This organ located at the junction of the throat and the trachea is comprised of muscles that vibrate when sound waves are sent from the lungs in an outward motion. It doesn’t end there though, since the tone and pitch of the bark will have to be adjusted by the muscles of the throat. Technically, a dog’s bark requires the mouth to be fully open to force the air and the vocalization out. If the mouth is not full open, then all you will hear is a grumbling sound emitted by your dog.

Going to the use of muzzles, since the device restricts the opening of the mouth, then no bark is produced. Even a basket type of muzzle which typically allows pooches to still pant, drink, and eat, will still be quite restrictive of full mouth opening that dogs will hardly be able to bark at all. This is the reason why many folks consider dog muzzles as effective anti-bark devices since they suppress the natural process of producing a distinctive sound we know as a canine bark. Of course, your pooch can still whine or cry since the vocal cords will still be vibrating and the laryngeal muscles contract. But to produce a loud sound would be next to impossible.

Dog muzzles, similar to shock collars, are dog gadgets that are quite controversial. While they may prevent barking, biting, and chewing, they don’t necessarily address the main issue behind these behaviors. As such, while our 9 best dog muzzles can provide you with a good starter lineup, we still recommend talking with your vet to determine the root cause of your canine behavioral concerns.

Read here our guides on the Best Shock Collars for Dogs and Best Anti Bark Collars.

FAQs:

Q: How long can a dog wear a muzzle?

A: Unfortunately there is no clear answer to this question. How long a dog can wear a muzzle for really depends on the dog and each specific situation. Plus, the type of muzzle your dog wears can have a very big impact on how long they can wear it for. If wearing a basket muzzle so your dog can pant and eat, they can wear it for longer periods of time before any stress or duress is caused. Muzzles made of mesh or nylon do not allow for panting or drinking, so should only be worn for short bursts.

Other times to take your dog’s muzzle off immediately are if they are agitated or getting too hot because of the muzzle. Plus if they are uncomfortable, the muzzle should be removed.

However, there is a fine line (especially when first using a muzzle) between a dog simply not being used to wearing a muzzle so trying to take it off. Most dogs need a period of adjustment while they get used to wearing a muzzle regularly.

Q: How do I put a muzzle on a dog?

A: This is all about knowing your dog and how best to cause him or her the least amount of stress. In general though, before putting a muzzle on your dog, let them smell and sniff it first. Then, keeping touching his nose with it, before offering him a treat in one hand while holding the muzzle in the other. Only give your dog the treat when he has put his nose inside the muzzle itself. Repeat this step a few times.

Next put the muzzle onto his nose properly and give him a treat. Repeat this step a few times too. When he seems at ease, repeat the step but do up any fastenings. When you remove the muzzle give him a treat and repeat doing this.

Finally, leave the muzzle on for a few seconds at a time before fastening it. Increase the amount of time you leave it on, and each time use a treat to reward him. Soon, he will be happy to wear the muzzle.

Q: Can I make a muzzle out of a dog leash?

A: Short term muzzles can most definitely be made out of a dog leash, but it is important to realize that they can only be used as an interim measure as they are likely to cause your dog’s snout some chafing.

All you need to do is make a loop in the center of your dog lead and gently pull your dog’s snout through the middle. Tighten your leash so that it is firm enough to restrain your dog for whatever reason you need, but not so it causes him pain. Then, put both ends behind his ears before tying it into a bow. Knots are not suitable as you may want to untie their leash quickly in an emergency situation.

Q: Can a dog drink with a muzzle on?

A: Not all muzzles are designed so that dogs can eat or drink with their muzzle on, but many can. If this is a main concern for you or you want your dog to be wearing a muzzle for a long period of time, basket style muzzles are better than mesh or nylon ones for this purpose.

Q: Can dogs sleep with a muzzle?

A: While this broadly depends on what type of muzzle you use for a dog, it’s not really recommended for a dog to sleep with a muzzle on. Not only can it cause them distress, they do need some time to be able to move their jaw freely with no limitation. This is particularly true if you use a tighter fitting muzzle, which are often made out of nylon or mesh material. Basket muzzles tend to be looser and allow dogs to pant as well as eat and drink, but that does not necessarily make them safe for them to wear overnight.

If you are using a muzzle to stop barking or other negative behavior, speak to your vet about alternatives that will help you overnight while your dog sleeps.

Our Top Pick

Our top pick is The Company of Animals’ Baskerville Rubber muzzle as it not only has a comfortable design for all dogs, it is extremely effective at preventing any barking or biting while a dog is being trained. It allows dogs to continue to drink, pant, and eat while wearing it, which is key to their comfort. It also means that owners can continue to treat their dogs when they have it on.

All in all, this is a safe and secure muzzle that will last the test of time, even against the strongest of dogs.

Sources:

  1. Should Pet Greyhounds Have To Wear Muzzles?, RSPCA Australia
  2. Muzzle Training: Dog Training Plan, Best Friends Animal Society
Eloise Hands

Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.

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