How many of you have walked down the street and noticed a dog wearing a dog muzzle?
We’d hazard a guess that you instantly thought the dog is dangerous and you need to keep your distance or the owner was cruel for putting one on their dog?
Being a responsible dog owner requires you to do what is best for your dog, at all times. Sometimes, that may mean using a muzzle temporarily.
These devices are not magic, they will not solve a behavioral problem and they aren’t a cop out for a poorly trained dog, they simply limit damage whilst you rehabilitate your dog.
If an owner is relying on a dog muzzle in the absence of any other training – they are failing.
They can be brilliant for reactive dogs, as they can help to:
- Limit barking in the veterinarian office
- Prevent a dog from swallowing something they shouldn’t
- Limit the damage when out in public if you have an aggressive dog
Interested to see if they can help you and your dog?
We have reviewed the top five dog muzzles with a focus on how you can use them for the benefit of you, your dog, your vet, your home and the general public:
- Best Dog Muzzles
- Why Should You Use a Dog Muzzle
- Training a Dog to Use a Muzzle Safely
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Verdict: Best Dog Muzzles
|Dog Muzzle||Our Rating||Price Range|
|Best All Rounder||Baskerville Ultra Muzzle for Dogs||$$|
|Best To Stop Chewing||Barkless Dog Muzzle
|Best For Powerful Dogs||Baskerville Ultra Muzzle for Dogs||$$|
Perfect for reactive dogs on walks
- Lightweight and durable
- Can be moulded to ensure a good fit
- Great for walks and aids retraining
- As with all basket designs, if dogs aren’t comfortable with a muzzle, they may try to paw at it and get their nails stuck in the basket
The Ultra Basket Dog Muzzle is the perfect purchase for those owners with reactive and bouncy dogs whilst out on walks, or who want to stop their dog biting the vet or groomer.
Its basket design enables your dog to eat, drink and pant freely, meaning they can still meet all their basic needs whilst out on a walk.
If you are working through some reactivity issues with your dog, you will likely have a desensitization and counter-conditioning programme in place which should include the use of treats.
The ultra basket makes it super easy to still treat your dog.
- Over-head security strap ensures it stays in place.
- Lightweight and neoprene padding, meaning you don’t have to worry about your dog being weighed down on longer walks.
- Being rubber it’s easy to clean and disinfect, which is essential if wearing out on walks.
- A range of sizes so you can be sure to find one that fits your dog.
Ideal for stopping a dog from barking during veterinary or grooming trips
- Quick fix design, reducing stress whilst fitting the muzzle
- Fabric design for comfort
- Machine washable
- Keeps muzzle closed which prevents effective panting and body temperature regulation
The Downtown Pet quick fit is a fast fitting temporary muzzle which will stop your dog barking.
When we say a muzzle to stop a dog barking, we are here talking about those occasions in the groomers or veterinarians when you need to have procedures carried out for the health of your dog.
We are not talking about your dog who barks when you leave him alone in his crate and you think this is a great solution. We would never advocate using one for this use. If your dog is excessively barking, seek advice from a qualified trainer or behaviorist.
You will notice that the muzzle is attached by one simple strap.
This is because it would only ever be used for short periods of time, like visiting the vet or a groomer. Escaping is not an issue because he’s likely gently restrained anyway, by you or the vet tech.
- Fabric design which keeps the dog’s mouth closed, this mechanism prevents the dog from barking.
- Quick Fix making it very fast to to fit.
- Design allows the dog to breath through their nose, but, as it keeps their mouth closed, they are unable to pant effectively (a dog wearing this style should never be left unattended).
Good for all around protection from nipping and biting
- All around protection for handler from biting and nipping
- Available in a range of sizes to provide a good fit
- Breathable mesh, but does restrict typical panting mechanism, affecting ability to regulate body temperature
The Lepark provides all around protection, giving the handler total confidence that they are not going to be nipped during their task.
Some dogs, no matter how much you try, just hate going to the Veterinarians or Groomers; some even hate their owners carrying out necessary husbandry at home.
There are occasions, where dogs will attempt to bite or nip to stop the handler doing whatever they are doing.
Sometimes, if you are an owner fighting many training battles with your dog, it’s quicker and less stressful to simply attach a muzzle, carry out the task and move on with your day.
You therefore need one that can stop your dog biting.
If you are using it during longer grooming periods, give your dog plenty of breaks by removing the muzzle, let him have a drink of water and settle himself.
Never use this style when out on walks or when he may be exerting himself.
- Overhead strap design provides added security, giving the handler total confidence which results in less stress for handler and dog!
- Soft mesh construction is breathable, but, sometimes it does prevent effective panting. Therefore, the muzzle shouldn’t be fitted for excessive periods of time.
A great dog muzzle to stop chewing
- Design cover’s all of the dog’s mouth for complete protection
- Soft silicone design for a comfortable and durable fit
- Comes in a range of sizes
- Basket design can cause dog’s nails to get stuck if they are uncomfortable in the muzzle
There are times when a muzzle is the safest option, the Barkless is a great option for chew and nipping prevention.
Not only are you concerned about your dog destroying your garden or home, but you are worried he may swallow wood splinters or foam.
For short periods of time, when you cannot be sure you can supervise your dog, this muzzle will keep him safe.
As we have mentioned, dog muzzles do not solve problems. Therefore, if your dog is chewing excessively, other work needs to be done to manage this behavior:
- You are working through your training programme
- You have moved items out of your dog’s way
- You provide alternative activities
- You are working on your relationship and engaging in the behavior you want to see as much as possible
- Over-head security strap ensures it stays in place.
- The Barkless Basket will keep your dog from chewing
- Design still allows your dog to drink water and receive treats.
- Its open design will also allow for easy breathing and effective panting (essential if your dog will be wearing the muzzle for a longer period).
- Overhead security strap, so you don’t have to worry about him escaping from the muzzle.
A good muzzle for large or powerful dogs
- Lightweight and easy to clean
- Secure straps
- Perfect for use on walks or play
- Basket design can cause the dog’s nail to become stuck if they attempt to get it off
The Shunai pet muzzle again is a basket design which is perfect for using out on walks. It allows the dog to breath, pant, drink and take treats.
These devices will not solve any issues that a large, powerful dog has, but they can limit the damage and most importantly build the confidence of the handler whilst addressing their issues.
If you have a large, powerful, but, reactive dog, they can be an intimidating sight on the sidewalk.
Wearing a muzzle generally puts others at ease and we know that dogs pick up on the feelings and emotions of their owners and others, so if we want to maintain a calm dog; keeping those humans around him calm helps too!
Whilst working through a training programme, keeping your large dog muzzled in public is the safest option for everyone.
You know she can’t hurt anyone so you can focus on the training in hand and those around you can instantly see that there are issues you are working towards.
- Overhead security strap, giving you that extra security for your large dog.
- Available in a range of sizes right up to those weighing in at 140 pounds, you can be sure to find one to fit your large dog.
- Its rubber design sits comfortably on your dog’s snout and moves when he does!
Why Should You Use a Dog Muzzle?
If your dog is demonstrating problematic behaviors, please seek the advice of a qualified trainer or behaviorist, they should not be used in the absence of training.
Dog muzzles can be used effectively during a training program if your dog is reactive or aggressive towards other dogs or humans.
They can also be helpful during care or grooming tasks that are necessary, but cause your dog stress.
In the first instance, you would work to desensitize your dog to the tasks by associating them with good experiences. But for some dogs, this can be difficult.
Sometimes, as a dog owner, you need to pick your battles and when you can quickly attach one of these, carry out the task and focus on other training needs later in the day, this may just be what you need to do.
They can also be helpful if you are trying to keep your dog from licking a wound or topical medication. Whilst the veterinarian collars are brilliant, they can cause more stress for some dogs.
Finding The Perfect Muzzle For a Dog
The muzzle you choose to use will largely depend on its purpose:
- If you are wanting to use it during exercise and play, then the design needs to allow effective panting, drinking and accepting treats.
- If you are wanting to use it for shorter periods of time to aid with care or grooming, then a fabric design will prevent bites or nips.
A fabric design does not enable effective panting so should be avoided during exertion.
Before you purchase one, you should measure the snout on your dog to ensure you get the right size and ensure that the fixing straps will fit around your dog’s head.
Fabric ones do have a snugger fit, whereas baskets are a little looser around their snout.
No muzzle should dig into your dog’s snout or head at any point, but, it should be secured enough that he can’t remove it.
Training a Dog to Use a Muzzle Safely
Like anything new with your dog, you need to start slow and be patient:
- Once you have purchased your muzzle, introduce it to your dog by simply showing them it.
- Leave it around the house, on the floor, on the table.
- Start throwing treats towards it.
- Your dog starts to associate it with good things.
- With it in your hand, touch it to their nose and reward them. Repeat several times.
- Place it on their nose. Remove it, and reward. Repeat.
- Once your dog is confident in the muzzle, fasten the muzzle. Readjust the straps as necessary. Remove and reward.
- Slowly build up the time they spend in the muzzle, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds etc.
It is easier to introduce a basket as you can slip it on their nose and treat them through the basket.
For baskets you can reward them whilst wearing it. For fabric dog muzzles, you need to reward once it has been removed.
With an all-around fabric muzzle you may want to place a treat inside the fabric and let your dog sniff and lick it out.
If you are using a basket as part of a training program, only venture into public when you are confident your dog has accepted it.
The last thing you want is to take a reactive dog out, when you’ve just massively increased his stress levels by putting a muzzle on him!
Muzzle Do’s and Don’ts
- Do ensure it fits properly
- Do find one that is fit for purpose – fabric for short periods of care or grooming and basket for exercise
- Don’t think it will solve the problem, they are an aid to a training program
- Don’t leave any dog unsupervised wearing one
- Don’t think only dangerous dogs need muzzles – they can be helpful for a range of reasons
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Dog Muzzles Stop Barking?
A fabric one can stop a dog from barking for a short period of time, for example attending a veterinarian or groomer appointment for necessary care.
A muzzle should never be used for excessive barking in the home environment.
Should A Dog Wear Muzzle All Day?
They are appropriate for the purpose they are intended. The only exception to this rule would be if you are running out of options to stop your dog licking a wound or surgical scar.
Which Dog Muzzle Is Best?
There are range of options which suit different situations:
- A basket muzzle would be appropriate for use during exercise.
- A fabric muzzle would be appropriate for appointments where you need to prevent biting or nipping.
How A Dog Muzzle Should Fit?
A fabric one will fit snuggly. A basket will fit loose around their mouth, but the straps will be secure around their head.
How To Put Dog Muzzle On?
A muzzle should be introduced slowly with the use of reward (see our training guide above). Expose your dog to it and slowly build up to fitting it.
As you have seen, dog muzzles can be used for a range of reasons, not just for that dangerous dog walking along the sidewalk.
A dog muzzle should never be used in the absence of a training program, they are not a cop out for problematic behaviors but they can limit the damage caused to humans, other dogs and property whilst you are working through some unwanted behaviors.
If you are unsure whether a muzzle is suitable for your dog, please seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified trainer or behaviorist.