The idea of putting a muzzle on your dog can be daunting and unsettling. Can my dog still breathe properly, can they drink and pant and lose heat? Are muzzles cruel? Are they painful? Will I be judged by other dog owners? What is the best muzzle for my dog? These are all questions we are asked everyday by dog owners all over the world and we are here to help you.
First things first, if you feel that wearing a muzzle is truly the best option for your dog, we congratulate your responsible approach to dog ownership. Unfortunately, muzzles have an almost exclusive association with “aggressive dogs”. While it is essential that reactive dog owners to use muzzles, there are many other reasons for their use and the subject remains emotionally-charged by many. That said, what you do to keep your dog (and others) safe is ultimately up to you. However, choosing the right kind of muzzle and the implementing the right training is essential to your dog’s happiness, safety, and confidence. Here is the low-down on the main types of muzzles you can get, and which are kindest for your four-legged companion.
Types of muzzles:
- Basket muzzles – Basket muzzles are usually made of leather, wire, plastic, or even rubber. These designs and can either be bought ready-made or can be customized to dog’s exact anatomy. Their “prison bars” appearance may look like the least humane option, but in fact, the opposite is true. Unlike fabric or sock muzzles, these muzzles offer your dog comfort and freedom to move within the basket without their mouth being held closed. Most styles allow dogs to open their mouths to pant, drink, and eat. Some designs even have slits along the side so you can slip larger treats like sliced hot dogs through the bars for training purposes.
- Fabric or sock muzzles – Usually made from fabric such as nylon or mesh, or sometimes leather, soft muzzles wrap around your dog’s mouth and hold it closed. This design may look less controversial, but the result is an unhappy pet with a mouth held closed. As dog’s main means of losing heat, fabric or sock muzzles are potentially dangerous and, in some cases, life threatening. These muzzles also prevent your dog from barking, drinking, or eating. And if your dog can’t eat, it’s almost impossible to use treats as a reward during training.
- Baskerville™ muzzles – Similar to a basket muzzle, Baskerville muzzles allow your dog to pant, breathe freely and take treats. However, with the award-winning Baskerville Ultra muzzle you can tailor the shape to fit your dog perfectly from home – much like a sports mouth guard. You can also rest easy with the added security of a collar loop and optional head strap. The Baskerville Classic design offers an additional, removable guard to help prevent scavenging and wound licking. However, as with many popular product designs, there are often soft copies and counterfeits. Steer clear of latex substitutes not up to the task and stick with your reputable retailers. Created by our founder and leading animal behaviorist, Dr Roger Mugford, Baskerville muzzles are frequently hailed as being the most humane option with new innovations in the works! Ultimately, Baskerville muzzles are designed for you and your dog to enjoy life to the max responsibly and safely.