Using a dog muzzle on your furry friend may sound like the most inhumane thing in the world to do, much like restraining someone with a straitjacket.
‘That’s meant for criminals. Not my lovable and friendly dog.’
But there comes a situation in every pet’s life that warrants the use of a muzzle for the protection for the pet, for protecting someone else or both.
The seemingly cruel and much maligned muzzle can be a lifesaver in such situations. If you are reading this, then chances are that a similar situation has unfolded in your life too.
But if you have never used a muzzle before, then there can be a hundred different questions popping in your mind right now as you read this. When should I use a muzzle? Is it painful for my pet? Can my pet breathe? Is it cruel?
Here are some answers to help relieve the anxiety.
|Dog Muzzle||Quality||Our Rating|
|Baskerville Ultra Muzzle for Dogs, Black||A-|
|Pawliss Adjustable Anti-biting Dog Muzzle Leather||B+|
|Leather Brothers Italian Basket Dog Muzzle||B|
|Signature K9 Standard Leather Muzzle, Tan||A|
|Dean and Tyler DT Freedom Muzzle||B+|
* click on the product name to be taken to Amazon where you can check the current price and read customer reviews.
Below you’ll find in-depth reviews of each of the above products.
Contrary to popular notion, a muzzle is not used solely for controlling an aggressive dog that can bite everything that moves. So, the muzzled Pitbull that you saw walking down the street, may not have been Hannibal Lecter after all. Any situation that turns the pet hostile is normally considered as reason to use a muzzle. For example fear, extreme pain, anxiety of visiting the vet, a history of aggression towards other dogs, the pet is not desensitized to grooming sessions, as an alternative to keeping your dog in a heavy duty dog crate and due to breed specific legislations. Sometimes, a muzzle is used for reasons that are not connected to aggression at all. For example, during dog training or sporting events.
No it’s not. In most situations, the use of the muzzle is only temporary and for a short duration of time, during which the dog’s behavior needs to be controlled. Muzzles are normally made of soft leather or rubber, neither of which can be painful for the dog.
Yes. They can. The muzzle never interferes with the dog’s breathing. In fact, there are some types of muzzles which allow excellent airflow and even let the pet drink with the muzzle on. However, some varieties of muzzles, like nylon muzzles, can stifle the dog’s ability to pant, which may lead to the dog’s body overheating, if the dog is anxious or is out in the hot weather. You should never leave a muzzled dog unattended.
Like we mentioned earlier, as long as you are using the muzzle to protect the dog or someone who’s tending to the dog, it is not considered cruel. However, use of a muzzle to curb barking or chewing or other behavioral issues is not recommended.
For first timers, shopping for a muzzle may seem a tad overwhelming because muzzles come in a variety of types, shapes and designs. Not everything will be the right choice for your dog or for the situation in which you intend to use it. The best that you can do, is keep your claws sharp (no pun intended).
Here are a few things that you need to watch out for while going muzzle shopping.
The Nylon Muzzle: If you are looking for a muzzle that is to be worn for a very short period of time, like a trip to the vet or to the groomer’s salon, then you may consider using a Nylon Muzzle, which may also be called an Occlusion Muzzle. These are made of a soft fabric and shuts the dog’s mouth completely. The caveat is that it cannot be used for a long time since the dog cannot pant or drink water.
The Basket Muzzle: On the other hand, if you are looking for a muzzle that can be worn for a longer period of time, like taking the dog for a walk or during dog training, then you may consider buying a Basket muzzle. The Basket muzzle has an open design with a wire or plastic mesh at the end. This allows the dog to breathe, pant and drink water, making basket muzzles the most humane type of dog muzzles. They also offer excellent bite prevention and allow the trainer to use treats during training. The only downside is that if you choose a wire basket dog muzzle, then it may be heavier than other types.
The Agitation Muzzle: Agitation muzzles are also called police training muzzles and are used in situations where the dog is encouraged to attack. These muzzles have a similar design like basket muzzles and allow the dog to breathe, but it cannot bite. Some agitation muzzles have a built-in metal bar which allows the dog to use it like a battering ram to bring down the target. These can be made of plastic or soft pliable leather, with the latter being the pricier choice.
With all things said and done, it is time to share our picks with you. To pick this list from hundreds of brands and products, we analyzed customer reviews on retail portals, spoke to pet owners on online forums, met dog trainers who have trained hundreds of dogs with muzzles and finally, met some veterinarians to know their take on it.
This may not be the most definitive or exhaustive list of best products out there. But based on our research and personal opinion, these are the best of the lot.
Type: Basket styled muzzle
Material: Soft but tough rubber
The Baskerville Ultra Muzzle is undoubtedly the most popular dog muzzle in the market. Featuring a basket styled design and made of tough rubber, this patented design by Dr. Roger Mugford is used by thousands of pet owners, dog trainers and vets every day to control their dogs in different scenarios.
The Baskerville Ultra Muzzle is soft to the touch and comfortable to wear for the pet. The lightweight rubber frame, allows the dog to wear it easily for hours without feeling tired.
It has two ergonomically designed safety straps that ensure that the muzzle stays securely locked at all times. Further, there are two additional attachments which can be used as a backup security measure by securing it to the collar.
The Ultra muzzle measures 16 inches in length which makes it ideal for most dog breeds. Also, it is adjustable and can be tailored to your dog’s muzzle. To allow easy adjustment and a comfortable fit, the Ultra Muzzle features an adjustable belt loop with pre-holed webbing.
With a 12-1/2-inch inside circumference, the Baskerville Ultra Muzzle allows the pet to breathe easily, pant and drink water, a feature that makes it a humane choice that does not interfere with the wellness of the pet.
The Baskerville Ultra Muzzle is a great choice for your first muzzle or as a backup muzzle in an emergency situation. It is comfortable, durable, easy to use and adjust. To top it off, it is available in six different sizes too. Ensure that you read the size chart and choose the right fit for your dog.
Type: Basket styled without a cage
With an under $12 price tag and made of durable leather, the Pawliss Adjustable Anti-Biting Dog Muzzle is a complete value-for-money purchase. This basket styled muzzle allows the pet to breathe and pant, but prevents them from biting as well as eating unwanted stuff, which can be a problem, especially with puppies.
The Pawliss Adjustable Anti-Biting Muzzle has a very minimalistic and barebones design that is extremely easy to wear, adjust and secure. Your dog will let you clip it on with ease since it is not itchy or tough to the skin.
Pets do not sweat from their muzzle. But if this was a concern that was stopping you from buying one, here’s the solution. The leather on the Pawliss adjustable muzzle also features a series of small holes that offer ventilation.
The non-constraining design allows the dog to be relaxed even if it is worn for an hour or two. To ensure that it remains secure and the dog does not play Houdini and find their way out of it, it features a leather loop in the back that can be run through the dog’s collar.
The Pawliss Adjustable Muzzle is available in four different sizes that ranges from 7” to a massive 16”. From a cocker spaniel to a Great Dane, you will surely find a size for your little one.
When you are looking for a durable and practical muzzle that has no bells and whistles, but gets the job done, the Pawliss Anti Biting Muzzle seems like the best option.
Type: Basket grill type muzzle
The Italian Basket Dog Muzzle is a lightweight basket styled muzzle that is very popular among dog trainers and vets, due to the removable front grills and the durable polyethylene make. It fits the dog securely and does not contain the ‘hideous’ strap between the eyes, which enjoys a not-so-good reputation among dog parents.
An everyday wear muzzle differs slightly from other types of muzzles because they undergo a lot of wear and tear. The dog will play curious Joe and go sniffing, digging and even try to get it off. Due to the ergonomic design and the lightweight material, this Italian Basket Dog muzzle is a great choice for this.
At the same time, it is secure enough to be used as a temporary dog muzzle that allows your dog to breathe and eat treats. They won’t be able to swallow that very tempting pebble despite their best efforts though.
The adjustable leather strap suffices to keep the muzzle secure provided that you link it through the collar. If you have a powerful large sized dog, then this muzzle may not be enough to restrain them. You can look at the next muzzle we have in our lineup.
This is a no-brainer. It is lightweight, can sustain the wear and tear of everyday use and fits most dogs perfectly. Is it going to prevent a Pitbull or a Rottweiler from breaking out of it? Maybe not. But that’s not what it is intended for. For small to medium sized dogs, this is all that you need.
Type: Basket styled without a grill
Material: High quality leather
For pet parents who have the big guys at home and need some more teeth in their muzzles, check out the Signature K9 standard Leather muzzle. This is a military grade training aid that is crafted from the most durable leather.
The Signature K9 muzzle is perfect for large sized working dogs and will keep them from biting during training or competitions. It features a padded lining on the inside which makes it comfortable for the dog and does not irritate them. The leather is tough, but pliable and ages beautifully to gain a natural patina which makes it slightly softer, but not mushy.
It has a steel reinforced nose piece which prevents the dog from rubbing the muzzle repeatedly to take it off (oh yes, dogs do that). The K9 will hold its shape until you remove it.
This is also a warning for pet parents that you may get nose-rammed if you go too close. And it will hurt like a beast.
The Signature K9 Muzzle is handcrafted in the USA. So, you can be rest assured of the quality.
If you are at your wits end trying to find a quality muzzle for your big dog who seems to have an uncanny knack to shred every nose cup and nylon muzzle to shreds, the Signature K9 muzzle will get the job done.
Type: Wire basket muzzle
Material: Steel cage and leather straps
A list of the best muzzles wouldn’t be complete without a Dean and Tyler. This is what the professionals use. It is beautifully designed with a large wire cage that keeps it airy, but does what it is supposed to do.
The Dean and Tyler Freedom Muzzle is one of the flagship products from the company that is extremely popular for its great design and durability. It is from their freedom range of muzzles and is completely true to the name. It allows the dog to breathe freely, gives enough room to pant and drink water.
The dog cannot bite or eat non-food items through the wire. But there’s enough room for the occasional treat. The wire cage itself is made of durable chrome plated steel. To secure it, you have soft leather straps that can be run through the dog collar.
If you are looking for a comfortable and roomy muzzle that will keep the dog from licking an open wound or eating unwanted stuff as they go digging across the lawn, there is no better choice than this.
Dean and Tyler is a brand that needs no introduction. This wire muzzle from the brand is a great choice for pet parents looking for something secure, comfortable and with a proven track record.