Using a muzzle can be a controversial topic for pup parents. Unfortunately, when some individuals come into contact with a muzzled dog, they may automatically assume that the canine is something to be feared.
However, that simply is not the case. The fact of the matter is that dogs may have to be muzzled for several reasons. For instance, canine behavior specialist Robert Cabral explained in a May 2020 video uploaded on his YouTube channel that dogs may have to be muzzled at a veterinary clinic if they exhibit nervous behaviors. He shared that vets typically use cloth muzzles, which “prevents a dog’s mouth from opening.” He warned, however, that this type of muzzle could be potentially dangerous.
“When you close the dog’s mouth, you take away the dog’s ability to pant, so it’s really important that you consider that if a dog is panting or is stressed or is hot. If the dog can’t pant the dog could go into shock, the dog could overheat, and many other things,” explained Cabral.
That being said, some dogs do need to wear a muzzle for behavioral issues and there’s no shame in that. For example, if you know your furry friend is reactive around other dogs and you decide to put a muzzle on them before you go out in public, you are being a responsible dog owner. Cabral recommends that dogs who “have bite issues” should wear basket muzzles.
Now, this type of muzzle may look like it could be uncomfortable. However, according to the Animal Humane Society “[w]hen used properly, a well-fitting muzzle should never cause your dog any pain or discomfort.” The organization noted that our canine companions “are able to pant, drink water, and even take treats with ease once they’re used to their properly fitting basket muzzle.”
That being said, dogs don’t usually take an immediate liking to basket muzzles. For this reason, Cabral suggests that an owner give their dog treats while slowly introducing the muzzle.
“Always teach your dog that putting a muzzle on is a good thing and a really easy way to get your dog to understand that is to take a little piece of kibble, drop it inside, and give it to your dog,” noted the dog trainer.
During a 2017 YouTube video, Melissa Fenstermaker, Head Trainer at Union Lake Pet Services, warned, “for your dog’s safety you don’t want to leave the muzzle on for extended periods of time.”
“We also don’t want you to leave it on and them unattended. We want to make sure you are supervising them at all times so they are not going to hurt themselves trying to get that muzzle off,” said Fenstermaker.
Have you used a muzzle on your dog before? Let us know in the comments below!