Types of Muzzles for Dogs

August 5, 2018

Whether for safety or for the law, there are some dogs and some occasions which require a muzzle. Luckily, it is an accessory which most dogs will rarely use. 

Maybe that is also why owners tend to know very little about them. Are some types of muzzles uncomfortable or harmful? To give you the best answer to these questions, we have made a list of the different types of muzzle for dogs.

Using a Muzzle

There are some dogs that need to wear a muzzle every day. However, luckily, most of the canine population will rarely use them. Dogs that are classified as ‘potentially dangerous’ have to wear a muzzle by lawAggressive dogs should also wear one as a precaution, or at least until their problems have been resolved.

A muzzle is a strange object which most dogs do not like to wear. Just like the collar or leash, any dog should learn to wear a muzzle before going out in the street. Not doing it could trigger problems with fear, insecurity, or bad associations.

Dog being walked wearing a halti collar
Credit: Bev Sykes

On the market today, you can find different types of muzzles for dogs:

Tube Muzzle

This type of muzzle consists of a fabric tube which covers their mouth but leaves their nose exposed. It is attached behind the ears and is very easy to find in almost all pet shops. Its great advantage is that it tends to be very cheap. Although it wears and breaks easily, it does not cost much to replace.

However, it is not the best type of muzzle available. Since it restricts the dog’s mouth and they cannot open their mouth to pant. Dogs regulate their temperature with their tongue, so panting is important, particularly in hot weather. They also cannot lick or smell as well.

Basket Muzzle

This type of muzzle is a rigid plastic or metal structure which encloses the dog’s mouth without touching it. It is tied behind the ears and today there are many colours and shapes, although in essence they are the same: a plastic basket.

With this type of muzzle, the dog can open their mouth to pant, but it depends on the model as to whether they can put their nose to the floor to smell better. Very few have an opening at the front to let them smell and recover food from the floor, which is a very common requirement when trying to treat the dog for fear and aggression.

Some owners tend to cut the front of the muzzle off so that their dog can smell better and receive treats. If you do this to your dog’s muzzle, make sure you remove any sharp edges.

Baskerville Muzzle

This model is based on the basket muzzle, but with more spaced-out bars. It also has some fabric straps below the head to stop them removing the muzzle themselves. The front is also designed to let the dog receive treats from the floor and to smell.

As a curiosity, the name comes from the brand that first commercialised them. They are more expensive than other muzzles, but they also attend more to the dog’s needs. They are the most common ones used in training–with treats and smells.

Halti Muzzle

This also takes its name from the brand that first sold them. Halti collars are not muzzles, but halter-style facial harnesses: fabric straps which go around the dog’s face, and then attach to the leash. They are very similar to the way collars are fitted to horses or donkeys, for example.

In fact, it is not a muzzle, because it does not stop the dog biting if they want to. They are sold as anti-pull collars, but they do not stop the dog pulling during a walk either. In fact, using them causes them a lot of pain in their neck, back, and head.

For Brachycephaly Dogs

There are some dogs which need a muzzle, but because of the shape of their snout, they cannot wear a normal one. These are flat-nosed dogs such as Bulldogs, Pugs, or Boxer dogs. There are special types of muzzle for brachycephaly dogs and are normally variations on the basket type. They tend to be wider and shorter than normal muzzles.

This type of dog should never use a fabric muzzle or one which stops them from opening their mouth. These breeds tend to have breathing problems and they could suffocate.

Others

There are many different types of muzzles for dogs on the market. They are many variations on the basket or fabric muzzle types too, you can get some which are duckbill-shaped (they work like a fabric muzzle), and there are other designs to scare strangers. Some are even made out of leather with spikes or metal tacks.

Dog wearing one of the most common types of muzzle, a basket muzzle
Credit: Maja Dumat

If your dog needs to wear a muzzle, teach them first that it is not a punishment. Allow them to do fun things whilst you are holding the muzzle or with them wearing it and avoid negative associations. If your dog is very aggressive in the street, get in touch with a trainer to try and overcome this problem. Muzzles are not comfortable and the fewer dogs that have to wear one, the better.