Muzzling a dog
By - Alexander_Walsh
Good post! A few things I'd consider changing:
> Metal muzzles should be avoided
Winterized metal muzzles exist! It's the best muzzle I've found for my dog.
> Silicone muzzles are usually an appropriate choice
Silicone can be a good material for some dogs, but often silicone can be too soft for a serious bite-risk dog. Hard vinyl, like a Jafco, or metal, like Leerburg, are more often recommended for those dogs.
> Dogs must not do high impact cardio with a muzzle on because they can't cool themselves effectively through panting
If it's a well-fitted muzzle, the dog should be able to pant freely.
I guess there is a degree of regional variability. I added the low temp bit as an afterthought because it hasn't dropped that low since records began in my city. It is very hard to find metal muzzles because of the high risk of burns. Regarding the hot weather, in order to pant effectively when hot, the dog needs to be able to open its mouth relatively widely. The only muzzles I know that allow enough range of motion for that are ones used in the racing industry. It is all about heat management at the end of the day, I don't think that any dog should be wearing any kind of muzzle if it is 100+°F for example.
I will maintain that silicone muzzles are usually appropriate and I don't recommend metal for most people. There are very robust options available. I would not use a silicone model if I was working with a dog with a bite history that was very strong, especially if I was not confident predicting triggers. This wouldn't be an issue for me in practice, because a dog that has a recorded bite history is automatically registered and would need a metal muzzle. I really think that if someone has a dog that makes them seriously concerned about the safety of the people and animals around it, then it has passed the point of reddit DIY tips and time to get a trainer who can assess that dog in person (and maybe a vet visit too).
Honestly, all dogs should know how to wear a muzzle, even if they don’t need it right now, cause they might need it later, and then it’s too late
And how many vet visits and surgeries would have been avoided if people knew that a muzzle will stop Fido from eating that discarded fish and chip takeaway including the polystyrene container and cutlery?
Muzzles can also be a good safety measure when introducing a dog to cats or other critters. They are like seat belts: muzzles won't stop an accident, but they may limit the damage if used correctly.
Also, dogs should be able to open its mouth to pant when using a basket muzzle. There are occlusion muzzles which work by stopping the dog from opening its mouth freely, but these are for very short term use in a cooled environment (like at a veterinarians or groomers). Exercising a dog with a basket muzzle is fine. Overheating during hard exercise or on hot days should be a concern anyway, whether or not the dog is muzzled.
I am talking about the basket muzzles. The dog can open its mouth and pant. This is sufficient for normal exercise and milder climates. Many dogs need to open their mouth very widely to dissipate heat at times (think about the surface area of mouth exposed to air vs if the dog can only open its mouth a few cm - you can test this with your own mouth if you don't believe me). Dogs must still be exercised, even in parts of the world where heat and humidity are problematic for many months on end. I would not want to rely on a muzzle that would still allow the dog to open its mouth widely if the muzzle was intended to prevent bites.
One of my dogs teachers explains all the time the importance of crate and muzzle training. She highly recommends beginning with a Dixie cup with the bottom cut out and treats just to get the dog aware of the idea and you can work up to a soft muzzle. This is “just in case” something happens and your dog may need to be muzzled. Like crate training, a lot of ppl don’t like to, but guess where they put dogs temporarily at the vet? Crates. Way less traumatic if they are introduced to the idea in a safe comfortable non stress environment. 🐶💕
Very good post. Do you have one for muzzling humans? Lol
Still gaining experience in that department...
>Your dog frequently consumes detritus/trash/food waste they have scavenged off the ground whilst out of the house
Little mutt consumes food waste. Poop, She eats poop.
We use a plastic basket muzzle for her. Sometimes she comes back inside with poop smashed into the muzzle. fun times.
I think you're missing a pretty big use case for muzzles, at least in the US: "when many dogs are together to avoid the risk from over excited play and bites"
This is a totally inappropriate use case. Dogs should, in general, be left alone to figure things out in group situations. If there is actual serious aggressive behavior on the part of one dog, that dog should be removed, but people are often far too quick to intervene in dog play, even rougher play.
It depends on the dogs. For example, I know owners of sighthounds will muzzle during play because the dogs tend to nick each other with their teeth and sighthounds have such thin skin that they can bleed fairly easily.
This is a good reason, though it is a very specific circumstance. I didn't think to give this example because I mentioned dogs with high prey drives. I knew a woman with a friendly, well adjusted ex-racing greyhound that mauled a small dog to death because of its prey drive. I tend to think of this when thinking about sighthounds that need muzzles. It is an important omission nonetheless as they do have thin skin and are prone to injury. I would not want people to think this would apply to dogs that have skin of typical thickness.
That approach is just not realistic in many scenarios. Just think of daycares with many young and immature dogs. Without people enforcing rules it's a complete mayham. Even for shelters with mostly grown-up dogs it's often not without difficulties to transition to group housing.
Not sure when a muzzle would be necessary for group building, but there should be at least some human oversight to take care of rowdies and overly aggressive behaviours.