Should I Use Dog Muzzle? Why, When, And How?

Though it can be uncomfortable, the use of a dog muzzle is a necessity. There are even some regions where it is compulsory that every dog must be muzzled while on public transport. Dogs that are poorly socialized or those with traumatic backgrounds need to be strapped into a muzzle while walking them in busy areas. However, muzzling a dog for an indefinite period of time is never a good idea. Read on to know how long to keep your canine friend in a muzzle, including tips on how to get her acclimatized to the hardware.

How To Use Muzzles On Your Dog

Dog muzzle
Getting your dog to wear a muzzle: source

Below is a step-by-step procedure on how to get your dog used to the idea of wearing a muzzle before getting it on the dog.

Buy a good-quality basket muzzle

The basket type is recommended as it will give your dog enough room to breathe, ingest food and water, pant, and much more. This type of muzzle also prevents overheating while reducing muzzle-related stress. Before making a buying decision with any muzzle, ensure that it is a perfect fit for your pooch. Most sites offering muzzles for sale come equipped with sizing charts, which aid dog parents in taking proper measurements so as to order the correct size.

Show the muzzle to your dog

Don’t even attempt putting any dog muzzle on your canine friend without getting it acclimatized to it. This can be achieved by holding it up with one hand while offering the dog some enticing treats with the other hand. You can hide both hands intermittently and bring them out again to show the pup as you feed it more treats. The process should be repeated until you observe the dog’s eyes lighting up at the sight of the muzzle as she looks for the accompanying treat. Now, your furbaby thinks a muzzle equals a delicious treat.

Feed treats inside the dog muzzle to entice the dog

The treat can be pushed into the front of the dog muzzle, or some squeeze cheese can be used through its straps. What is important here is that your canine friend gets to voluntarily put its nose inside the muzzle without you being the one to push it on. If it happens that the dog moves away from your reach, don’t go in pursuit, allow it to come back on its own.

Gradually make them feel comfortable with the muzzle on

When you get your furry friend to willingly shove her nose inside the dog muzzle, her duration of stay should be increased by feeding and pausing, then feeding again repeatedly while her nose is still stuck inside.

Fiddle with the straps

While you hold the muzzle with one hand, intermittently feed the dog with those yummy treats as you fiddle with the straps behind the dog’s head like you are about to buckle her in.

Get your pup conditioned to the sound of the muzzle’s snap

If your choice muzzle is the one with a snap rather than a buckle and the sound can easily startle your pooch, take your time in conditioning her to the sound prior to snapping it on. Hold up the muzzle so that your furry companion can have a look and then snap it in place while feeding the dog some treats. Repeat this until her eyes light up at the sound of the snap as she searches for the treat.

Briefly close the buckle or snap

For this, you might need help, as your two hands will be required to buckle or snap the dog in. While you try to manipulate the hardware, your partner can be offering the treats. In the absence of a helper, something like squeeze cheese or peanut butter can be smeared on the door of your fridge to keep your pooch occupied while you buckle or snap her in.

Gradually allow the muzzle to stay on for longer periods

With time, you will allow your canine friend to wear the muzzle for longer periods; remember to feed the treats while the hardware is on. The frequency of the treats can be reduced with time but should be done occasionally to keep the pup happy.

Refresh the positive association

The “happy muzzle” sessions should be done regularly so that she does not only get to wear the muzzle for scary or bad occasions. A dog can get accustomed to wearing a muzzle once it is conditioned to it. If the muzzle is only worn for vet visits, the dog might begin to associate it with negativity and you may have to start the process of training it to like muzzles all over again. Recommendations are that for each stressful muzzle experience, you give your pooch ten happy ones.

When is the Best Time To Use a Muzzle on a Dog

Apparently, dog muzzles are not to be worn on a permanent basis. Even a dog will complain if they are made to wear them all the time. Here are some of the best times to put your dog on a muzzle.

During visits to the vet

You can wear your dog a muzzle to avoid bites at the veterinary clinic as the experience can be quite stressful for them. However, the vet will be the one to decide if it’s necessary or not.

While taking neighborhood or park walks

Dogs that have the potential to bite should be muzzled up while on walks in public areas; this is to prevent them from getting aggressive when they see strangers. Try to reinforce the connection between wearing a muzzle and enjoyable walks to make the experience a happy one.

During behavior modification or training

Things that are likely to trigger aggressive behavior in pups should be avoided except during training on behavior modification. In this case, a muzzle is a good safety precaution.

To regain your confidence

It is not strange for a pet parent that has witnessed an aggressive experience with a dog to feel anxious about coming close. Here, a muzzle can be used to ensure that the dog will not bite and help the parent feel calmer.

Grooming sessions

For dogs that don’t enjoy grooming, a muzzle is recommended as a safety precaution. This way, the groomer will be able to do a better job without the dog getting in the way.

In a time of emergency

For abused or injured dogs, confusion and trauma can make them scared, as well as dangerous. Thus, they need to be protected with a muzzle for their sake and that of their rescuer.

Because it is the law

In some places, certain breeds of dogs are considered dangerous and these dogs must wear a muzzle while in public. Additionally, some regions specify that every dog on public transport must wear a muzzle.

Read Also: Dog Refuses To Give Birth: Here’s Why Your Pregnant Dog Is Not Giving Birth

For How Long Should a Dog Wear a Muzzle?

It is not advisable for a dog to wear a muzzle for too long as it is known to cause some significant damage. Dog muzzles can only be worn when necessary and for short periods. Though basket muzzles are designed to allow dogs to ingest water, doing other things like eating and panting can be impaired. However, you should consult the vet on the period of time that is ideal to allow the muzzle to stay on.

Muzzles can be worn for vet visits, walks, and training, but must be removed at the end of these activities to give the dog room to do other things.

Is It Cruel To Keep My Dog Muzzled All day?

It is not recommended that we leave our dogs strapped to a muzzle all day long as the hardware can impede many activities that the dog would normally do freely. Besides, the dog might experience some discomfort while wearing the muzzle, widening the chances of hating the hardware. This is especially true for people who strap their pups into a muzzle and leave for work. Under this situation, a dog can resort to some unpalatable behaviors.

In conclusion, keeping your pet in a dog muzzle for too long can be classified as cruelty towards animals and must be discouraged.

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