Learning About Muzzles

Written by Jill Cote, Our Companions Canine College Volunteer

Sanctuary dog Ricky rocking his cowboy hat and customized muzzle during our Muzzle Fashion Show

A muzzle is an important piece of equipment that every dog should have as a part of their wardrobe along with a well-fitting harness and collar. From a dog’s point of view, wearing a muzzle is very similar to wearing any other piece of equipment. With proper training, a dog should see their muzzle and react with enthusiasm, and think “good things are about to happen” just like they do when you pull out their leash for a walk.

Why does my dog need a muzzle? All dogs may come across a situation in their lives where they need to wear a muzzle. Injured dogs in particular can change their behavior during treatment because they are in pain. A veterinarian may want a dog to be wearing a muzzle before they begin to assess a dog who is in severe pain.

Now, imagine going to the doctor and having the doctor ask you to put on a multipurpose mask that has been worn by multiple other patients – gross! Your dog deserves to have their own muzzle available to use whenever necessary. Muzzles are also a great alternative to a cone for dogs who need to recover from surgery.

Frequently asked questions:

Can my dog eat and drink while wearing a muzzle?

Depending on the type of muzzle – Yes! Baskerville and similar muzzles are great for dogs who need to be able to drink water while muzzled, and trainers can easily deliver treats through this muzzle as well!

How do I know the muzzle is fit properly?

Muzzles come in all shapes and sizes in order to best fit the need of each dog. A proper fitting muzzle should fit comfortably and allow the dog to pant, take food, drink water, and otherwise enjoy normal activities. Watch this video to Learn About Fitting A Muzzle from Expert Michael Shikashio.

How do I train my dog to wear a muzzle?

Muzzle training works well when using a desensitization protocol. You can follow the steps outlined here: Muzzle Training in 8 Simple Steps – The Academy of Pet Careers or watch the video, Muzzle Training – help your dog to feel comfortable in their muzzle.

Additional Resources:

Linked Videos:

YouTube Video: Learn About Fitting a Muzzle from Expert Michael Shikashio
YouTube Video: Muzzle Training – help your dog to feel comfortable in their muzzle