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Are Muzzles Bad For My Dog? Debunking The Puzzle Behind The Muzzle

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Muzzles can be an important harm reduction tool. Check out when's suitable to use them and when isn't.

Muzzles. To many dog parents, the thought of donning one on their loved one hurts.

It prompts many questions within our heads.

Can my dog breathe properly wearing one? Are they uncomfortable or god forbid, painful? Does this make my dog bold and me a dog owner with no control?

Is it cruel?

Be assured that donning a muzzle on your pooch isn’t a cause for worry on any of the above fears.

Muzzles are a useful and often necessary apparatus for certain situations.

These situations can depend on things like your canines breed, temperament or physical condition. e.g.: they’re recovering from a painful injury.

As a dog parent you showcase responsibility by mitigating any unforeseen risks from your pal.

There are times when muzzles are inappropriate to wear too, so let’s take a look at when and why you should consider putting one on your dog.

Why Do Muzzles Have A Bad Reputation?

To some, muzzles appear to have an unflattering and downright controversial reputation.

They may seem cruel or give a dog a menacing appearance but any of those qualms really come down to a lack of education on the matter.

The American Kennel Club says, “Muzzles have an unfair association with aggressive dogs. But most canine experts agree that at one point or another in every dog’s lifetime, there may be a situation when an owner needs to use a muzzle. It might be for the safety of the dog, the safety of a person, or both.

The reality is that muzzles can ensure the safety of both dog and person in awkward situations.

Let’s take a look at situation where muzzles are a necessary precaution.

When Are Muzzles Necessary?

Threatening Situations

The use of muzzles should be considered in situations where your dog feels afraid, uncomfortable and tense – and may be more prone to lash out or bite.

This could include anxiety inducing experiences such as a trip to the vet or when being left at the kennels.

History of Aggressive Behaviour

Muzzles should be worn appropriately if your dog has a history of biting.

If your dog is tense or nervous, it may result in aggressive behaviour. This can be unnerving for both you and any other dog parent you cross paths with.

The use of a muzzle adds a layer of protection should your dogs mood turn threatening, thus granting you additional peace of mind on your walk.

However, if aggressive behaviour is an issue, you should look into suitable behavioural training.

Muzzles only act as temporary risk mitigation in such situations and don’t solve the pressing, underlying issues at hand.


Muzzle training is important even if your dog hasn’t any prior history of biting.

Disease, illness and injury may result in a canine lashing out in the form of growling, snapping or biting.

Having a muzzle on hand can help prepare you to handle these unwanted situations and can help ease worry about your dog exhibiting angry behaviour reactively.

This is why it’s important to be proactive in training your dog to wear a muzzle, so they feel comfortable with them on when the time arises.

When Not To Use A Muzzle

It’s very important to note that muzzles are a tool for biting, not barking!

They are not a solution for ongoing behavioral problems; they’re only meant to be worn for short period of time and always under the guise of a supervised dog parent.

Consistent behavioral training is what’s required to help solve issues like excessive barking, chewing or any other destructive homestead habits.

Association is a very important tool for training dogs.

If you use a muzzle as punishment, the dog will associate the sight of it as a sign it has done something wrong and that will make them reluctant to use it as well as being entirely unfair on your beloved furry friend.

Likewise, if visiting the park with fellow dog parents and their pooches, giving your dog a muzzle won’t solve the problematic issues they’re exhibiting and they still may showcase unwanted acts of aggression.

Stick to the properly training your pal and keep muzzles for the situations previously listed and your dog will have a healthy relationship with them.

Final Bark

A muzzle can be an valuable tool to help keep dogs safe and stop them from acting aggresively or harming those around them.

This is especially important in situations where your dog may be anxious, tense or afraid.

But it’s important to keep in mind that muzzles aren’t a solution for your dogs behaviour.

Use the necessary methods of careful, consistent training to iron out any unwanted habits, and if you’re struggling seek professional help from an experienced dog trainer.

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