Types of Dog Muzzles

muzzle image by Aleksander from Fotolia.com

Dog muzzles come in a wide variety of styles and prices to fit you and your dog’s needs. Whether you are training a police dog, restricting an aggressive dog or just trying to prevent your canine friend from chewing up the furniture while you’re gone, there is a muzzle style for you.

Taking a minute to understand the different types of muzzles available is the first step to choosing the right one.

Cloth Muzzles

Most people are familiar with the cloth muzzles commonly used by veterinarians and groomers. These muzzles are made of leather, nylon or another strong cloth and fit snugly around the dog’s snout. These muzzles are ideal for restraining dogs during short periods of time when they may feel frightened or aggressive, like at the vet’s office. However, don’t assume that these muzzle leave you fully protected from dog bites. While they do help significantly, dogs occasionally pinch with their teeth despite a cloth muzzle. Since these muzzles restrict the dog’s ability to pant, they should not be used for long periods of time or in hot environments.

Wire Basket Muzzles

Wire basket muzzles are generally used on dogs that are known to be aggressive. They are constructed of a strong wire basket that fits around the dog’s snout, with padding around the area that touches the dog’s face. The muzzle is connected using one strap that wraps securely behind the dog’s ears and a second strap that runs between the ears and down the centre of the dog’s face. These muzzles provide protection from bites while still allowing the dog to open his mouth fully to drink, pant and bark. The biggest drawback to the wire basket style is that, while they do prevent the dog from biting, they often cause other injuries when the dog slings its head into another animal or person.

Racing Muzzles

Greyhounds wear racing muzzles to keep them from becoming aggressive during competitions. Because of the nature of greyhound racing, these muzzles allow the dog’s mouth to open fully for drinking and panting. In this way, they are similar to wire basket muzzles. However, racing muzzles do not provide the same level of protection as their metal counterparts. These muzzles are best for dogs that need to be restrained but do not pose any serious danger, such as an indoor dog that tends to chew the furniture.

Police Dog Muzzles

Dogs that are learning attack techniques are usually trained using police dog muzzles. These muzzles are made from a strong leather that is woven into a basket-type formation. The sides of the muzzle extend to cover the dog’s entire jaw and are usually reinforced in the area closest to the teeth. The muzzle is held in place by two straps—one that goes behind the ears and another that runs down the centre of the face, similar to the wire basket muzzle.