Picture the scene, you are walking down the street and suddenly in front of you there is a human walking in lead with their dog. The dog has a muzzle on, what is your first thought?
That is why so many dogs are embarrassed or feel they are pre judged if they have to wear a muzzle.
First of all lets look at types of muzzles. Well I could write a whole book on muzzle, so I will generalise to two actual types.
Day to day use muzzles and short use muzzles.
Short use muzzles are the material cone sort of shaped ones that hold the dog’s mouth closed.
These should only be used when a situation arises where humans need to get near to a dog. Such as emergency care at a veterinary practice, during bandage changes or nail clipping etc. These muzzles must not be used for a prolonged length of time as the dog cannot breathe or cool down properly, and is unable to eat or drink.
Day to day use muzzles has the greatest range of models and types. They are all basically basket type muzzles that allow a dog to open their mouth and breathe and cool down properly. They can also eat and drink while wearing them.
Day to day muzzles range so much as they are made from various materials and depending on the breed of dog, can be in all shapes and sizes to fit the dog’s mouth.
Why would a dog need to wear a muzzle?
- Some countries require dogs to wear muzzles until they have passed a behaviour course to assess them. This does not mean the dog is dangerous while it is muzzled, it just shows it has not finished its assessment.
- Breed specific muzzling is a government requirement to muzzle all dogs of a certain breed, regardless of the individual dog actually being aggressive or not.
- Illness can be a reason for wearing a muzzle. Perhaps the dog has a wound they cannot resist giving a sly lick or nibble to when the human is distracted.
- Scavengers have to wear muzzles as they tend to snack on anything and everything they can get their paws on. In some cases the more rotten the better. Apart from being a disgusting habit it can lead on to sickness and rather unsavoury poop bag episodes.
- Poop eaters. Well what can I say, it is self explanatory what they do. They feast down on all manner of poop. From rabbit droppings all the way to horse poop, with a quick munch of everything else they can get to munch on.
- Special diets dogs sometimes wear muzzles because some humans make it their life’s work to shove random treats and foodstuff into strange dog’s mouths without checking for food sensitivity or even permission.
-Over excitable playing dogs. Some dogs get over excited while playing in a group and may play nip. The nip itself may not cause injury, but it could escalate things with another dog that takes exception to being nipped. So a muzzle is used to err on the side of caution.
- Nervous dogs could wear a muzzle. They could be nervous of noise, crowds, traffic, other dogs… the list is endless. This does not mean the dog is aggressive. It just means that they are frightened.
- Finally the ‘aggressive’ dogs.
It will be a rare day when you actually come across a real life aggressive dog. Their humans will make sure their whole life and walks out and about will be away from most common places to find other dogs and their humans. Their whole life will be dedicated to ensuring a safe environment for the dog and ensure there is adequate safeguards in place.
The section most humans think of, but it is probably the least likely reason. So please remember, just because a dog wears a muzzle doesn't mean its nasty!
One of my good pals, Fergal, wears a muzzle. Here is a brief word from him about muzzles:
As many of you know that I, Fergal, wear a muzzle when out in public, I gets scared of all sorts of things, mainly off lead dogs, cyclists and jogger, my reaction to it all is to bark and lunge, so I wear a muzzle just in case a dog runs at me, or a jogger or cyclist surprise us, better to be safe than sorry.
Please educate your children without telling them that a dog in a muzzle is nasty, maybe say its scared of things, or that it eats poo!
As I sell many muzzles to dogs that aren't reactive, they just eat poo!
Also if you see an on lead dog (muzzled or unmuzzled) and the human asks if you would mind calling your dog back and holding their collar or putting them on lead, please respect this, they aren't doing it to be a pain, they are doing it to protect their dog and stop everyone’s walk from being ruined by an incident that could be avoided. We don't care that your dog is friendly or wont come near , we care about our dog and it not getting stressed or upset.
Here are some pictures of me with and without my muzzle.