Choosing the right muzzle for a dog can be tricky. We recommend some of the safest and most comfortable muzzles on the market in our guide.
There are many circumstances where a dog muzzle can help to keep your canine safe, but if you’ve never used one before, the selection can be daunting.
And you’re right to be cautious. Not all dog muzzles are the same - and some could potentially be deeply uncomfortable for your four-legged friend.
So how do you pick a dog muzzle which is safe, comfy and provides the necessary protection?
Never fear, it’s simpler than you might think!
We cover the essentials in our guide and recommend the only dog muzzles for biting that we believe are worth looking at.
Read on to find the best dog muzzle for your pet.
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Our Recommended Dog Muzzles
In our opinion, these are the muzzles for dogs worth your consideration.
See how they compare in the table below before reading our individual reviews in the next section.
OUR TOP PICK
Baskerville Ultra Muzzle
- Humanely designed to allow dogs to pant & eat/drink
Best Soft Muzzle
GoodBoy Gentle Muzzle
- Comfortable Neoprene padding
- Allows panting & drinking
Croci Lupo Muzzle
Best for Short Snouts
Champion Leather Dog Muzzle
- Natural leather
OUR TOP PICK
Baskerville Ultra Muzzle
The Baskerville Ultra Muzzle is a basket-style muzzle which makes the comfort of your dog a priority of the overall design.
It can be worn by even broad-nosed dogs and is available in six different sizes. The sizing chart below shows recommendations of which breeds suit each size.
The 'fit' is one of the most important elements for any muzzle, and it can be difficult to get it just right. The Baskerville offers the convenience of an off-the-shelf design with the improved fit of a custom muzzle.
Made from tough TPR (a thermoplastic rubber known for being strong), the muzzle can be molded to fit your canine’s snout. This is done by dipping in hot water before placing on your dog, and molding to their snout. Next, dip in cold water to set the shape and voila! A custom-shaped muzzle! Clever stuff.
If you've ever used a mouth guard while playing sports like rugby, it's a very similar fitting process.
The inside of this basket dog muzzle is made of neoprene so it’s soft and won’t irritate your dog’s head. It’s easy to fasten with an over-the-head buckle and a strap that loops through the collar for extra security.
There’s not much wrong with this muzzle - it pretty much ticks every box!
The custom molding for a perfect fit is the show stopping feature for us. It's a really innovative idea that very few muzzles offer.
The basket style is also one of the most comfortable and allows plenty of room for your dog to pant and even drink.
Hard to top!
Best Soft Dog Muzzle
GoodBoy Gentle Muzzle
The drawback of many soft dog muzzles is that they prevent dogs from being able to comfortably breath and pant, but that’s not the case with this comfortable design from GoodBoy.
The muzzle is placed relatively high up on the snout so that although your dog can’t bite, they can still breathe, pant and even drink.
Available in four sizes, there’s a guide to both neck and snout size so you can choose the best fit. This style isn’t suitable for short-nosed breeds, but can accommodate even the largest dog.
Hook and loop fastenings, tough buckles and an extra loop for the collar make this easy to adjust and secure.
Made from lightweight plastic, this classic box-shaped basket muzzle is suitable for many dogs.
With cutaways for the eyes, the design works especially well for breeds with long noses that may find other muzzles tricky.
The single buckle and adjustable clips make it quick and easy to fit, although it doesn't feel quite as secure as some other designs which include a head strap.
The plastic clips under the ears were also reported as irritating some dogs.
If your pooch has a naughty habit of scavenging, you can take advantage of the extra security guard.
This allows them the room of a basket muzzle without being able to hoover up any food lying around!
Croci Lupo Muzzle
Ergonomically shaped, this basket muzzle is available in a range of different sizes to suit all breeds. Despite its lightweight design, it is made from strong plastic which won’t easily bend or tear.
Your dog will find plenty of room to pant, breathe and drink while wearing this muzzle, making it a good choice for longer periods. A nose strip at the end provides added protection and prevents chafing of your pooch’s sensitive nose.
It’s designed to fit the contours of the canine neck naturally, but the inclusion of only a single buckle is an issue.
Many dog owners, especially of larger breeds, reported that their dog was able to escape from the muzzle with little effort.
Best for Short Snouts
Champion Leather Dog Muzzle
If you’re looking for a muzzle for a larger dog, this design from Champion is an excellent pick. The basket style gives plenty of room to breathe, pant and drink while still ensuring your canine isn’t able to bite.
Made from leather, it’s completely eco-friendly but you’ll need to ensure you keep it well-conditioned so it stays supple and doesn’t crack.
Although this muzzle comes in different sizes, it’s particularly suited to larger dogs.
The rivets on the muzzle and the head strap provide top notch resilience and will hold everything firmly in place without chafing.
For larger dogs that may struggle to squeeze into the dimensions of smaller muzzles, this is a godsend.
Strong leather can withstand the needs of a more powerful breed and as an all-natural material, is also eco-friendly.
Leather can take a bit more maintenance but that aside, it’s an excellent muzzle for dogs.
Before choosing a muzzle for your dog, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the basics.
Once you know what to look for in a muzzle, you can decide on the best type for your pooch.
This buyer’s guide will take you from the start and walk you through all the essentials.
When to Use a Muzzle
It’s an unfortunate fact that for many people, muzzles are intrinsically linked to aggressive dogs. While it’s true that a dog muzzle for biting is a popular reason, it’s not the only situation where you might choose to muzzle your dog.
Some dogs have to wear a muzzle in public because of legislation around their breed, even if they have no history of aggression.
Other dogs are more fearful and timid, and can bite because they’re scared. This can commonly be the case in new surroundings, or in situations where they’re uncomfortable, such as at the vets.
If you are working on your dog’s behaviour, using a muzzle can provide you with confidence to venture to places which wouldn’t otherwise be safe to try.
When Not to Use a Dog Muzzle
While it’s true that a muzzle can be very useful for some dogs in certain situations, they aren’t always a good idea.
Gradual exposure to difficult situations may be part of an overall behaviour program. At these times, it’s appropriate to use a muzzle and to push your dog’s comfort level in a careful, measured, and controlled way.
It’s not OK to use a muzzle to force your dog into an environment where they feel unhappy, just because you want to go. For example, if your dog finds the park stressful, a program of graded exposure is needed. A muzzle should never be used as an alternative to behaviour training.
Muzzles are there to prevent your dog from biting, they shouldn’t be used for any other reason. You shouldn’t use a muzzle to stop your dog barking, for example. Addressing the underlying behaviour is important, and a muzzle won’t do this.
Although muzzles should be comfortable for your dog to wear, and safe enough for them to breathe without restriction, you should never leave your dog alone while wearing one. Muzzles must only be used when your dog is supervised.
Finally - and this should be obvious! - but never use the muzzle as a punishment. It won’t resolve the underlying issue and you will teach your pooch to be scared of the muzzle. If you then need to use it legitimately, they will react badly and may become aggressive.
Dog Muzzle Types
There are two main types of muzzles for dogs. These are:
Basket Dog Muzzles
The clue is in the name - these muzzles look just like miniature baskets which encase the nose and mouth of your dog.
They can be custom-made to meet the measurements of your own dog, or you can choose an off-the-shelf option which is suitable for the breed.
A basket dog muzzle can be made from a wide range of materials including leather, plastic, wire or even rubber. If your dog is unhappy with one material, it’s easy to try another.
Many dog owners worry about the comfort of muzzles, and may recoil from basket muzzles for this reason. At first glance, soft muzzles (see below) may appear to be the kinder option, but this isn’t usually the case.
Basket muzzles may make your dog look as if they’re the canine version of Hannibal Lecter, but they’re actually very comfortable. This is because they’re able to open their mouth fully to eat, drink and pant.
Not having their mouth closed or limited can make muzzles much more acceptable to dogs. You can even find some basket muzzles which have an access slit along the side. This allows larger treats to be fed without presenting a choking risk.
Soft Dog Muzzles
These types of muzzle are often chosen based on their appearance, as they certainly look a lot less scary and imposing. However, they can cause more discomfort than basket muzzles.
A soft muzzle can be made from many different materials, but are usually some sort of fabric such as leather, mesh or nylon. They work by wrapping around your dog’s mouth and holding it closed.
While they are effective in preventing your dog from biting, they also prevent other critical actions, such as panting. While wearing a soft muzzle, your dog will not be able to pant, bark, eat or drink.
Panting is the doggy equivalent of sweating. If a dog cannot pant, it will be unable to reduce its body heat. It is therefore vital that soft muzzles are only used for very short periods and absolutely never in warm weather, or when your dog is already hot.
The other issue is that muzzles should ideally be used in conjunction with behaviour modification programs. You will find this difficult it you can’t give your dog treats as positive feedback for desired behaviour.
Although there are only two main types of muzzle available commercially, there is a third option: a home-made muzzle. This should only be used in an emergency situation and not for routine trips.
Some canine first aid kits contain material suitable for a temporary, emergency muzzle. Failing this, you could use bandages, tights or potentially even the leash, but this isn’t ideal. Home-made muzzles really should only be used when there is no other available option.
Recommended: Bring your dog on your next bicycle trip! Here are our recommended dog bike trailers for you and your pooch.
How to Train Your Dog to Use a Muzzle
If you plan on using a muzzle with your dog, you’ll need to prep ahead of the time that it’s actually needed. The chances are you won’t be able to just place a muzzle on your dog, and them to accept it right away.
Dogs typically need a bit of time to acclimatise to wearing a muzzle. Also, if you’re trying to get it on them only when they’re in a stressful situation, they will have negative associations with it. This will make it hard to get a muzzle on them in the future.
If you combine a muzzle with rewards, and introduce it in low-stress situations, you should be able to easily train your pooch to be happy wearing one.
Here’s a suggested process of training any dog to wear a muzzle:
- Allow them to see the muzzle and sniff it. Give a treat after they sniff the muzzle.
- Touch the muzzle to your dog’s nose, and then instantly give them a treat. You want your dog to associate the muzzle with good things happening!
- Hold a treat just inside the muzzle so your dog has to reach inside to retrieve it.
- Once the dog will retrieve the treat from inside the muzzle, move onto the next step.
- Place the muzzle on, instantly give a treat and then remove the muzzle.
- Place the muzzle on, buckle it up and then instantly give a treat. Remove the muzzle.
- Place the muzzle on, buckle it up and wait for five seconds. Give a treat and then remove the muzzle.
- Keep repeating this final step, increasing the length of time the muzzle is worn each time.
All of the above steps should be repeated several times and at a pace your dog is comfortable with.
There's no quick way to do this. Take your time and be patient with your pet.
How to Fit a Muzzle Properly
Even if you’ve done your homework and picked the right type of muzzle for your dog, if it’s not fitted properly, it could cause real discomfort.
Getting your dog to accept the muzzle and work with you is as much about the fitting as the choice of style.
You may be concerned about the muzzle being too tight and being uncomfortable for your dog. However, if it is too loose, your canine will be able to get out of it. It’s surprisingly easy to remove a loose muzzle - your dog doesn’t need to be Houdini!
On the flip side, a tight muzzle will be deeply unpleasant for your dog. It may prevent them from being able to breathe easily, as well as pant and drink. You may also notice they become chafed.
To get the ideal fit on a muzzle, you should be able to slide one finger under the strap. You may need to try on different sizes and designs to be certain which one is right for your pooch.
Which type of muzzle do you prefer? What's your "go to" muzzle? We'd love to hear from you down in the comments section!