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What Type of Muzzle Should I Buy For My Dog?

We LOVE muzzles. But there are SO MANY OPTIONS. How do I know what type of muzzle my dog needs, let alone what brand and what size? We’re here to help you out.


*NOTE: If you’re training your dog to wear a muzzle as part of a behavior modification process, especially for safety reasons, please seek the support of a certified behavior consultant! If you’d like to work with Every Dog, we’re happy to help


Looking for something else about muzzles?


Want to watch the whole webinar about muzzles? Check it out!

What are the Different Types of Muzzles?

There are two common types of muzzles out there: occlusion muzzles and basket muzzles.


Occlusion Muzzles for Dogs

Occlusion muzzles are typically made of some kind of fabric, and function by essentially holding the dog’s jaws together. The dog is unable to bite because they can’t open their mouth. These muzzles are commonly seen in veterinary clinics as an emergency option to prevent bites when the situation is urgent.




However, occlusion muzzles don’t let dogs pant normally, which can severely inhibit their breathing and their ability to regulate their temperature: both safety risks! We recommend that occlusion muzzles only be used in case of an emergency and for as short a time as possible.


Basket Muzzles for Dogs

A basket muzzle is any muzzle that forms a “basket” around the dog’s snout, preventing their teeth from accessing things outside the basket. These muzzles can be made from many materials and come in various shapes and sizes.



A well-fitted basket muzzle should allow the dog to breathe and pant normally. We recommend using a basket muzzle for any dog who we’re training to wear a muzzle! Basket muzzles can safely be worn for extended periods of time if needed, and can be fitted to allow the dog to have normal motion and comfort.


What Does “Bite Proof” Mean for Muzzles?

You may hear folks talk about whether or not a muzzle is “Bite Proof.” But what does that mean?

Most common basket muzzle types will prevent a dog from being able to bite. However, some dogs may be extremely powerful or extremely determined, and these dogs may be able to bite through some of the common muzzle types. While these situations are relatively rare, they’re important to talk about.


If your dog is a minimal bite risk, most muzzles will likely be fine. Biothane or rubber/plastic muzzles (like the Baskerville Ultra) should be a good safety net in these cases.


If your dog is a significant bite risk, particularly if they’ve caused more severe bites, have attempted to hold/shake, or are extremely determined to get to the thing they’re not supposed to eat (think smarty pants dogs who really love to munch on socks), biothane or rubber will likely not be sufficient to prevent the dog getting teeth on something. For these cases, we recommend wire/polymer basket muzzles or sheet vinyl muzzles.


What Common Muzzle Options Are There?

There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a muzzle! Do you need something “bite proof?” Do you have a preference on color? Some muzzle companies only offer a black muzzle (or black and white), while others offer tons of bright colors. Some brands offer options for additional straps (for example, going over the forehead or connecting to a collar) or the addition of a treat hole. For training, we typically recommend having a treat hole to make things easy! However, in some severe cases, a treat hole may not be safe for a particularly determined dog.


The materials involved make a difference, too. The vinyl sheet muzzles may retain heat more than an open wire muzzle, and some materials like leather may be more difficult to clean than others. If your dog will be wearing the muzzle while participating in athletic activities, you may need something different from the dog who will be wearing the muzzle at home or at the vet clinic. 


How Much Does a Muzzle Cost?

Muzzle cost ranges a LOT! There are some options you can purchase for $20 USD, and others that are $160-$190. There are also plenty of muzzles in the $50-60 range. Depending on your dog’s needs there may be good reasons to splurge (or not).


Should I Buy a Custom Made Muzzle?

There are many times when a pre-made muzzle is just perfect for a dog and their situation! But there are also times when a custom-made muzzle may be beneficial:

  • The dog has a face shape that doesn’t fit in most pre-made muzzles. This is especially common for brachycephalic dogs like bulldogs and pugs!

  • You want something in particular colors!

  • You’re having trouble navigating the sizing charts and options among other manufacturers and want to get something that’s a great fit



What Brand of Muzzle Should I Buy?

There are TONS of muzzle brands out there. We’re going to go through several common brands and their pros and cons. We aren’t sponsored by any companies and just want folks to have the information they need! 


 

Baskerville Ultra


This is the most widely-recognizable muzzle out there. It comes in six sizes (1-6) and comes in either black or tan. It’s made of a thick plastic/rubber.




NOTE: Muzzle Training and Tips is an excellent website with TONS of great information about fitting muzzles, muzzle sizing and brands. However, the trainers are not positive reinforcement professionals: so you’ll see photos of dogs wearing prong and shock collars on the website. While we advocate against using these tools, we do want you to have access to the photo directory for sizing! 


Pros:

  • You can get it today in most pet stores or on Amazon

  • It’s cheap- usually about $20 USD

  • It has big holes for treat delivery

Cons:

  • Only 6 sizes, with no good option for really big dogs or shorter-snouted dogs. *We recommend using a size above what the manufacturer recommends. For example, with a 50lb pittie type dog we’d typically use a size 5 in order to give them sufficient pant room, even though it will be too long.

  • Not bite proof for dogs who are serious bite risks

Notes:

  • You can slightly reshape a Baskerville to widen or narrow it

  • PLEASE WATCH OUT FOR KNOCKOFFS!! There are a number of brands being sold online that are made to look like Baskervilles. However, these muzzles are made of a soft, flimsy rubber material that would not prevent a bite. If it’s easy to squish the muzzle, it’s a knock-off and not a Baskerville. The Baskerville Ultra should have the word ULTRA on the side.


Example of a knockoff Baskerville being squished


Examples of muzzles that are made to look like Baskervilles, but are not sturdy/durable



 

Trust Your Dog Muzzles (TYDM)

Trust Your Dog makes beautiful vinyl and biothane muzzles in a variety of colors. 


Pros:

  • The majority of these muzzles are custom-fitted, so you get something built specially for your dog. *They do have some pre-made muzzles you can buy!

  • They have a TON of pretty colors

  • They offer both biothane-only muzzles (which may not prevent a determined bite) and vinyl muzzles which are very bite proof. Both types allow you to choose addons like treat holes, additional straps, etc.

  • They provide measuring support if you’re having trouble.

Cons:

  • These high quality muzzles don’t come cheap. Most muzzles are $150-$190 USD.

  • Because they’re custom made, it can take a few months to receive your muzzle.

Notes:



Example of a vinyl muzzle with a forehead strap and a treat hole you can just barely see


Example of a biothane muzzle. You can see this one has a treat hole (in the front where the pink strap stops in the middle)




Photo of Miranda’s dog Nina learning to wear her TYDM. A vinyl muzzle with a treat hole. 


 

Bumas makes custom-fitted biothane muzzles in lots of colors


Pros:

  • Custom made or premade, with 11 pre-made sizes that roughly equate to dog breed/size

  • Their custom tool tries to make it easy for folks to size a muzzle

  • Tons of pretty colors!

  • Lots of additional strap options for safety and comfort

Cons:

  • These muzzles are pricey at $150+

  • Biothane muzzles will not be bite proof for severe bites



Photo Credit: Bumas


 

Jafco

These popular muzzles come in a sleek polymer or vinyl basket.


Pros:

  • Bite proof, in either the vinyl or the polymer basket.

  • Come in black or white (poly) and very light weight (the vinyl is a little heavier)

  • Only about $40-50

Cons:

  • Only 6 sizes

  • The treat holes are small and can be a little tricky

  • You can’t buy directly from Jafco or Amazon, so you have to find another retailer (we usually use Leerburg)

Notes:

  • The vinyl is a lot more giving to fit around dog faces. The polymer material is more stiff, so be careful of fit especially at the edges.




 

Polymer Coated Wire Muzzles (aka Chopo)

These versatile muzzles were originally manufactured by Chopo but are now sold under many different companies- Leerburg, Dean and Tyler, and FDT. Because things are all over the place, we recommend checking out the sizing across companies.


Pros:

  • Bite proof

  • Only about $50

  • Well ventilated, easy to give treats!

Cons:

  • Getting muzzle punched by a dog in this muzzle would still hurt!

  • Sizing is super tricky, with different retailers using different size charts

Notes:

  • For pittie type dogs, the #24C or #30C are common sizes on Leerburg!





 

This new brand is all about reducing muzzle stigma by creating plastic basket muzzles in tons of fun colors.


Pros:

  • So many pretty colors!

  • Should be bite proof

  • Only about $60

Cons:

  • Limited sizes available, though new sizes are being created and produced regularly

  • Great educational resources


Photo Credit: The Muzzle Movement



 

Want to learn about other brands? Go to Muzzle Training and Tips and click on Muzzle Options


NOTE: Muzzle Training and Tips is an excellent website with TONS of great information about fitting muzzles, muzzle sizing and brands. However, they are not trainers are not positive reinforcement professionals: so you’ll see photos of dogs wearing prong and shock collars on the website. While we advocate against using these tools, we do want you to have access to the photo directory for sizing! 



Wondering about why your dog should wear a muzzle? Check out our Muzzle Guide Part 1!

Want to learn more about how to properly fit a muzzle? Check out our Muzzle Guide Part 2!

Ready to get started with muzzle training? Check out our Muzzle Guide Part 4!

 

Want to work with us on muzzle training? we’re happy to help!

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