New resources for veterinarians

MUPmainMuzzle Up! is excited to announce a new and ongoing project to help veterinarians and other dog professionals disseminate high-quality, educational information to their clients about muzzles and muzzle safety. Visit the new section on our website for more information. We will continue adding content in the coming months, so stay tuned for more updates!

The project’s founder, Maureen Backman, MS, CTC, is also available to give workshops and presentations on muzzles and muzzle safety at Bay Area veterinary practices and pet businesses. For more information, email her at muzzleupproject@gmail.com.

Finding the best muzzle for your dog: An equipment guide

Photo courtesy Cassarra Groesbeck

Photo courtesy Cassarra Groesbeck

The Muzzle Up! Project has received a large number of requests for  information on the different types of muzzles available, breed-specific muzzles, and where to purchase them. The following is a starter list, compiled from our own research and information from supporters. Please email us at muzzleupproject@gmail.com if you have any questions or resources to share. We’d especially like to hear from those who live outside the US to help us expand our international resources.

Equipment Review

The Baskerville Ultra muzzle is the gold standard for a safe and comfortable basket muzzle. Product features include:

  • Durable, flexible plastic
  • Neoprene padding on the straps to prevent chafing
  • Safety strap that fits over the head to ensure a secure fit (optional)
  • Wide holes guarantee your dog can eat, drink and pant

– The Ultra is available on many sites. Muzzle Up! recommends purchasing one from the Karen Pryor Clicker Store. For those in the UK, Company of Animals provides a selection, including the option of blue or pink plastic.

– Pet Expertise offers a great sizing chart to help determine the best fit for your dog. Several Muzzle Up! supporters have indicated one drawback to the Ultra: in some dogs, the plastic chafes the skin above the nose. Fabric strips placed on the plastic can help prevent damage to the skin, as well as ensure a proper fit.

– Dean and Tyler offers a muzzle that comes in 30 sizes. Their website includes a chart to help you determine the correct size for your dog. Product features include:

  • Heavy felt padding on the nose area to prevent chafing
  • Adjustable leather straps
  • Ample room for your dog to eat, drink and pant
  • Available in smaller breed sizes

While wire muzzles can be a safe and effective choice, they are typically heavier than plastic muzzles. The metal can also become uncomfortable for a dog in hot or cold climates. Leather basket muzzles, while sometimes hard to fit, can provide some extra comfort for your dog. Keep in mind that some leather muzzle designs do not allow for easy consumption of food and water (two things that are essential for muzzle safety). Dean and Tyler also offers a version which, like their wire muzzles, includes padding around the nose area to prevent chafing.

– Trixie Pet Products offers a leather “bridle” style muzzle, which includes space for treat taking, panting and drinking, as well as a forehead strap for a secure fit.

Breed Specific and Custom Sized Muzzles

– The Dog Muzzle Store offers one of the most comprehensive collections of breed-specific muzzles available, in both leather and wire varieties. Here is an example of a leather basket muzzle designed for French bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers. Their site allows you to list your dog’s measurements to ensure a custom fit.  Features of these custom muzzles include:

  • Felt padding along the nose area
  • Ample ventilation
  • Forehead straps to ensure a secure fit

The site includes various other leather options  to choose from, but this one has the best design for delivering treats and drinking water. The Dog Muzzle Store’s rubber and plastic coated muzzles come with a comfort strap above the nose as well, and the rubber coating ensures comfort in hot and cold temperatures. Here is an example of their metal wire muzzle, designed for boxer type breeds. They also offer a fully padded wire version (seen here on a German Shepherd).

– Hot Dogs All Dressed offers custom-made leather muzzles for all breeds.

International Links 

Bumas custom leather muzzles in various colors (based in Austria but ships worldwide)

Gappay rubberized muzzles (based in Germany)

– Sofahund Hot Dogs All Dressed (custom leather muzzles in various colors)

The Greyhound & Whippet Shop

– A special note about greyhounds: By purchasing from a respected rescue organization, you can ensure that your money will not support the dog racing industry. One of our supporters shared the link to Greyhound Rescue West of England, which provides several basket muzzle options. Scottish Greyhound Sanctuary also offers basket muzzles for this breed in a variety of colors.

– By Maureen Backman, MS CTC. Maureen is the founder of The Muzzle Up! Project and owns Mutt About Town dog training in San Francisco, CA. She will be presenting about Muzzle Up at this year’s Pet Professional Guild Summit in Tampa, FL. Get in touch at muttabouttownsf@gmail.com.

Human reactions to muzzles

MqUgt47xH8sB1LY0DvU7uAd9y-wGVKQQN7HJps-Wl80,tbddtejv52x1vYi5rqdsfha8KEg-MAqFwLi8wSaAJRw,bG1p_GdldAOMIy6xS-4pom5y2fYMkBjL54s2Gat7ivI,GxuDbVthEx20W6GcRQrijCmX_0zWfkH5XUB1rSw9jqg,F7nJQiRNXnqul8w_nIbBrETvAIRcYd8z_McGLO6jSTY-1One of The Muzzle Up! Project’s goals is erasing the stigma associated with muzzles. While it’s difficult to find research studies focused on human perceptions of muzzled dogs and how that affects our behavior, I fortunately came across an interesting study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research in 2009.

The study observed the behavior of adults who came within a specific distance of a man walking a German shepherd dog, both when the dog was wearing the muzzle and when the dog was not wearing one.

According to the authors, “We focused on 3 behaviors potentially indicative of fear, relating to either avoidance or vigilance: (1) movement away from the dog while passing by; (2) looking at the dog while passing by; (3) turning around to look at the dog after passing by.”

The results showed that the muzzled dog elicited more fear-based behaviors in humans. The study also found that the people who encountered the muzzled dog moved away from the dog to avoid him and also turned around to look at the dog once they passed him, indicating fear and hypervigilance.

“This study suggests that, paradoxically, a muzzled dog is considered as more dangerous by humans than a non-muzzled dog, whereas only the latter can be a real source of danger,” write the authors.

– By Maureen Backman, MS

Maureen is the founder of The Muzzle Up! Project and the owner of Mutt About Town in San Francisco, CA. Get in touch at muzzleupproject@gmail.com.

Citation:

The dog or its muzzle as a Signal of danger for humans
Anaïs Racca, Claude Baudoin

Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 1 
March 2009 (volume 4 issue 2 Page 94 DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2008.09.055)