One of the most difficult and misunderstood pet care decisions a dog owner can face is whether to use a muzzle for their pet. For those who don’t know much about dog care, muzzles can seem like the canine equivalent of an orange jumpsuit. But sometimes, even the best good boys and girls can need a little help, and that’s when muzzles can be a helpful tool to keep your canine companions and those around them safe.
In this post, our veterinarians at Normandale Veterinary Hospital are breaking down the tips you need to help your dog learn to wear a muzzle. To schedule your pet’s next check-up, give us a call!
When are Muzzles Needed?
One of the biggest mistakes pet owners make is in thinking their dog would never bite anyone. The truth is that all pets can become afraid or hurt in a way that causes them to panic and lash out. Even the most docile, loving pups can become a little unhinged during scary moments like when they’re getting groomed, having blood drawn, or even undergoing a simple exam.
And it’s not just about getting touched—for many pets, simply being around new people, animals, and smells in an unfamiliar space can be incredibly frightening or triggering. If your pet is injured or perceives a threat, instinct can take over, causing her to bite or snap and possibly cause harm to themselves or others.
This doesn’t mean a dog is good or bad. It simply means she’s just like any other creature, and making the decision to muzzle your furry friend when she’s at risk is one of the wisest and most caring choices you can make.
Common Questions About Muzzles
1. Will my dog hate wearing a muzzle?
Lots of working dogs like police dogs wear muzzles every day without any issues. As long as you train your dog to see muzzle-wearing as a positive experience, she will adapt to it just like she would a leash.
2. Will it be hard for her to breathe?
With a plastic basket muzzle, your good boy will be able to breathe and pant just fine and even take drinks of water or treats.
3. Will a muzzle hurt my dog or leave him feeling uncomfortable?
If you’re using a plastic basket muzzle that fits as it should, your canine companion won’t experience any pain or discomfort.
Tips for Muzzle Training
Before getting started with muzzle training, make sure you’re projecting the right attitude to make the experience positive for your pet.
Follow these tips for best results:
1. Let your dog check out the muzzle and sniff it before starting muzzle training.
2. Give her a chance to become familiar with the muzzle before trying it on by leaving it near her food while she eats and giving her treats while holding the muzzle.
3. After she’s gotten used to the muzzle, start training by touching the muzzle to her nose and giving her treats. Do this a few times.
4. Put the muzzle on her nose, give her a treat, and then remove it while she’s calm. You can also place a little peanut butter inside the basket muzzle for her to lick.
5. After you’ve done this a few times, build up to fastening the muzzle and adjusting it.
6. Gradually increase your pet’s muzzle time from 15 seconds to 30 seconds to 45 seconds or longer. Always give treats during muzzle training.
7. Once your dog has become used to muzzle wearing, you can start to take her out while wearing the muzzle.
Schedule Your Veterinarian Appointment
Once you’ve mastered muzzle training, you can feel confident to safely bring your pet in for her vaccinations and regular health check-ups. To schedule an appointment for medical treatment, call us at 952-831-8272 or send a message on our contact page. We can’t wait to meet your best friend!