What are these soft muzzles good for?
This type of muzzle is also called a grooming/ textil/ fabric/ nylon muzzle. This style is fine to use for a few minutes long vet check, nail trim, or similar procedure where you are afraid your dog might nip. They are also great to bring with you for emergencies because they don’t take up any space in your backpack and come in handy if your dog gets injured. Even the sweetest dog can bite when they are in pain, and it’s much easier to check them out or bandage an injury if you don’t have to deal with them snapping at you in the meantime.
In the situations mentioned above, you want to tighten the muzzle around the snout as much as you can without hurting the dog to prevent biting or nipping. This also means that the dog can’t pant while it is on. Thus, these muzzles are NOT appropriate to use on a walk or for a more extended trip on hot public transportation. Dogs not only overheat while exercising in extreme heat but also when they are stressed.
When we point this out, many people say that they don’t tighten it so the dog can open their mouths and take treats, so it’s fine to use it for walks. The truth is that your dog can easily bite through this type of muzzle if it is not tight. If they can open their mouth to take a treat, they can bite. If they can’t open their mouth, they will overheat. Either way, these muzzles are not recommended for most situations.
Risks of leaving your dog alone with a textil muzzle
After posting about this topic on social media, we heard from many concerned trainers that people leave their dog alone at home for hours with these muzzles on. We did a quick search online, and found many sellers who recommend these muzzles to prevent barking or chewing on furniture! We understand that people are always eager to find a quick fix for a problem, but these issues require training, not tying the mouth closed.
Besides not solving any behavior problem in the long run by putting a tight muzzle on the dog, this also puts a significant risk on the dog. First of all, as we discussed, dogs have to be able to pant to cool down, which is impossible if the mouth is closed. Dogs can quickly die if they overheat - especially since they wouldn’t be able to drink water either. The other main risk is if the dog gets sick (e.g., because of overheating or stressing with the muzzle on) and vomits, they can suffocate with the mouth closed.
Please do not use these muzzles for longer than a few minutes, and never leave them unattended with these on! Look up a more proper type of muzzle that allows panting if you need one for walks, and please reach out to a trainer if you need help with barking or chewing!
If you want to learn more about muzzles, you can join amazing groups on Facebook, like Muzzle Up, Pup!, or follow The Muzzle Up Project. You can also check out the Muzzle Training and Tips website, browse our articles, where we discussed many muzzle-related topics.
You can check out the reviews of the muzzles in this post by clicking on the “Muzzle” filter on our Review page.