Dean & Tyler offers collars, leashes, muzzles, bite tugs, and many more products for both working dogs and family pets. All products are thoroughly tested and re-designed when needed with quality and durability in mind.
Since this is a more complex topic, we wrote an article about the different reasons for muzzling and why muzzling isn't cruel for those interested in reading more on the topic. Our “What to do around muzzled dogs” poster is also available on this link for downloading.
While there are many different reasons for muzzling, some shouldn't be among these - like using a muzzle to avoid barking. We feel it is essential to clarify that muzzles shouldn't be used to prevent barking; it is a dangerous and ineffective way to address this problem. If you want to learn more, check out our article on why not use a muzzle to stop barking.
Reviewing muzzles is hard because every dog and every situation requires a slightly different solution. Something can be a pro for one dog and a con for the other one. Even when discussing sizing, there are different opinions on how much room the dog should have in the muzzle. The only thing that everyone agrees on is that the dog should be able to pant to cool down while wearing it. However, what pant room means can generate great arguments. For example, if you are looking for an agitation muzzle or the muzzle will only be used for short periods, you are okay with a muzzle that provides enough room for a half-pant. On the other hand, if you use muzzles for hikes or canicross, it’ better to have enough room for comfortable full-pant.
The other tricky thing with sizing is that although there are great Facebook groups to help determine if the muzzle looks good on your dog, different photos could make the muzzle look much bigger or smaller.
Dean and Tyler asks buyers to not measure the dog with a ball in their mouth for sizing the muzzle which is commonly used to estimate the full-pant measurement. This resulted in a fair amount of backlash in the online communities.
Dean and Tyler openly speaks up against full-pant muzzles because their experience is that it compromises the safety of the muzzle, which is their primary responsibility, while upsizing is not necessarily more comfortable for the dogs either.
When reviewing muzzles, I don't want to “outsmart the system” and give modified measurements to companies. Instead, I send over the accurate closed month measurements and receive a muzzle based on the company's sizing guide or what their customer support team recommends to show what fit you can expect based on their recommendations.
With the DT Freedom Winter Muzzle, Mia was between two sizes. After discussing with them, we went with the slightly bigger one. As you see in the photo below, this is a little too long, but it is also taller in return. A common side effect of sizing up in most brands is that the muzzle also gets wider and longer, so it moves around a lot more on the dog's head.
Mia typically has a small pant, and although this muzzle doesn't provide enough room for a full-pant, so far, it has never limited her panting in the situations we used it.
Mia is only muzzled for a few minutes a day when leaving and entering our apartment complex because there are off-leash dogs inside our building who keep running up to her or cornering her in the elevator. This literally means a few minutes of use in an airconditioned environment, so I don't mind smaller sizing that provides more safety and less pant room.
If you want to learn more pros and cons on the topic of full pant room vs. free pant room in a muzzle, we just published a few thoughts on it in this article.
This muzzle is the winterized version of their Freedom Muzzle. The difference is the rubber coating on it to prevent the dog's snout from freezing to the muzzle in winter. Wire-basket muzzles can get overly cold in the winter and not only be uncomfortable but cause injuries to the dog as well.
The snout part of the muzzle is covered with thick felt to prevent chafing. This makes wearing it much more comfortable for the dog. Upsizing the muzzle also caused this padded section to be a little longer than needed on Mia, but she didn't mind it, so I didn't see a need to cut it out.
The muzzle is secured with one leather strap. My only problem with this muzzle was the difficulty of securing the rigid and thick leather strap through that small buckle. It is not a quick and easy process to put it on, although it is undoubtedly safer than a plastic buckle that can break, and the sliders on the strap could loosen over time.
I added an extra hole on Mia's strap because one was too loose, causing the muzzle to sit too low on her nose (see below), while the next one caused it to be right in her eyes.
The DT Freedom Muzzle is a very well-made, strong muzzle that prevents bites unless, e.g., someone's finger or a dog's ear gets in the muzzle. However, something to keep in mind is that the rigid metal muzzle does hurt when the dog runs into someone and can easily cause bruising. This happened all the time when Mia accidentally bumped into my leg, but it could also cause injuries if a dog goes for another one and hurt them just by the impact of the muzzle.
On the other hand, it's probably also painful for the dog when the muzzle is pushed back on their face when running into something, so if this is a concern, you might want to look for a muzzle made of a softer material.
Altogether this is a very well-made, quality muzzle that provides excellent airflow while it's also safe. At the same time, if you are looking for a full pant-room muzzle, this will probably not be your top choice unless you are willing to “trick the system” and try estimating which measurements would give you the size your dog needs. Expect that if you go with your dog's actual measurements, you will receive a muzzle that only allows a small pant. This is still suitable for taking treats and drinking, but it is not designed to let the dog pant fully.
• Bite-proof factor: basket muzzles are generally not the best if a dog is high bite-risk because someone's hand or another dog's hair could still get in through the muzzle. On the other hand, this muzzle is made from a rigid wire, so it's enough to prevent most bites.
• Prevent the dog from eating things from the ground: It makes it more challenging, but it is still possible for the dog to pick up stuff through the openings of the muzzle.
• Safety collar loop: it does not have a “loop” at the bottom that you can use to attach it to the collar.
• Overhead security strap: it does not have one, but it stays in place reasonably well due to the long sides that reach back by the dog's face.
You can buy the muzzle on their website, on Amazon, and from many resellers.
If you want to learn more about muzzles, you can join amazing groups on Facebook, like Muzzle Up, Pup! and Muzzle Training and Tips or follow The Muzzle Up Project. You can also browse our articles where we discussed many muzzle-related topics.