The Controversial World of Muzzles

Muzzles are one of the most controversial pieces of dog equipment on the market. Designed to keep dogs from biting or nipping, muzzles are usually made of either plastic, cloth, or metal, and sit around the mouth like a circle. While they can be effective in preventing dog violence and attacks, many dog-owners have polarizing opinions about whether or not muzzles are ethical to use. 

Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument and see if there’s an answer to whether or not muzzles are okay to use. 

How Muzzles Can Help

On one hand, muzzles can be a useful tool for allowing reactive dogs to go out in the world without issue. In short, they can prevent other dogs and humans from being bitten or nipped. Pro-muzzle dog owners argue that without a muzzle, everyday activities such as going to a dog park or a vet’s office might become impossible. 

Muzzles also offer an opportunity for others to be aware that a dog with behavioral issues is around. Small children may see a dog and immediately go running at it, but a muzzle can signal that that might not be a good idea. It also allows other dog owners to decide if that dog is a suitable playmate for their furry friend.

How Muzzles Can Hurt

But anti-muzzle dog owners argue that muzzles prevent dogs from living normally, as some muzzles (usually soft muzzles) don’t allow dogs to drink or pant. Because of this, muzzles do have the ability to pose a great risk to dogs, as not being able to pant or drink water could put them at risk for dehydration or heat stroke – both of which can be deadly. Also, some believe that muzzles carry a negative connotation that the dog is aggressive or at risk of injuring someone, even if that’s not true. 

Though the largest argument against muzzles is that they are a temporary solution to a dog’s behavioral issues. Some believe that the proper way to deal with a dog’s aggression is to seek training and remove the problem altogether, thus removing the need for a muzzle in the first place. 

But it’s important to remember that this is not a viable option for many dog owners. Obedience training classes can cost anywhere from 30 to 120 dollars per session/hour, and it often takes multiple sessions with a professional to correct problematic behaviors such as biting. Taking care of a dog is already expensive when you add up veterinary costs, food, grooming, toys, etc. So muzzles are a cheaper option for dog owners who might not have the means to get their dog trained. 

So, Are Muzzles Okay to Use?

So, what’s the verdict: are muzzles okay to use? Unfortunately, there is no “right” answer – it’s up to the owner. If a dog owner does choose to use a muzzle, they have a responsibility to their dog to ensure it’s not worn for too long and poses a risk to their dog. If an owner chooses not to muzzle their dog, they are responsible for their dog’s behavior towards other humans and animals. Both sides come with pros and cons. 

If you’re interested in learning about muzzles and finding some options that could help you and your dog, click here to see DogFriendly’s top picks. 

Abigail Kurten
Author: Abigail Kurten

Hi! My name's Abigail, and I intern as a Content Writer for I have one dog, a chocolate lab named Riley who's the best! My favorite breed of dog is a Bulldog or Saint Bernard, though.

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