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You may think that you do never need a muzzle as it is always calm and you would never get bitten but when they are hurt or unwell they could give you a nasty bite. If you are dealing with a dog you do not know, applying a muzzle may be an easier decision.

There are two groups of a muzzle, commercial muzzles and improvised muzzles. We will look at how to apply a muzzle in another video but to start with we will look at the do’s and do not’s with muzzles.

Firstly, it is a good idea if you get some advice locally from your vet or pet professional on how to apply a muzzle on your dog as then you can make sure it is the right size and type for your dog. They will also be able to give advice tailored to your dog. A badly fitted muzzle can be dangerous and can restrict breathing or just not work correctly. Once a muzzle is fitted it will not guarantee that they cannot hurt you as they can still cause an impact injury and a muzzle will not stop the damage their claws would do.

It is important to practice putting a muzzle on and taking it off. The more your dog is used to wearing one the easier it will be if you need to use one in an emergency and the less the chance that they will be obsessed with taking it off. Some dogs also need muzzles when they visit the vet so practising will make it less stressful if the vet applies one.

Now we will look some rules with muzzles. Muzzles should not be left with your dog while they are on their own. They can scratch them and hurt themselves.

Do not use a muzzle if your dog has a respiratory or problem with its mouth or nose as it can make the problem worse.

Muzzles are useful but it may be that putting your dog in a crate is a better option. Muzzles should not be used instead of Elizabethan collars that are used to stop dogs licking wounds. Use the correct collar as they stop them getting near the wound without affecting their mouth. A muzzle will not only restrict the dog but will also allow licking.

Muzzles are useful but they are not a training tool to stop bad behaviour, aggression, excessive barking or fear problems.

Tube style muzzles are for short periods of time only. If you need to use a muzzle for longer periods of time or while on walks, use the basket type muzzles.

Muzzles are not a tool to stop dogs fighting as they can still fight with a muzzle fitted and it can make the aggression problem worse.

Finally, do not trust a muzzle completely, dogs sometimes are very good and quick at removing a muzzle. Have a backup plan if your dog does keep removing its muzzle. We will look at how to apply a muzzle in the next video.