Dog muzzles are a controversial topic but they’ll always have their place in dog training. Most of the time, muzzle training is non-permanent and will help a dog acclimatise to new surroundings, get used to frightening situations and ultimately, deter aggression and biting.
Dogs may also need to wear muzzles temporarily for medical reasons – there are many reasons for using a muzzle and no reason to be ashamed of yourself or your dog if you need to turn to one.
Muzzles come in a few different shapes and many sizes to cater to every dog. Some breeds are more likely to need muzzles than others but any dog from any breed may need one. Dogs are quirky and can be unpredictable, especially when subject to new experiences – there is nothing strange about this, it’s something we do ourselves!
However, given that laws in many countries are zero tolerance with aggressive or biting dogs, particularly with breeds that are considered more dangerous, it’s worth taking every measure you can to prevent anything bad from happening.
Muzzles will always play an important part here, they shouldn’t be seen as a mark of an ill-disciplined or dangerous dog.
This article will review the best basket muzzle from our top six picks, we will look at sizing, breeds, muzzle types and offer some handy tips on training your dog for wearing a muzzle.
- Best Basket Muzzles – Our Top Six Reviewed
- When and Why Dogs Wear Muzzles
- Introducing your dog to a muzzle
- Choosing a Muzzle: Types of Dog Muzzle
- Basket Muzzle Sizing
- Basket Muzzle Training
- Dog Muzzles Hints and Tips
Best Basket Muzzles – Our Top Six Reviewed
1. 🏆 Baskerville Ultra Muzzle
|Safe BASKERVILLE ULTRA MUZZLE, Patented Humane Design, Breathable, Dog can Pant and Drink,...||£12.80||Buy on Amazon|
It combines an extremely tough and durable muzzle with a high-quality stable harness but best of all, the muzzle can actually be heat-moulded to your dog’s snout much in the same way as a mouthguard.
It’s very easy to do and even a couple of minor adjustments might make a massive difference to your dog.
With 6 sizes available, you can easily pick a muzzle in your dog’s ballpark area before moulding it slightly to maximise comfort whilst minimising chafing.
This is a fairly open muzzle and allows your dog to lick and drink without biting.
- Fully-featured high-quality muzzle
- Heat mouldable for an awesome fit to most dogs
- 6 sizes available
- Very tough and long-lasting
2. Pettycart Dog Muzzle
|Pettycart Dog Muzzle, Basket Cage Muzzle for Small, Medium, Large Dogs to Stop Barking, Biting and...||Buy on Amazon|
Perfect for dogs that are active and need to drink, this protective muzzle provides the best of both worlds, it prevents biting whilst still providing a high level of space and breathing room for your dog.
The high-quality strap connects over the back of the head and it’s extremely hard to slip off.
- Soft plastic construction
- Plenty of breathing room
- Allows eating and drinking
- Range of sizes available
3. Soft Basket Silicone Muzzles for Dog
|Barkless Dog MuzzleSoft Basket Silicone Muzzles Dog Best to Prevent Biting Chewing Barking Allows...||£23.74||Buy on Amazon|
Its strong construction allows your dog to pant easily as well as eat some food and drink easily preventing biting and chewing without additional incumbrance.
The strap is very soft and is easily secured via a clip and this muzzle has additional support straps to suit virtually any dog of any size and strength.
This soft muzzle comes in 6 sizes ranging from very small with a circumference of only 8cm to very large with a circumference of 43cm.
- Flexible material suitable for active dogs
- 6 sizes available to cover many breeds
- Allows dogs to eat and drink
- Lightweight material
4. BASKERVILLE Muzzle Pack of 1
|Safe BASKERVILLE ANTI SCAVENGE MUZZLE, Breathable, Dog can Pant and Drink, Prevents Biting and Food...||£8.99||Buy on Amazon|
The material construction is still very high quality and its minimalist design means it’s exceptionally light.
Some dogs may have fewer issues with simpler muzzles with fewer straps so if larger muzzles fail to work then this is well worth a shout.
This muzzle allows dogs to pant and breathe easily as well as drink and eat certain foods.
- Super simple and cost-effective muzzle
- Very light
- Fewer straps mean less constriction and incumbrance
- Easily replaceable at the price
5. BronzeDog Wire Basket Dog Muzzle
|BRONZEDOG Dog Muzzle German Shepherd Wire Basket Metal Mask Leather Adjustable Medium Large Pets (M)||£42.47||Buy on Amazon|
Metal is advantageous as fewer bars are needed to maintain integrity and strength meaning your dog has more room.
The highly adjustable leather straps on this muzzle are easily fitted around your dog’s neck and since this wire basket muzzle is available in 3 sizes from medium, suiting dogs with 32cm circumference noses and 13cm length to extra large, suiting dogs with 38cm circumference noses up to 5 inches in length.
This muzzle is definitely best suited to larger dogs then which will greatly appreciate the added room granted by its metal construction.
A nice touch is that the straps are interwoven with reflective strips that glow in the dark.
- Very high-quality metal construction
- Soft but strong metal straps
- Maximal breathing space
- Reflective woven strips
6. Birdwell – Plastic Dog MuzzleAvailable on Amazon.com
They feature secure but simple straps that are designed to prevent your dog from feeling too crowded and constricted.
One of the best qualities of these muzzles is that each colour selection is a different muzzle shape, available in either medium or large. Some colours suit wide but short snouts whereas others cater to longer snouts.
Whilst there are sizes to cater to pretty much every medium or large breed, these muzzles aren’t suitable for smaller breeds.
The muzzles allow your dog to eat and drink happily whilst wearing them. The simple design of these muzzles means they might best suit dogs that tolerate muzzles well.
- Suitable for any medium to large breed
- Colours correspond to different nose and snout shapes
- Minimal straps mean minimal constriction
- Durable but lightweight
When and Why Dogs Wear Muzzles
Muzzles have certain connotations that conjure up images of unruly dogs that are hurtful and dangerous but this isn’t always the case.
Some dogs may be overly excitable in public and this can translate to biting with the intention to be playful.
Of course, not all dogs know their own strength and whilst they might restrain from causing hurt to their owners, this might not be the case with strangers.
Other dogs may be rescued or adopted from a background of abuse or even dogfighting, and thus, biting is deeply engrained in their behaviour.
Some may only bite or try to bite when they’re anxious and frightened, when they’re being taken to the vets or are exposed to unknown environments, especially very busy or loud environments with lots of movement and other animals.
Your dog may also temporarily need to wear a muzzle for when it’s having its nails cut, or even a haircut and wash if it really hates it.
Dogs, like all other creatures, are prone to lash out when they’re subject to experiences they really don’t like, it just so happens that dogs have strong jaws with sharp teeth!
Another possibility is that a dog is injured or has experienced a traumatic episode, even very friendly dogs may go through a period of biting following trauma or accidents.
A final possibility is that a dog is indeed comfortable around humans but is dangerous and aggressive around livestock and/or other dogs. Again, this may result from either instinct and personality or training from a previous owner.
In any case and no matter the reason, muzzle training may become necessary and the chances you’ll need a muzzle for some breeds are much higher than others. It’s worth taking every precaution to avoid a bite, it is law in many countries including the UK that a dog will not get a second chance if it causes damage through aggression and could be put down.
Introducing your dog to a muzzle
When it comes to muzzle training, it’s down to you as the owner to be proactive and take the necessary steps to make your dog comfortable with wearing one.
For many, this is the tricky bit and many owners rapidly find out that simply strapping a muzzle on a dog rarely works!
That isn’t always the case, some dogs may not be bothered by one, but the likelihood is that you’ll need to train your dog to be comfortable with a muzzle.
Choosing a Muzzle: Types of Dog Muzzle
There are two main types of muzzle, slip muzzles and basket/cage muzzles. Slip muzzles prevent a dog from opening their jaw at all and are mainly used in medical contexts, e.g. when a dog is under sedation.
Slip muzzles are not comfortable for your dog in general day-to-day muzzle training and so, basket/cage muzzles are the way to go. Basket/cage muzzles give your dog breathing room, allowing them to pant, bark and usually eat or drink water as well whilst still preventing chewing and biting. There are a few different formats of basket/cage muzzles for different shaped dog’s heads.
Conventional Basket Muzzles
Your standard basket muzzle, sometimes referred to as a cage muzzle, fits around the back of a dog’s head. It’s a tried-and-tested style of basket muzzle that is adjustable to fit the vast majority of dogs. They all come in a variety of sizes to fit the very smallest toy breeds to Danes and other super-large dogs!
Flat Nose Muzzle
Some dogs, especially smaller dogs or dogs like bulldogs have very short noses. This makes conventional basket muzzles hard to fit as they don’t really slide properly over short snouts. Flat nose muzzles are more wide and rectangular enabling you to fit them over dogs with the shortest snouts. A short snout dog muzzle would be better for a breed such as a French Bulldog, Pug or Boston Terrier.
Long Nose Muzzles
Longnose muzzles are best suited to dogs with the longest snouts such as greyhounds or alsatians. They protrude much further than your average muzzle to allow for extra nose length.
Basket Muzzle Sizing
There are three main dimensions to consider with a basket muzzle. It is important to measure your dog for a perfect fit as manufacturer sizes do vary. You can achieve a secure fit by following these three steps using a tape measurer.
- Nose circumference measured with the mouth open
- Nose height measured from the base the nose
- Nose length measured from the base towards the nose
There is often a pretty diverse selection of muzzle sizes available for main breeds and you can usually gauge whether one will fit from the measurements and comparison between example breeds in the product listing and your own dog’s breed.
Some loose suggestions on sizes for certain breeds:
Great Dane – 30 to 40cm wide by 10 – 12cm long and 8 – 12cm height
German Shepherd and Labrador – 30 to 35 cm wide by 9 – 13cm long and 9 – 11cm height
Springer Spaniel – 24 – 28cm wide by 7- 11cm long and 7 – 10cm height
Collie – 22 – 26cm wide by 6 – 10cm long and 6 -9cm height
Greyhound – 12 – 20cm wide by 7 – 10cm long and 3 – 6cm height
Westie – 12 – 16cm wide by 5 – 6cm long and 4 – 6cm height
Chihuahua – 10 – 16cm wide by 4 – 5cm long and 3 – 5cm height
Basket Muzzle Training
We’ve already touched on basket muzzle training ideas – but here are some steps dog owners can take on your dog or puppy on introduction to and wearing a muzzle.
Building Positive Association
The first step is always introducing the muzzle to your dog. A muzzle is a foreign object that a dog doesn’t really understand, it isn’t a toy or a treat, and you’ll need to build a positive association towards it so your dog understands what it is and that it isn’t there to hurt them.
One way to do this is by exposing your dog to treats whilst the muzzle is present. You want to show them the muzzle, wave it around and let them get a good look at it, sniff it, etc, before then rewarding inquisitive behaviour with treats. The better the treat, the more effective this might be, so don’t hold back! We’re not talking 30-day aged prime cuts of sirloin – a bit of cooked chicken or hotdog sausage should do the trick!
Once you’ve exposed your dog to the muzzle and rewarded this with treats, you’ll want to then hide the muzzle and stop giving them treats. Once you then reveal the muzzle, reward and reinforce. Repeat this by depriving your dog of treats whilst the muzzle isn’t around and then rewarding them when it is around.
Make the Muzzle Fun to Wear
A muzzle isn’t a toy but you can make it enjoyable to wear by placing treats inside the muzzle when you put it on. Start off with larger amounts to soften the first few times your dog wears the muzzle and increase the duration between treats as they become more accustomed. Don’t fasten the strap at first, simply use the muzzle as a sort of funnel through which to pass treats. This further builds an association.
Add Verbal Cues
You want to try and alert your dog to the muzzle’s presence and use with a verbal cue. This will get your dog excited and further reinforce a positive connection to the muzzle. Present the muzzle with a treat inside and say “Muzzle!”
Attach the Strap
Now you’ll actually try and do the strap up. Keep feeding your dog through the muzzle and see if they notice the strap is done up. Lengthen the periods between treats to test your dog’s patience with the muzzle. You should try this a couple of times a day. If you have success, let your dog relax around the house with the muzzle on before taking them out in it.
Dog Muzzles Hints and Tips
Be Aware of Why You Might Need a Muzzle
Muzzles are not only for dogs with dangerous tendencies (intentional or otherwise). Be aware of the various reasons your dog may need a muzzle even if they’re not dangerous. Maybe they’re particularly anxious in certain situations? Maybe other situations excite them a bit too much? What spooks them? What makes them want to defend themselves?
Preempting needing a muzzle is wise to avoid any risk. Even if not absolutely essential right now, muzzle training might come in handy one day anyway.
Seize the Initiative
If you suspect your dog may benefit from a muzzle then grab one and begin training immediately. Muzzle training doesn’t happen overnight and you’ll need to put some time into letting your dog acclimatise to wearing a muzzle, so it’s best to start early and be prepared for any situations your dog might need one.
Don’t Blame your Dog
Your dog cannot behave the way you want them to 24/7. Obviously, dangerous tendencies can be shocking and though your dog might be loving virtually all the time with you, you might get annoyed they can’t be like that with others. Your dog is only following its instincts though and in the case of rescue dogs, their past life and training is an influence here too. For most dogs, muzzle training is temporary and they’ll learn to trust others and not threaten with biting or chewing.
Try Different Muzzles/Fittings or Adjustments
Dogs may hate every muzzle and then suddenly, when you present a new one, they’re completely fine with it! There may be no rhyme or reason to this, some muzzles will be comfortable and others won’t just like clothes. Try adjusting muzzles to get the best fit for your dog. Adjustments also help prevent rubbing and chafing, especially in the case of very active dogs that pant heavily or bark a lot.
Don’t Completely Rely on Muzzles
Muzzles are useful but don’t rely on them for more trivial issues you can sort out with other training. For example, dogs that chew on furniture and upholstery might need a chew toy instead, or they might have psychological issues like anxiety or boredom that need to be addressed with training and play. Using a muzzle is a serious decision, whilst they won’t hurt dogs, they’re not exactly comfortable to use regularly or for long periods of time. Always consider why you’re turning to a muzzle and ask what you can do to train your dog.
Muzzles are not all bad and they don’t really deserve negative connotations. They may be uncomfortable and some dogs may find them very annoying but let’s be clear, they do not harm dogs when used properly and can prevent dogs from harming themselves or others.
In an ideal world, a dog would quickly learn to not use its mouth in a harmful or destructive way but realistically, muzzles are a necessity and shouldn’t be judged harshly. We do not always know the history of a dog, some may have even been trained to bite by their previous owners.
Muzzles come in a fair few formats but the most popular by far is the cage/basket muzzles listed here. These suit dogs going about their day-to-day lives as well as trips to the vet, groomers, etc. They prevent dogs from nicking, biting or chewing whilst allowing them to breathe and pant normally whilst also enabling drinking and eating some food through the grill.
Some dogs aren’t bothered by muzzles and you might find you can easily slip it on, do it up and your dog might seem to barely know it’s there. Other dogs might experience minor inconvenience at first but put up with it in the end. Some, though, will need more extensive training to accustom them to a muzzle. You can do this with treats and positive association techniques.
When selecting a muzzle, size and fit are paramount as you want to maximise comfort for your dog. Tight-fitting muzzles that rub and chafe are far more likely to cause problems than those that are properly fitted. The muzzles here are all built with comfort in mind and they certainly don’t dig or have sharp edges. Always pay attention to your dog and be mindful of their comfort, if you suspect they’re getting rubbed or chafed then take action and adjust the muzzle.
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