Which dogs have to wear a muzzle in the UK?
The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 lists the Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentinos, Japanese Tosa and Fila Brasileira breeds as a danger to the public. However, these breeds have since been banned.
But there is still a chance that a court could think it’s not a danger to the public, so they may put it on the Index of Exempted Dogs (IED) and allow you to keep it. With this comes the requirement that it is muzzled and on a lead at all times in public.
Should my dog wear a muzzle?
Aside from any which are legally required to wear one, a muzzle can also benefit a host of other issues. But do remember that a dog should never wear a muzzle as a punishment – negative behaviour should always be tackled with training.
They can be prevented from biting – while any dogs who bite in a viscous way should be prevented from social interactions until this is sorted, some can bite in a playful way but which is offputting to other owners and dogs. They could also become frightened in certain situations and react this way occasionally, even if it is uncharacteristic.
Dogs with a history of biting can also wear a muzzle for your peace of mind. They may be a rescue with previous negative behaviour around dogs, or you could be unaware of their history.
One big reason why many owners may look for a muzzle for their dog is if they chew or eat things which they shouldn’t when on a walk. You may want to allow them a bit of freedom to run off the lead, but can’t risk them doing so without ensuring they won’t eat whatever they find.
They may also need to wear one so they stop chewing or licking wounds if an inflatable collar isn’t suitable. A muzzle worn for these reasons should still give them plenty of room to open their mouth to pant if they get hot, however.
Your dog may also need to wear one when visiting the vet. Always put this on before they leave the house, so they aren’t stressed out further, and wear it to other places too so they don’t necessarily know that they are going to the vets.
When should dogs not wear a muzzle?
A muzzle shouldn’t really be used to stop dogs from barking. There is often a reason why they bark, and this frustration can then manifest itself in other behaviours. Likewise, it shouldn’t be used to stop a dog from chewing or barking when in the home. This can be caused by separation anxiety, so you shouldn’t stress them out further (or leave them alone).
How do I measure my dog for a muzzle?
Sizes often come in number guides which will match up to certain breeds, so this is one of the easiest guidelines to follow.
But you should ideally take measurements to ensure the perfect fit, too. Measure around their snout with a cloth or paper tape, or a bit of string which you can then measure separately. You should be able to fit one small finger between the neck strap and their neck.
The muzzle shouldn’t touch the end of their nose (leave about 1cm clearance), and they should still have a few centimetres top and bottom so they can open their mouth. But, don’t make it so generously large that they could paw it off their face.
How long can a dog wear a muzzle for?
You should be good for around 30-45 minutes if the muzzle is comfortable for them to wear and they aren’t doing anything too exertive.
15 minutes will be the limit if it is too tight for them, and they are unable to open their mouth, but this should never be the case anyway.