Dog Muzzles for Traveling: Why, How and Buyer’s Guide

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Traveling with a Dog May Require a Muzzle to stay safe on Trains, Buses, Taxis, Airports, Flying on Planes, Attractions, Vet visits, Dog Parks, Restaurants or where local law requires.  If your Dog is anxious, prone to biting, easily triggered by new surroundings a Dog muzzle may be needed for travel.

What are the Types of Dog Muzzles?

There are 3 Types of Muzzles: Basket, Occlusion/Soft and Snub Nose or Short Nose Muzzles:

1. Basket Muzzles

The Basket Dog Muzzle forms an open weave pattern and is strapped to your Dog’s nose and head.  This type allows the best ventilation allowing them to open their mouths comfortably for eating, snacking, drinking and the ever important panting.  Because the muzzle covers only part of the nose, it allows the best cooling environment.  

2. Occlusion or Soft Muzzles

Occlusion muzzles are generally less comfortable than Basket. They are made of fabric and wrap around your Dog’s mouth.

Many dog owners will have their dogs wear the occlusion muzzle for short periods of time such as during dog grooming procedures or brief veterinary visits.

If your dog gets anxious or stressed out when visiting the veterinarian or professional groomer and reacts by biting or barking wearing the occlusion muzzle helps to prevent any potential injury and allows the veterinarian or the professional dog groomer to concentrate.

3. Snub Nose or Short Nose Muzzles

Snub nosed Dogs are notoriously difficult to fit for a muzzle. Their little snouts are so small that you can’t keep a typical basket muzzle on them. A flat nose muzzle considers a snub nose dog’s unique face shape and fits around the chin and head to stay on better throughout the activity.

Snub nose muzzles are specifically designed for shorter snouts, made of breathable mesh and work to prevent your Dog from biting or eating inedible objects. Some short nose muzzle covers the entire face while others are designed with eye holes so it’s more comfortable for your Dog’s eyes. 

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Best Dog Muzzle for Snub Nose Dogs

BARKLESS Short Snout is uniquely made for Bull Dogs and other Snub nose Dogs.
  • BARKLESS Short Snout is uniquely made for Bull Dogs and other Snub nose Dogs.
  • The mouth cover design is loose enough to let your Dog’s tongue out!
  • At the same time, prevents your dog’s snout from being accidentally exposed so you can avoid accidental eating, biting, chewing, or licking wounds.
  • But doesn’t restrict you Dog’s panting, drinking, and feeding.

Best Muzzle for Reactive Dogs

  • This BARKLESS Dog Muzzle has a Soft Silicone design allows your Dogs to pant, eat & drink
  • Wide Open Holes Allows Natural Breathing
  • Let’s them lick and have their tongue out but not nip or bite.
  • Comes with its own collar.
  • Eliminates risks in situations like vet visits, public transportation & dog parks and scavenging.
  • 6 Sizes

Best Dog Muzzle for Travel

  • Crazy Felix Nylon Dog Muzzle for Small Medium Large Dogs
  • All-around Good Muzzle for comfort, protection & price
  • Minimal restraint while keeping the muzzle snug enough to control bite
  • Loose enough to allow freedom for easy breathing, panting and yawning

What to Look for in a Dog Muzzle: Buying Guide

  • Wire—Sturdy, Intimidating to People. Requires Additional Padding for Comfort to Prevent Rubbing and Chafing.
  • Plastic—Softer than Metal (but, what isn’t?), Balances Moldability with Rigidity to Conform to Your Dog’s Needs.  This Material Can be less Breathable but cost-effective for occasional use.
  • Silicone— Softer than Plastic. Silicone is associated more with Food Safety than Plastic and works here as it is less Prone to Harbor Bacteria and therefore more Hygienic.
  • Biothane—These muzzles are made as coated webbing, the Biothane Muzzle is Soft, Flexible, and actually more Durable than Leather. It’s lighter than Leather but, just as tough. Ultra-Comfortable as a Basket Dog Muzzle.
  • Leather Kinda’ Old-School, Fashionable—Heavier but, longer lasting and Biodegradable. May tend to reinforce the “this must be an aggressive Dog” reaction from others.
  • Muzzles Designed for Extra Access–Look for basket muzzles that have slits along the side so you can give your Dogs treats through the slit bars.
  • Muzzles Designed to Facilitate Panting–Panting is your Dog’s way of sweating. Basket style muzzles allow your Dog to open its mouth, pant, eat and drink.  Best for longer activities such as flying, tourist attractions, public transportation.
  • Mesh or Nylon Muzzles are really only appropriate for shorter activities such as just before a veterinarian begin an exam visit
  • Straps–look for quality material that will be comfortable but does not irritate the skin as it will rub on your Dog’s nose and face. Look at their favorite collar. What is it made of? This is the best source for knowing what is strong enough so it does not slip or irritate but, is still comfortable.

What Size Muzzle Do I Need for My Dog?

How to Measure Your Dog for a Muzzle
How to Measure a Dog for a Muzzle
  • Properly Measured and Fitted Dog Muzzle–the right fit is key to using a muzzle correctly. Too loose and your Dog will be able to remove it—especially for those escape artist; too tight and it will inhibit their ability to breathe, pant, or drink and can cause painful chafing.
  • Straps-use the one finger test.  The muzzle should be fitted so you can just fit one finger between your Dog’s head and the strap. It’s best to try on various sizes.
  • You should also take measurements of your Dog’s nose length and circumference.  Adjustable straps that wrap around the back your Dogs’ head and whether a hook and loop or buckle is more comfortable.

Dog Muzzle Size Chart-What Size Muzzle Do I Need for My Dog
Dog Muzzle Size Chart-What Size Muzzle Do I Need for My Dog

How Do Dog Muzzle Work?

Dog Muzzles contain your Dog’s mouth, allow them to breathe naturally, drink and eat but work to prevent biting and eating garbage, poop and cigarette butts.  If your Dog is overly protective, fearful of strangers or new environments, they will benefit from a muzzle.  

How to Muzzle Train your Dog for Travel Step-by-Step

Begin to Muzzle Train Your Dog when calm, not during or immediately after a stress triggered event:

Let him sniff the muzzle. Give a treat. Repeat a few times.

Touch his nose with the muzzle. Treat. Repeat until he indicates that the muzzle looks interesting in a good way.

Hold the muzzle with one hand and a treat with the other hand, so he needs to put his nose inside the muzzle to get the treat. Repeat until this step is no big deal.

Gently slip the muzzle onto his nose and give him a treat. Remove the muzzle immediately. Repeat a few times.

Put on the muzzle and fasten the buckle. Treat. Remove immediately. Repeat a few times.

Put on the muzzle, fasten it, and count slowly to five. Treat. Remove the muzzle.

Each time you put on your muzzle, gradually increase the time the muzzle. Hold their collar and give treats.

RELATED: Flying with a Large Dog In Cabin in 2022

Why Do I Need a Muzzle for My Dog?

Muzzles for Dog are helpful to prevent a reactive from biting when around strangers or unfamiliar environments such as Veterinary visits, Dog Parks, Tourist Attractions, Public Transportation but, also prevents them from eating garbage: cigarette butts and other inedibles.

  • Emergencies: Emergency situation could be anything from severe weather to an evacuation or a physical injury. If you have to move your dog or have someone else assist you who the dog isn’t familiar with, it could frighten him and wearing a muzzle is a simple precaution that will keep everyone safe.
  • If Your Dog has a History of Biting. If your Dog has protective and aggressive tendencies, wearing a muzzle can be best for everyone  Especially if your dog has a history of biting people or other Dogs.
  • Reactive Dogs.  When stressed, Dogs often do 1 of 2 things: withdraw from the situation and try to hide or, offensive and become more aggressive. Wearing a muzzle makes sure your frightened Dog doesn’t bite.
  • During Grooming Sessions. Most Dogs do not enjoy being groomed by strangers.  This is still often essential when you travel with Dogs. If your dog is very nervous or frightened, they may show aggression or even just nip. Having your Dog wear a comfortable muzzle during grooming sessions is a precaution that can keep the groomer safe.
  • When required by law. Unfortunately, some states still have breed-specific legislation that identifies certain breeds as aggressive or dangerous. These laws sometimes require those dogs to wear a muzzle when they are outside your own private property.

FAQ: Muzzles for Dogs when Traveling

Is It Cruel to Use a Muzzle on a Dog?

When a muzzle is used to protect other people or Dogs when you Dog is reactive, frightened or prone to biting, a  muzzle can be very effective and not cruel at all.  A muzzle is not intended to be used as punishment. Use only as long as the activity it is required for (dog park, public transportation, training, grooming sessions, Veterinarian visits).

Why are Dog Muzzles So Controversial?

A Dog wearing a muzzle has an unfair association with being “aggressive” or an “attack” Dog, when really the Dog may be wearing a muzzle only because the law requires and might be for the safety of the Dog, prevent harm when provoked or to stop swallowing inedibles such as garbage or cigarette remains.

Can I Use a Dog Muzzle as a Cone or E-Collar Replacement?

Cones and E-Collars block your Dog’s field of vision and reaction time, making them skittish, scared and anxious.  Replace the cone with a muzzle and your Dog will be happier, calmer and you can use the muzzle for other occasions such as dog parks, vet and grooming visits, public transportation and when traveling.

What Countries Require a Dog to Wear a Muzzle when Traveling or in Public?
  • Countries that require Dog muzzles in public include: France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy–although rarely enforced, in my opinion
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • England/UK–The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 singled out the Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentinos, the Japanese Tosa and the Fila Brasileira breeds and they need a muzzle in public.
  • New Zealand– the Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentinos, the Japanese Tosa and the Fila Brasileira breeds and they need a muzzle in public.
  • Japan—5 Dog Breeds must wear a muzzle in public: Japanese mastiff (or dosa-inu), American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, Rottweiler, and their mixes.
  • Ontario, Canada: Pit Bull, Pit Bull Mix and Staffordshire Terrier
  • South Korea– Japanese mastiff, Pit Bull Terrier, Stanford Shorthair Terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, Rottweiler and their mixes, must be muzzled in public.
  • There are others.
What are Dog Muzzles Used for?

Curbing or eliminating biting, barking, chewing, and eating things left lying around.  If you have an active dog or a dog that reacts aggressively towards other dogs and strangers, wearing the basket dog muzzle is the solution. Wearing a basket dog muzzle allows your furry friend to run, play, pant freely, and drink water without biting or barking at others.

Why Does My Dog Need a Muzzle When Traveling?

Many Countries require your Dog to be Leashed and Muzzled.  Enforcement of muzzle laws when traveling with Dogs varies but is usually enforced against larger Dogs and certain breeds, wrongfully considered to be dangerous or aggressive Dogs.

Rarely does a Dog require a muzzle when in their crate or carrier.  You do not really know if and when your travel may be hindered by a request or requirement to muzzle your Dog.

It’s best to train and keep one with you during travel, just in case. You don’t want to be turned away from an attraction, event or have to change plans just because you need a Dog muzzle.

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