Muzzle (device)

A muzzled German Shepherd

A muzzle is a device that is placed over the snout of an animal to keep it from biting or otherwise opening its mouth.

Muzzles can be primarily solid, with air holes to allow the animal to breathe, or formed from a set of straps that provides better air circulation and allow the animal to drink, and in some cases, eat. Leather, wire, plastic, and nylon are common materials for muzzles. The shape and construction of the muzzle might differ depending on whether the intent is to prevent an animal from biting or from eating, for example.

Dog muzzles

Muzzles are sometimes used on untrained dogs, large or small, to prevent unwanted biting or scavenging. They can also be used on dogs who display aggression, whether motivated by excitement, fear or prey drive. They are usually made with a strong buckle or other fastening device to ensure that they do not come off accidentally. Muzzles are also used on dogs when there is a risk of them taking baits that have been laid for vermin. The most suitable materials for dog muzzles are leather, nylon, plastic and others. The most comfortable muzzles for dogs are those with wire cage construction. Muzzles of this kind give enough freedom for a dog to eat, drink and freely pant. The latter two are of vital importance, especially in hot weather.

Dog muzzles can be found in most pet supply stores.

Equine muzzles

Donkeys wearing muzzles
A grazing muzzle on a horse

Certain muzzles with a wire-like structure are used on horses and related animals, usually to prevent biting or cribbing. Other types, known as "grazing muzzles", have a small opening in the center that allows limited intake of grass, and are used on obese horses or on those animals prone to laminitis or choke, to prevent them from eating too much or too fast.

Horses trained for airscenting, for search and rescue or police work, often are worked in muzzles. This helps to keep them focused on their work, because they cannot easily snatch bites of grass.

Horse muzzles may be purchased in tack shops or from equestrian supply companies, and are available as a halter attachment, or as a separate piece of equipment.

See also

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