Best Dog Muzzles 2024 – Tried & Tested By A Professional Dog Trainer

With a growth in behaviour issues, and muzzle stigma finally leaving, so knowing what are the best muzzles on the market is becoming increasingly important. And it’s a growing thing for even non-aggressive dogs to be muzzle trained to avoid a pain response.

Even though there’s a lot of stigma associated with muzzles, as behavior modification techniques progress, and behavior issues worsen with time, muzzles are becoming a larger part of living life with a dog, and many pet parents muzzle train without a behavioral issue already existing! (Which is wonderful!) But, with so many to choose from, it’s really hard to know where to start. Whether you’re looking for your first muzzle or a new muzzle, for small dogs or large dogs! There will be an option for you in here.

Whether your dog is reactive, whether they scavenge, or they get nervous at the vets or groomers, or maybe you’re just super cautious! Having a dog muzzle trained is one of the single most practical pieces of training you can do.

Table of ContentsWhat Is A Muzzle?Muzzle ConsiderationsWhat Are The Different Types Of Muzzles?Buyer’s Guide To The Best Dog Muzzles 2023“Muzzles” To AvoidYour Muzzle Questions AnsweredAuthor, Ali Smith

How I’m Comparing The Muzzles In The Best Dog Muzzles For This Year.

Value – Not all muzzles are made equal, this metric is to describe how valuable these muzzles are vs others in their price point.

Bite-Proofness – Surprisingly, not all muzzles are biteproof! This is a way to show you how secure the muzzle is if your dog is a bite-risk.

Comfort – Whilst I can’t ask my testers (Aka Indie!) how comfortable it is, I can get an idea of how comfortable it is for him.

Robustness – is the muzzle able to take a hit? Is it brittle? Is your dog likely to chew through it?

Security – Can it be slipped easily? Is it secure? Or is it likely to fail you? High stars means it’s secure!

Weight – Is it heavy? Ideally we want it to be lightweight so that we can intrude upon our dogs in a minimal fashion.

Treat Delivery – It’s important as a part of training that we can deliver treats to our pups!

Mouth Movement – the ability to pant, drink and vomit is critical when looking at muzzles for safety reasons.

Airflow – the ability to breath is … not really an option is it? But some designs can be more restrictive than others.

If you want to read more into these and how I’m structuring these scoring points? Check out 9 Considerations To Make When Buying A Muzzle For Your Dog.

This said, there is also an element of personal preference that’s hard to nail down, per se. So it’s important to remember that we’re looking for the right muzzle for you.

But, let’s do the little bit of housekeeping that I like to d before we plough into the rankings!

Want the rankings instead?

Skip To The Best Muzzles!

The Biothane BUMAS muzzle. I love this muzzle because it’s light, really breathable, low maintenance and whilst purists will argue it’s not biteproof – it’s very bite resistant and it fits so well because it’s custom made to your dogs measurements!

What Is A Muzzle?

A dog muzzle is a term we use for a man-made device that is secured around a dogs head that is made to restrict the use of their mouth. Sometimes it’s very easy to forget that our wonderful dogs are animals and their last line of defence? Is their teeth. 

Normally I’m training we encourage resilience and management to avoid getting into situations where using their teeth is not a possible outcome. But when it comes to some stressful situations? That cannot be avoided. 

And that’s when I will always suggest using Basket muzzles – these are your best option when it comes to muzzles.

A Basket type of muzzle is a ‘cage’ around the dog’s mouth, secured around the head, usually with durable nylon or adjustable straps that secure the muzzle around the back of your dog’s head. Often these muzzles will have a nose pad that sits on your dogs snout and prevents chaffing. Some will also have a head strap that goes between the eyes and secures to the strap that goes around the back of your dog’s head to secure your dog’s muzzle and prevent it slipping over their nose.

These create a cage around the mouth and ensure safety at all times. The right muzzle will (here’s a guide on fitting them too). These are always preferable to the cone-shaped “Emergency” muzzles or groomers muzzles that hold your dog’s mouth shut which isn’t a good idea – these are dangerous for a number of reasons.

What Does A Dog Muzzle Do?

A dog muzzle prevents the full use of a dogs mouth by securing a cage to their face and ‘caging’ your dog’s snout. The “bitey end” is a risk and for some dogs it’s a big risk. So, a muzzle may be used to ensure safety. They’re designed for short term use, as a training aid or a preventative for consuming random items.

Usually, they’re a training aid for long term behavior adjustment. Behaviour adjustment may take a long time, and a muzzle simply keeps your dog from makingan error.

They are not designed to stop barking and are not a suitable tool for this.

Tried and Tested

These are all muzzles I’ve tried out with Indie. Unlike a lot of lists online of the best muzzles or whatever product – this one isn’t based on amazon reviews, or whether I’m getting sponsored, but actual hard testing and facts and experience! It’s not limited by the fact that I have sponsors, or by who will pay me a commission

Ever seen those listicles that only list stuff on their own site? Or only on Amazon? Yeah, that’s not me! I’m your independent! I test everything with the goal of safety, and ensuring that I highlight why they may, or may not work for you.

This is based on my genuine experiences with these products. It’s also made with a knowledge of canine behaviour, understanding of motion, training etc.

Note: If you have a severely flat faced (brachycephallic) breed like french bulldogs, this list won’t work for you!! I cannot test these as I don’t have a suitable breed to do testing, I’m sorry! But I do hear good things about the mesh-faced options that cover the entirety of your dog’s face.

A Set of strong muzzles, these are some of the muzzles I’ve been testing – but this is not all of them! Just the start… The black plastic one there is the Baskerville muzzle, which one of the hard plastic muzzles and it was actually indie’s first “proper” muzzle.

The Goal Of These Rankings

Is to give you an unbiased viewpoint of how I find these muzzles. We (Indie, my german shepherd & I) give them an incredibly thorough testing, and will continue to adjust the reviews and this list with our findings together.

How should you use it? Take my learnings and find the most appropriate harness for you and yours. Just because I love a product, doesn’t make it ideal for you! But it does give you a benchmark to work from. That’s my goal. Let’s make informed decisions!

All of the muzzles in the best of muzzle rankings are Basket muzzles, or basket style muzzles, they use varying materials including leather, vinyl, metal and biothane (and silicone, but they’re really not for broad use). They clasp in different ways with buckles or plastic pinch clips typically.

Note! This is a live document! I’ll be adding things in and changing ranks on a regular basis with every Muzzle review that I add to the list. Which means that if you go away and come back? It may have changed.

Whilst I’m doing the note-thing, some of these will be affiliate links – because I deserve a little payback for all the work I do on this blog haha! But you can see that I’ve already tried all of these! These are genuine thoughts. None of these rankings have been bought, none of them are paid for. I have not been swayed or influenced in any way – which is why as many of these as are affiliate links, aren’t affiliate links.

Muzzle Considerations

When you’re looking at a muzzle it’s good to know what you’re intended purpose is. How are you envisioning it to work, what environment etc.

For example,

is your dog an active bite risk or are you looking for a bite deterrent? If the former you want a significant bite-proof muzzle. If the latter, then you may want to consider something lighter.

Will you be training in this muzzle? If so, then treat delivery is really important!

Are you likely to encounter other dogs? If so then you may want to make sure that the muzzle has visibility for the other dogs to see what your dog is communicating with their mouth, but limit or remove their ability to bite.

If they’re scavengers, you’re going to want to pick something with a little more front coverage.

If it’s just a case that your dog has to be muzzled in public places, then you’re not going to be too concerned about strength.

If it’s purely prevention, and they’ll always be guided, a lighter muzzle may work really well, and make sure it has some good visibility so that your dog can clearly communicate with other dogs.

Is your dog going to be in humid environments? you might want to focus in ventilation.

There are a lot of things to think about when you’re shopping for a muzzle, which is why I’ve tried a large number at varying different price points to ensure there is something here for all of you!

It’s really important to know that muzzles are not designed for extended, unsupervised usage.

What Are The Different Types Of Muzzles?

Let’s quickly run through the different types of muzzle that are on the market! The main types of muzzles are;

Leather Muzzles

Leather Dog Muzzles are the first thing most people consider as a muzzle is leather, typically. Genuine leather muzzles do take upkeep, they’re also not great with water, but they are super durable and usually quite flexible. This style of muzzle (usually) allows for good air flow and are really secure.

Wire Muzzles/Metal Basket Muzzles

I love wire basket muzzles, though, they do look quite intimidating and can be off putting. However, please do consider these. Because they’re really durable, really strong, and usually appropriate for all sorts of situations.

Vinyl Muzzles

Vinyle muzzles are really trendy at the moment. Because they give full visibility on your dogs face (or can), they are a great choice to allow for thorough communication (intra and interspecies), and they’re usually a very safe option – particularly for bite-risk dogs.

Agitation Muzzles

These are typically used in bitework and bite sports, which means they often have a very limited audience (usually German shepherds, belgian malinois etc), and can be not an appropriate choice for other breeds, but, these are very much the “paramount” of your dog will not be able to bite.

Biothane Muzzles

Biothane muzzles can come in some really vibrant tones and colours! Which is why they’re beloved by the muzzled dog community (yes, there is one! Go find them on Facebook and instagram, they’re there!). This is a synthetic material too, which makes it really easy to clean.

They can be very “friendly” looking and for small breeds of dogs they can be affordable and are a great choice for DIY. But these will scale in price depending on the size of your dog. These are usually my top choice for everyday wear.

Hard Plastic/Rubber Muzzles

These are usually very affordable, and it’s a market that Baskerville have rather dominated (for good reason!), they’re strong and durable, but it’s good to note they can be shattered and often can be negotiated around if your dog is clever enough.

Silicone Muzzles

These, I have yet to find a good option, or a time when silicone can be used for a safe muzzle. Currently, I’m of the opinion that the only time I would permit someone to use this would be for BSL (breed specific legislation) that dictates your dog must be muzzles in public pleaces — but – I will entirely say that because they aren’t at all biteproof that I can’t imagine it would hold up in any sort of legal situation and (to my mind) would not be worththe risk of someone ceasing my dog.

So…. yeah I don’t see a reason for Silicone muzzles.

Fabric Muzzles

Cloth muzzles (or fabric muzzles) are … really limited in their efficacy. Your dog can still nip, but they cannot pant, they cannot really take treats, they cannot vomit and they put your dog at risk of overheating.

Buyer’s Guide To The Best Dog Muzzles 2023

Let’s dive into these different styles! I’ve tried my best to think their use through for as many of your dog’s breed as possible during this, but there are always obscure dog breeds out there, so remember to apply these for you! And if you have questions, I own all of these muzzles and have genuinely tested these, so I can absolutely help bridge the gap.

1Best OverallBUMAS Biothane muzzleBespokely made to your dogColorfulMade for dog life9.8Check PriceButton TextThe Bumas muzzle is made of biothane, which makes it incredibly light, comfortable, easy to clean, and it’s clever construction means that it offers a lot of strength and bite-proofing. It is expensive when you start looking at larger dogs, but if your dog is going to be wearing a muzzle for a long period of time daily, or training through a lot of issues, then this Bumas muzzle is genuinely your best bet. ProsFlexibleDurableLightStrongConsExpensive

2Best AgitationRay Allen Wire Basket MuzzleStrongMade in AmericaHigh quality9.5Check PriceButton TextThis muzzle is truly biteproof. Whilst It does suffer with the ventilation issue that others do, this one actually comes with a lot more support. It is heavy, but this weight is what makes up it’s strength. The muzzle is reinforced by steel bands that ensure that no matter what your dog does they cannot bite through the muzzle. The only way your dog could bite in this? Is by removing it.ProsStrongFinely madeGenuinely biteproofSteel bars in the muzzleConsLimited to larger dogs with longer noses 

3Best Wire Basket MuzzleRay Allen Wire Basket MuzzleStrongMade in AmericaHigh quality9.2Check PriceButton TextThis wire basket muzzle is really great quality, not a snag or a sharp edge in place at all. It’s strong and it’s perfectly designed for your dogs comfort. This muzzle offers great ventilation and fantastic quality. To me, this is the best possible start into muzzle training your dog, and it comes in a great array of sizes so that you can get something that works well for your dog. It does run a little small on sizing though, so be aware to size up when ordering!ProsStrongFinely madeQuality materialConsLimited space

4Best For First Aid KitRay Allen Mesh MuzzleEasy to adjustVery secure8.7Check PriceThis is what we keep in our emergency kit. This works really nicely as a back up for large dog muzzles. It won’t work as a small dog muzzle, the small dog breeds definitely won’t find this a perfect fit, instead you’re looking at labradors and up, I would imagine. (Again! This is not for long periods of time!)ProsVery secureConsunsafe for long periods of time

5Leerburg Polymer Coated MuzzleSturdyNicely madeHigh Quality8.3Check PriceThese polymer coated muzzles are nicely sized and roomy, and their helpline is very wonderfully helpful! I really enjoyed testing this muzzle and was very impressed at the quality of it. It’s finished in a much better way than other polymer coated muzzles.ProsGreat pant roomStrongDurableConsSizing isn’t straight forward but is precise

6Best For CommunicationJafco Clear Vinyl MuzzleGreat for communicationBiteproofPerfect for vet visits8.6Check PriceButton TextThe Jafco vinyl muzzle is a lightweight, sturdy and I’d always pick the clear plastic ones of these as they’re wonderful for communication! The Jafco muzzles are a fantastic option for vet visits, and for even socialisation visits with other dogs. Due to poor ventilation, I would make sure that these are for temporary use, or shorter periods of time where possible.It is good to note that any injured dog can bite… and this just keeps everyone safe. ProsBite ProofConsLow ventilation 

7Best for Poop EatersBirdwell Plastic Dog MuzzleMade in the USAFits a long nose nicelyOn Amazon8.5Check PriceThis lightweight, hard plastic muzzle is a wonderful muzzle and very affordable. It’s a nice option for an entry-level muzzle for dogs with a nice, long snooted pup.However, this is absolutely perfect for poop eaters! Because there is an additional ‘cap’ that secures to the end of the muzzle with a small zip tie (you can see it in the image if you look carefully!) and it will stop even coprophagia! It’ll still be really gross, but it’ll help the training.ProsWell producedColorfulCan have a stool guardConsCan be awkward for wider nose dogsOne of the “easier to break” options

8Baskerville Ultra Dog MuzzleHardened plasticEasy to maintainDurable7.9Check PriceThis muzzle is easy to train in, which is one of the reasons I like it so much. You can also re-form the muzzle into different shapes (which is wonderful for customising it) with the use of boiling water) so as to get a perfect fit from it.It’s actually the muzzle Indie ventured into the muzzle world with! This one won’t stop your dog from scavenging, or picking up small non-food items as there’s a nice sized treat slot.(note, mine has an older buckle than the new one, and I’ve added a fleece noseband to protect Indie’s nose as it rubbed on my dog’s skin)ProsLightweightEasy cleanSturdyConsCan be slipped

9Mayerzon Hard Rubber MuzzleMimics the BaskervilleEasy to clean7.2Check PriceThis one works for most behavior modification processes. It doesn’t work for all breeds, but most ‘standard’ face shapes work well within this muzzle. But other than that, it can cause a little chafing on the nose if you’re planning on your dog wearing it for an extended period of time.(the best way to resolve this is usually pretty simple with neoprene or fleece to combat).It is, however, very cleanable, the peanut butter cleans off of it really easily! ProsSecureAdjustableEasy to cleanConssizes a little small

10Dean and Tyler DT Freedom Winter Muzzle,SturdyNicely made7.5Check PriceThese give really adequate pant room – even for large breeds of dogs (who sometimes struggle in ‘standrard’ mass produced muzzles. This is a metal wire basket muzzle with optional winterizing*The smallest size of these should provide a good fit for even small breed dogs. Whilst it’s a good muzzle, I’d strongly, strongly suggest if you go for this that you double and triple check your measurements because their customer service is … lacking at best – they’re not a brand I would ethically support.*Winterizing, we had a serious cold snap in 2022, and I left a standard metal muzzle outside and it never became an issue. However, what I have heard this being effective for is slobbery dogs and preventing rust.ProsSturdyGreat pant roomConsHorrid customer serviceExpensive for what it is

11BRONZEDOG Wire Basket MuzzleWell ventilatedStrong7.8Check PriceSize xl. girth of dog’s snout is 17 1/2 inches, length of dog’s snout is 4 1/2 inches. 4 adjusting sDog muzzle for large dogs has excellent ventilation.This is a durable basket dog muzzle for large dogs which is made out of high quality genuine leatherMind that before you put the muzzle your dog must be trained for this. train a dog to accept a muzzlMuzzle is the type of accessory that is only meant to be used for short periods of time, and only whProsAffordableStrongConsFound some sharp edges

12Leather Basket MuzzleLightweightAffordable7Check PriceWhilst this isn’t the highest quality leather and I would doubt it’s durability if it were tested, it is lightweight and seems to be nicely put together. It’s held up to testing so far, but I’ll keep you posted! ProsAffordableNice designWell ventilatedConsSizes small

13Soft Mesh MuzzleMesh muzzleSoftHighly ventilated6.9Check PriceThis is a breathable mesh that definitely allows for great ventilation – however I wouldn’t necessarily allow my dogs to wearthis to a vets or to a situation where a bite were genuinely a risk, as they would bite straight through this.ProsWell ventilatedConsNot necessarily secure

14Barkless MuzzleMade from siliconeNicely sizedEasy to maintain6Check PriceLightweight, but it is quite flimsy. This one, whilst it ‘works’ it’s definitely not going to be durable enough for larger breeds, or for any dog who is genuinely a bite risk as the silicon is entirely flexible and entirely able for your dog to bite through it with relative ease. I actually think I could bite though it with rubbish human teeth and bite strength… hmm.ProsLightweightEasy cleanConsNot secure

A note…

Muzzle purists or hardcore enthusiasts will tell you that some of these muzzles are not biteproof, and sure, when you see the situations they’ve mocked up, yeah, they’re not “biteproof” when you push a stick in at the perfect angle, allow your dog to deliberately destroy the muzzle, or allow your dog to puzzle them out.

In the vast majority of cases, you’ll know if your dog has worked something out, or you’re going to be alongside them guiding them and preventing your dog from going too far but disengaging your dog from the “problem” and removing them from the situation.

I raise this because picking the right tool for the job is important, but letting a militant person dictate that you change from your desired muzzle to a different muzzle because “That muzzle isn’t biteproof, rah!” is something that I hate. You make the decision that is right for you & don’t allow excessive exposure to potential problems, as a determined dog will resolve any problem.

How To Train Your Dog To Wear A Muzzle

With desensitisation and positive reinforcement, we never force our dog wear one, even a well-fitting muzzle.

Essentially you’ll slowlty introduce the muzzle using food rewards (typically), to show your dog that the muzzle is a good thing, and not something to be scared of.

Break down the introduction into sections, many short sessions is better, and then build up to longer periods eg, the first time they see it, you may just leave it on the floor and allow them to explore. Next, you’ll cue the nose in, slowly add the weight, add in the duration, add in the straps etc. until there is no fear and we’re all happy with it on your dog’s nose!

But, a free course is in production for you and your furry friend.

“Muzzles” To Avoid

Despite my statement above, there are some things labelled as muzzles on the market that just aren’t and aren’t safe for use.

These are “Fabric” muzzles, soft muzzles, groomers muzzles, or emergency muzzles (at best), and:

Should not be used long term (more than 5 mins)

Should not be used for training

Are not biteproof

Are not secure

Cause overheating

Cause choking (in the instance of vomitting)

Prevent drinking

You will see these suggested on other “best muzzle” lists, but please ensure you do not use them for your dog! Those lists have been compiled without actual practical use or understanding of muzzles and should not be adhered to. As an individual who works with muzzles every day in a professional capacity, the above are safe, the below are not. And have been included to show you why they’re not safe and highlight that they should not be used.

The only place for these? Is in the boot of your trunk or in a medical kit (even then, a non-stretchy bandage works way better!).

ImageProductFeaturesPriceGoodboy Gentle Muzzle Guard for DogsIt’s really interesting because this “looks” friendlier than a lot of the muzzles on the market, but the problem here is that it actually doesn’t prevent bites at all. so it’s a false economy. This one is (at best) a headcollar, nothing more. Check PriceSoft Nylon Dog MuzzleThis is another muzzle that shouldn’t be used outside of emergencies. This muzzle restricts the mouth entirely. Which means that your dog cannot pant, cannot drink, cannot vomit and adds in huge risk to your dog.Also, you may be surprised to learn that your dog can still nip whilst wearing this kind of muzzle.Check Price

Why Is The Muzzle I Was Looking At Not On The List?

Well, likely because I’ve not gotten to it yet! One of the cruxes of testing all of these muzzles myself with my dog, means that we can only do so many at a time, but if you’re looking for anything specific, let me know! I’m always happy to take recommendations because goodness only knows there are a lot on the market and its hard to know everything that’s available at all times!

Your Muzzle Questions Answered

How Do I Fit A Muzzle?So, Different muzzles are designed to be fitted in a different way, and size differently. So it’s not something I can say for certain or guide you in getting the right size. But, if you pick your muzzle, measure your dog per the manufacturer’s suggestion and ensure that they give sufficient space (either by design or by sizing up!) you can usually find the right fit amongst their different sizes.Typically I will always advise that a muzzle for reactivity/vet visits, nail trims etc and long period use gives full pant room, enables your dog to drink, take treats, to vomit, is properly ventilated, enables communication between dogs/humans, and can fit two fingers below the jaw just for comfort. But if you want a more full response? Head over to How To Fit A Muzzle and you’ll be confident in getting the correct size

Do Muzzles Make Dogs Aggressive?When used properly, no. Muzzles are designed to help dog parents protect their dogs from potential accidents by blocking the mouth from being used fully.

When Is It Appropriate To Use A Fabric Muzzle?Almost never. But. I do keep one in the car in case of emergencies. The one I keep is the Ray Allen Mesh Muzzle – this is highly adjustable, and made with some level of ventilation which means that whether I’m using it because one of my dogs broke a limb on a hike, or I’m picking up a stray that may represent a bite risk – this will work. But it’s used for short periods and only in case of emergency.

Will a muzzle stop my dog barking?A well fitted muzzle will not stop your dog barking. It’s there to stop the use of the mouth for biting and scavenging. The only thing to stop barking? Is training.

Can A Dog Muzzle Be Left On The Dog?I would never recommend extended periods of time unless absolutely necessary.

Are Dog Muzzles Cruel?No, when properly densitised, and properly fitted, there is no reason for a dog muzzle to be cruel.

What is a Muzzle Punch?So, a dog who cannot bite, a dog who cannot defend itself may feel forced to ‘punch’ with it’s muzzled nose, in a “muzzle punch”. It can be really painful!

Are All Muzzles Bite Proof?Nope. Common misconception, but not all muzzles are biteproof. If a dog is left to their own device they may manipulate a way to push through the muzzle just enough for your dog bites to still occur, but typically it takes time, it takes patience and practice from your dog, as well as them being an active problem solver. So, no, not all muzzles are biteproof, but I do try to highlight where the muzzle is not biteproof!

Muzzles are important!

Muzzles keep our dogs safe.

They’re a great thing to train for. They’re a fantastic back up plan. Remember, regardless of your dogs temperament, whether they have a history of aggression or not, a dog in pain is unpredictable and can be dangerous. Desensitising a muzzle, and having a muzzle that fits your dog ready, will make a potentially traumatic event just a little less stressful. Muzzles are often the best solution when safety becomes a concern.

If you want more input as to trying to find the best equipment for you and your dog why not book a Bark Day and we’ll discuss everything you might want to know and I can guide you through what will be best for you and your dog.

Need help? Book In!

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Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

Thanks to depositphotos.com for the images!
 

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