How To Muzzle a Dog

Muzzling a dog may be necessary when attempting to perform routine care, such as routine nail trimmings, or when attempting to help an injured or sick dog.  Knowing how to perform this technique properly can mean the difference between being able to complete your task in safety and suffering a serious bite.

To muzzle a dog, all you need is a long, soft, tough strip of fabric.  Gauze works best, but anything that can be tied will work.  The less bulky the material is, the easier it will be to work with.

  1. Before you attempt to muzzle a dog, tie a tight knot in the middle of your fabric, and then make a loop with a half knot at the bottom. 
  2. Place the dog's snout through the loop and pull the ends of the fabric to tighten the loop down on the dog's muzzle.  This will form the basis of your makeshift muzzle.  Be sure to tighten the loop enough that the dog has no chance of opening its mouth, but loose enough that it can still breathe unobstructed. 
  3. Bring the ends of the fabric back around to the top of the muzzle and tie another half knot.  Bring the ends of the fabric back behind the dog's ears and tie in a bow.  This keeps the dog from being able to pull the muzzle off; now you are ready to work.

To muzzle snub-nosed dogs like Bulldogs and Pugs, it's best to purchase a commercially available muzzle.  These muzzles are generally designed for specific breeds based on size and face shape and employ the same principles as with the makeshift muzzle, but without the hassle.  The muzzle slides up on the dog's face or muzzle and fastens behind the ears to secure the muzzle in place.  You can find commercially available muzzles in any pet retail outlet, many big box stores such as Wal-Mart, and from discount online retailers.

Regardless of which method you use, a muzzle should only be used briefly, in instances where no alternative method of restraint can be used.  It is not advisable to muzzle your dog for more than ten minutes at a time except in emergency situations. If your intention is to use a muzzle to deter your dog from biting during walks or everyday encounters, then training, not muzzling, is the ideal solution.


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