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.
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.
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?
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. 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.
The Goal Of These Rankings
Is to give you an unbiased viewpoint of how I find these muzzles. We (Indie & 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.
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 purely prevention, and they’ll always be guided, a lighter muzzle may work really well.
Is your dog going to be in humid environments? you might want to focus in ventilation. Frigid? You’ll want to avoid a bare metal muzzle!
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!
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 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.
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.
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 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!). They can be very “friendly” looking and for small breeds of dogs they can be affordable! But these will scale in price depending on the size of your dog.
Hard Plastic 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.
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.
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.
Best Dog Muzzles 2023
Best Overall Muzzle
The 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.
Best Premium Biteproof
This 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.
|Check PriceRead Review|
Best Entry Level Muzzle
This 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!
|Check PriceRead Review|
Best Value Bite Proof
This one is actually biteproof, which is great! But it does have a lot of limited sizing issues, and I do think it has a ventilation problem (so be aware in humid or hot environments about heatstroke, please!).
The Jafco Vinyl muzzle is great for vet visits and allowing clear communication between the dog and humans or other dogs!
|Check PriceRead Review|
With good ventilation, this muzzle is customisable, which is great. To me, this one works well as a tool for desensitization, but it's not actually biteproof. So, it's quite a tough one to actually say is worthwhile.
|Check PriceRead Review|
the muzzle that doesn't work
This muzzle has zero structural integrity, and if you're looking at this for any real reason such as managing bite risk, reactivity, aggression, scavenging or similar? It won't function for what you desire.
|Check PriceRead Review|
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.
How To Train Your Dog To Wear A Muzzle
With desensitisation and positive reinforcement.
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, 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.
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!).
It'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.
This 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.
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
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, 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.
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 a bark day!
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!