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Why do Dogs wear Muzzles?

When you see a dog wearing a muzzle, you might automatically think that it's because that dog is aggressive or reactive... That might be the case, BUT it's not the only reason dogs wear muzzles, there are so many different reasons as to why a dog might be wearing a muzzle, and I'm going to share some of those reasons below.

Toby and Amos from @jessyyandthewonderdogs on Instagram

Reason 1 - The Dog is Reactive

One of the main reasons a dog may be muzzled, is because it is reactive in some way. Now dogs can be reactive for many reasons, they may have had negative experiences in their life, and the owner of the dog controls the dogs reactivity with a muzzle, when out in a public place. Some dogs can be reactive towards other dogs/people even if they have been socialised well by the owner. Owners of reactive dogs can have a hard time on a daily basis, trying to keep their reactive dog under it's threshold of reactivity, and by muzzling their dog, it might help them both to stay under their threshold of reactivity.

Reason 2 - The Dog might have Health Conditions

Some dogs have health conditions meaning that it could have impacts on their health if they picked up random items whilst out and about in public spaces. Dog owners can train their dogs to wear muzzles when out in public, meaning they know their dog can enjoy their time whilst out on walks.

Reason 3 - A Dog is at the Vets

A dog may need to wear a muzzle if visiting the vets, as the dog could be in pain and may lash out at the vet or vet nurse, so muzzling the dog could be used as a safety precaution. A prime example of this, is when Finn the Police Dog was injured whilst on duty, with his handler PC Dave Wardell. Finn was muzzled when he was taken to the vets, and not only did muzzling Finn prevent any lashing out in pain, it also allowed the vets to attach equipment like oxygen to help Finn recover. Below is a picture of Finn when he was at the vets; permission from Dave was given to use this image, so big thanks to Dave for allowing me to share the image!

Police Dog Finn when at the Vets being treated after him sustaining injury whilst on duty. Follow Finn and Dave on their Instagram - @k9finn.

Reason 4 - The Dog has High Prey Drive

When dogs were originally bred years ago, they were bred and developed to have different jobs/roles to play. Breeds like sighthounds and terriers, were sometimes used to chase and kill vermin and certain wildlife. Sighthounds were also bred to race, so some rescue centres will stipulate that rescue dogs have to wear a muzzle whilst out in public spaces. These dogs can be some of the friendliest dogs! I walk a couple of rescue greyhounds who used to race, and part of their rehoming agreement was for them to wear muzzles in public spaces. These dogs are two of the friendliest dogs I know, yet some people will avoid us whilst we are out because they have muzzles on.

Reason 5 - The Breed of Dog

Due to rules within certain countries or due to incidents that have happened within a dogs life, that dog may have to be muzzled in open public spaces. In some European countries no matter the breed of dog, they are required to be muzzled when on public transport.

Some countries class certain breeds of dog as 'dangerous' dogs due to their breed, so owners of those dogs would have to muzzle their dog, to take them out in public. Jess who owns Toby & Amos, trains both of her boys to wear muzzles, as they've both had to wear them in previous events in their life, and Jess has told me that she likes to be prepared for any of those 'just in case' scenarios they might come across! I have met Toby in person back at an event in 2019, and he's the loveliest boy!

Toby (Left) & Amos (Right) - Follow the boys on Instagram; @jessyyandthewonderdogs

TOP TIP: Ask the owner or dog walker why their dog is wearing a muzzle, as they will be happy to explain why, and help educate more people.

If you would like to find out more about why dogs wear muzzles, then I highly recommend you search for The Muzzle Movement on Instagram - @the.muzzle.movement / #muzzlemovement - Clara shares lots of useful tips and advice on her feed. You can also view Clara's website which is

Reminder: Not every muzzled dog is reactive or aggressive! Be kind to muzzled dogs and their owners, they are good people.

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