A dog muzzle is primarily designed to prevent a dog from biting, but it also serves to prevent dogs from chewing on furniture or eating inappropriate items. If your primary concern about your dog is biting, and you want a dog muzzle that prevents this while allowing him to eat and drink, several choices make this possible.
A wide variety of dog muzzles are available on the market, but most of them fall into two basic categories. The first is known as a basket muzzle. Basket muzzles may be constructed of plastic, wire or leather. The second type is a form-fitting muzzle made of mesh or nylon. Each of these categories contain many different styles from which to choose. Form-fitting muzzles are designed for short-term use, as they do not allow the dog to open its mouth at all. Basket muzzles, on the other hand, allow the dog to open its mouth to pant; many of them also allow eating and drinking.
Wire and Plastic Basket Muzzles
Wire and plastic basket muzzles are among the most secure muzzles for dogs that have biting problems. They resemble a baseball catcher's mask in their design, creating a cage around the dog's mouth. Inside this "cage," the dog can easily open and close its mouth, allowing him to pant. He can also drink by inserting the cage into water. Wire baskets allow the dog to eat, but food must be fed through the openings in the cage to reach the dog's mouth. Plastic basket muzzles function in much the same way, but instead of wire, the cage surrounding the dog's mouth is made of strong plastic that contains holes.
Leather Basket Muzzles
Leather basket muzzles may not be as secure as a wire or plastic muzzle because leather can stretch or be chewed. If you choose a leather basket muzzle, it is best to choose a high-end model made of strong leather. While a dog can eat and drink through a leather basket muzzle, the leather will get wet, which can lead to the eventual breakdown of the material and damage to the muzzle.
Muzzles to Avoid
If you plan to leave the muzzle on your dog for a long time, and thus need the dog to be able to drink freely, avoid snug-fitting nylon or mesh muzzles that hold the dog's mouth closed. These are designed for short-term use, such as visits to the vet or groomers. Your dog must be able to open its mouth to drink or eat. It is also vital to a dog's health that he is able to pant freely, especially on hot days.