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How to Measure a Dog for a Muzzle in 5 Simple Steps

Kit Copson

By Kit Copson

Siberian husky wearing rubber muzzle

Sometimes, dogs need to wear muzzles, and it’s not always because they have a habit of biting. Muzzle training can be useful for a variety of reasons (more on this later), but one of the main issues owners face with muzzles is figuring out which one would be the best fit.

Although some muzzles are labeled for specific breeds, dogs aren’t cookie cutouts. They come in all shapes, sizes, and face types, so measuring for a muzzle before you buy is all important. Let’s kick off with a brief tutorial on how to measure a dog for a muzzle, and then we’ll share and dispel some common misconceptions about dogs that wear them.

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Tips For Measuring A Muzzle

Before we get into the step-by-step guide, there are some important things to note. The muzzle you choose should be half an inch longer than the snout length measurement to prevent it from touching the tip of the nose.

In addition, the circumference of your chosen muzzle should be between 1 and 3 inches larger than the dog’s snout circumference measurement to give your dog enough panting room. Ensuring your dog has enough room in their muzzle is hugely important for their comfort.

If you’re unsure of the size of muzzle your dog needs, please contact the seller to communicate your dog’s snout measurements and ask for advice. Lastly, the Animal Humane Society recommends basket muzzles as opposed to more restrictive soft muzzles.

pit bull dog wearing a muzzle
Image Credit: tarapong srichaiyos, Shutterstock

The 5 Simple Steps to Measure a Dog for a Muzzle

What You’ll Need:
  • Tape measure

1. Identify the Eye Base

Before you start measuring, it’s good to find the eye base, as this is a reference point for the measurements. You can find the eye base between the tear ducts, just above the top of the snout.

2. Measure the Snout Length

Take your tape measure and measure the snout from 1 inch below the eye base area right to the tip of the nose. Note down the snout length.

3. Measure the Snout Circumference

From 1 inch below the eye base, wrap the tape measure completely (and snugly) around the snout, ensuring the mouth is closed. Note down the circumference measurement.

4. Measure the Snout Height

Once again, you’re going to start from an inch below the eye base. Ensure your dog’s mouth is closed and measure vertically from the top to the bottom of the snout. Avoid bending the tape measure—this measurement should be entirely vertical. Note down the snout height.

5. Measure the Snout Width

Some muzzle companies ask for the snout width to be able to recommend the best muzzle for your dog. Place the tape measure on the widest area beneath the eye base and measure from the left side to the right side of the snout. Don’t bend the tape measure, keep it horizontal. Note down the snout width.

dog with muzzle
Image Credit: Mikejamesshaw, Wikimedia Commons

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The 3 Reasons Dogs Wear Muzzles

Some, upon seeing a dog wearing a muzzle, will automatically assume that that dog must be dangerous or has bitten someone or another animal in the past. While some dogs may wear muzzles because they have a history of biting, this isn’t always the case. Other reasons for wearing a muzzle include:

1. Preventing Unhealthy Mouth Behaviors

Some dogs wear muzzles because they have a habit of hoovering up food items or, in some cases, non-food items off the ground when out and about. Some of these foods and non-food items can be toxic or otherwise dangerous for dogs (by causing blockages in the intestines, choking, etc.), which is why some owners resort to muzzles for their dog’s health and safety.

2. The Owner Being Proactive

Even if a dog has no history of biting, some owners choose to muzzle-train their dogs as a preventative measure. Say, for example, a dog gets easily nervous and stressed out around other dogs, they could bite out of fear.

Likewise, dogs with a high prey drive may struggle to resist the urge to give chase and bite when they see other animals. A muzzle can prevent these things from happening. They’re also useful tools for keeping vets safe in case the dog acts out of character due to being nervous or afraid.

3. The Law

Some dog breeds are required by law to be muzzled when out in public. For example, in France, “category two” dogs, which are purebred American Staffordshire Terriers, Rottweilers (both purebred and types), and Tosas are allowed into public places on the condition that they wear a muzzle and are leashed. Likewise, on the Paris metro, large dogs that can’t fit into a carrier must be muzzled.

german shepherd with muzzle lies on a marble stone outdoor
Image Credit: vz maze, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Measuring your dog for a muzzle is a pretty simple procedure, but an important one for ensuring your dog gets the right fit. Avoid buying a muzzle because it’s labeled as suitable for certain breeds, as this isn’t always accurate. Again, if you’re unsure of the right size, reach out to the seller with your measurements.

Featured Image Credit: Ana Gram, Shutterstock

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