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dog panting in a chopo muzzle

Why Size Matters.. With Muzzles

The size of a muzzle matters greatly when something like a dog panting is part of a necessary function to live a healthy life. Used incorrectly muzzles can injure your dog (or worse). Ensuring your dog can properly breathe, cool down and vomit is essential when sizing a muzzle. 

Why Do Most Muzzles On Here Look Big?

Most of the muzzles posted on this website are correctly fit for the dog wearing it, unless stated otherwise. A muzzle may look big on some dogs and this is due to their larger pants. If the dog was to fully pant and there was room left underneath the chin, then the muzzle could be too big. In general a muzzle too big on height is still going to work better than one too small, as long as the length and width fit too. This information is explained more on the pages 

Why Pant Room Is So Important

Firstly you must know what a panting dog means. There are many reasons why a dog may be panting, and many more reasons why you shouldn't restrict these things with a small muzzle. Dogs breathe through both their nose and mouth, a pant is just an open mouth with moderate to rapid breathing, and usually the tongue sticking out. Panting lowers body temperate and gets oxygen into the dogs' bloodstream. Some don't know that dogs' do not sweat like humans, instead they cool their self by evaporating the moisture in the mouth/tongue and replace the hot air in the lungs with cold air. Dogs do however sweat a bit from their paws but it is not effective enough to keep them cooled down.

Dogs don't just pant when over-heating either, they can pant with walking, being out in the heat, under stress, when excited or playing to name of few. Though overheating can be the biggest issue in dogs muzzled or not, especially when the temperatures are high. You will notice most dogs that are anxious will pant a fair amount.

The more dogs pant, the more they evaporate moisture from the tongue/mouth and the faster they replace the hot air in their lungs, the faster they cool down and the less likely they over heat or worse. Video on panting HERE.

But what is heat stroke/overheating and why is it so dangerous?

"Heat stroke is a term commonly used for hyperthermia or elevated body temperature. Generally speaking, if a pet's body temperature exceeds 103°F/39.4°C, it is considered abnormal or hyper-thermic. The most common cause of heat stroke or hyperthermia is leaving a dog in a car with inadequate ventilation. Other common causes of heat stroke include being left in a yard without access to shade or water on a hot day, being exposed to a hair dryer for an extended period of time, and excessive or vigorous exercise during hot temperatures. Excited or excessively exercised dogs are sometimes at risk even if the environmental temperature and humidity does not seem high. This is particularly true if dogs are kept in a poorly ventilated environment or a dog house." - By Krista Williams, BSc, DVM, CCRP; Ernest Ward, DVM

If they are not given enough shade or water, left in the car or exercised in extreme heat, is not only highly discouraged by any pet professional, it is considered animal cruelty in most countries... So why are tiny and restrictive muzzles allowed and recommended by so many, used incorrectly they can kill your dog especially when paired with any of the other issues above.

Don't forget about the ability to vomit and not choke on it

If your dog vomits and is unable to swallow properly, he could choke on his vomit and aspirate into his lungs causing a severe and potentially fatal pneumonia. Again a huge risk when using a small muzzle on your dog. 

View the muzzles below and imagine how any animal would feel comfortable and safe with one on. Can't pant/breath, yawn, vomit, or drink properly and unfortunately this is what gets promoted. The only reason most companies have photos of well fit muzzles is from their users fitting them correctly and posting the photo, not because they're using them to advertise a proper fit. 

"Well I wouldn't have it that tight"... Then it would not stop a bite, which is why they are not appropriate or safe.

Closed Height/Mouth

This is your dog with its mouth shut, a muzzle cannot physically be the same as this or smaller. It would be incredibly unsafe and your risk your dog not being able to breathe normally, choking on vomit, rubbing sores, stress and more. 

Regular Pant

This is your dogs regular or daily pants. Usually the pant they'll have on a casual walk, the vets/groomers or a quick play. It is not their biggest pant but is somewhere in between full pant and closed mouth/height.

Full Pant

This is your dogs fullest pant, usually after exercise, playing tug, sports , high stress, hot days etc. Ensuring your muzzle fits a full pant correctly when needed is essential to keep them safe and happy. If your dogs full pant is heavily restricted you will cause issues.  

closed height
regular pant
full pant

Size Matters...

As you can see for many reasons that aren't something to mess around with. Having a muzzle that restricts pant is risking your dogs life, especially if the already have other issues like obesity, short noses, breathing issues and more. A well fit muzzle should absolutely allow your dog to full pant without being over big and bulky. If you would like experienced help finding a well fit muzzle you can head to Sizing & Fitting Help.

5 Photo Cred: Kathryn Chalmers 

full pant in and out of the muzzle
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