Labradors are America’s favorite dog breed and still are! They are loyal, highly-intelligent, and companionable pets. But while Labradors are generally well-behaved, they can snap and react when they feel that they or their fur parents are threatened.
During emergencies when they have an injury or had an accident, they might bite when scared and feeling much pain. They might also exhibit bad behavior, react aggressively, and put someone at risk of bites.
Some Labs may also have territorial issues; thus, they might not be friendly to other dogs, like small dogs, in social situations. This is in particular if the Labrador retriever has been experiencing trauma from past stressful situations.
For this reason, pet owners use the best muzzle for Labrador when they take their pet in public. This is to prevent bites and aggression and for the safety of people and other animals.
But for first time Lab retriever owners, finding a dog muzzle with a comfortable fit is important. This is to ensure the comfort of their dog when panting and drinking.
In this guide, I’ll help you find the right Labrador muzzle for your beloved pet and highlight important tips and tricks in choosing the right material for a dog muzzle, measuring one for your dog, and getting your lab used to wearing it.
Types of Muzzles for Labradors
Knowing the main types of muzzles for Labradors is the first step in choosing the right one that will provide a custom fit for your furry pal. The following are the basics to know about the different types of dog muzzles.
When custom fit, basket dog muzzles are some of the best muzzles for a Lab pup or dog. That’s why it’s integral to select the right size (Refer to the size chart of the muzzle model you’re buying).
Basket types are comfortable to put on, as they allow for more movement freedom, which must be one of the first things to consider when choosing a muzzle for your dog.
A basket type works literally like a basket or a cage around your lab’s mouth. It is then secured around their head with an adjustable strap, which can be made of nylon. These straps secure the safety device around the head’s back.
To prevent chafing, a basket muzzle is designed with a nose pad for covering the snout.
Meanwhile, there are also muzzles that are designed with a head strap. This will go between their eyes and be secured to the strap going around the back of their head. It will then secure the muzzle and keep it from making unnecessary movement or slipping over the dog’s nose.
The overall design ensures complete safety, especially with the cage or basket around your pet’s mouth.
A soft muzzle for small or large dogs is made of leather, mesh, or nylon and is wrapped around the dog’s mouth.
Unlike traditional muzzles for animals, it can be less comfortable for your lab since it will keep their mouth closed. While it can work for short-term needs, including a grooming/vet visit, your dog may feel very uncomfortable if this will be kept on their mouth for longer periods.
You shouldn’t use it to stop your Lab from barking, even if this can prevent your dog from opening their mouth.
Also if they’re dehydrated, they’d struggle to breathe.
That’s why you’ll notice that your lab may be panting a lot to remain cool. Labradors, German shepherds, Alaskan malamute, and all types of dogs, either small dogs or large ones, don’t also sweat like we do, so they pant in order to cool themselves down especially when it’s hot outside.
Panting helps them evaporate the water in their mouth and across their tongue to cool; thus, it is essential for temperature regulation. A soft muzzle for animals won’t allow your dog to pant when they need to cool themselves down. They can’t also drink water, and such muzzles can be really tight fitting.
A muzzle is a preventative and safety tool meant to prevent biting and keep your dog from exhibiting dangerous behavior.
However, these devices aren’t only to keep everyone safe from biting but also prevent your dog from eating anything they see or using their mouth to bite furniture, carpet, shoes, and other of your belongings.
Some of the best dog muzzles are made of leather, which can be made of a thick leather strap that’s arranged like a basket muzzle. One can also have a closed design.
But then, a leather muzzle can be pricier than mesh or nylon dog muzzles, particularly if they’re handmade.
Just like other muzzles, leather ones might be too tight if the size isn’t chosen correctly. This muzzle may keep their mouth closed for a long time and again that won’t allow panting. It won’t also allow them to drink water easily.
Another downside to leather muzzles is the material wouldn’t be able to keep its integrity as time goes by. This material can absorb your dog’s saliva and be soaked with it. Leather can also become tough and then cracked over time due to damage.
You should also be careful to select a premium quality dog muzzle because a poor quality one will have low quality paint that can cause allergies and skin irritation.
Good quality leather muzzles should be comfortable and reinforced to keep up with an aggressive dog’s behavior.
How to Measure Your Labrador for a Muzzle
Measuring your dog is essential before getting them a retriever muzzle to ensure proper fit and comfort. Check out the following for tips.
Proper fit for safety and comfort
Before you do muzzle training for your Lab, it is important that you choose a muzzle with the right size.
Generally, your lab should have enough room to pant when the muzzle is on. Its length must be one-half inch longer than the length of their snout. When the length is wrong, it will not be fit for your lab.
If you select a muzzle that’s more than one-half inch longer than the length of their nose, it will interfere with your pet’s vision line.
On the other hand, if you measure this aspect too short, the safety device will touch the front of their nose.
The circumference of the device should be from one to three inches larger than the circumference of their snout. Don’t buy a product with the same circumference as their snout, or your pet would struggle to breathe and open their mouth.
If you’re unsure of what the perfect fitment and comfortable size and length is, you should refer to the Labrador retriever muzzle model size chart after getting the needed measurements. I am sharing how to do it in the next section.
To ensure accurate measurement, don’t curve your measuring tape nor get the measurements at an angle. Also, see to it that your dog isn’t eating or chewing anything.
If your lab isn’t fully grown, you’ll have to get them a new muzzle for a custom fit when they outgrow the old one.
Step-by-step guide for measuring
Here are the measuring instructions to measure your dog that you can follow when selecting the right dog muzzle size.
- Measure the dog’s snout length. To do this, you can start measuring the distance from an inch below your dog’s eye base to the tip of their nose. Use the eye base, which is the center point of their tear ducts. This will serve as your reference point.
- Measure the Labrador’s snout circumference. It is another important measurement to take in order to ensure that you are buying the right muzzle for your furry friend. To get it, start from an inch below their eye base and ensure it is wrapped perfectly around their snout and then under their mouth.
- Measure the height of their snout. You must get the vertical clearance starting from above to the bottom of the dog’s snout. This should be from the reference point of an inch below their eye base.
- Ensure that you’re measuring from above or top to the bottom of their snout if you’re getting a basket type muzzle. Do this while their mouth is slightly open.
If you’re getting another type of dog muzzle, keep their mouth closed, and then get the measurement from the top to the bottom of their snout.
Before getting a lab retriever muzzle, you must take the measurement of their snout’s width. You must get the measurement of the widest distance starting from the left side to the right side of their snout. Don’t curve the measuring tape, and keep it in a straight and horizontal line.
Choosing the Right Material for Your Labrador’s Muzzle
Pet owners who want to prevent biting when taking their Labrador in public get a dog muzzle for their furry friend.
However, there are different types of materials used in manufacturing this type of product, whether soft muzzles, basket muzzles, or leather muzzles. Each material has their qualities to help you pick the right one for a dog with long or short snout.
Durability and strength
There’s no doubt that metal types of muzzles are the most durable and strongest Labrador muzzle you can get if you’re worried about biting and safety. Today, you’ll find metal muzzles for dogs of different sizes, so buying one with the right fit for your pet would be easier.
But while metal dog muzzling devices are durable, it’s not without downsides like the possible discomfort to eat and potential damage they would cause if your dog runs into another person or other dogs with it on.
Comfort and breathability
Muzzles made of mesh or nylon are soft and appear friendly for the nose of your pet; however, these traditional muzzles might not allow freedom of movement, like drinking water or breathing easily. Thus, many pet owners don’t prefer these dog muzzling devices.
On the other hand, there are lightweight and comfortable rubber ones, which won’t cause any injury even if your Lab retriever runs into someone.
But still for ultimate comfort and breathability, basket types may still be a good option especially for long term use. Typically, one is made of metal or plastic with adjustable nylon or leather straps that wrap behind the head of the dog, while keeping it in place.
A basket type is comfortable and breathable for its design, and it allows your lab to eat and drink. They can also breathe and cool down through panting comfortably in a basket type.
Cleaning and maintenance
Silicone constructed types offer a comfortable fit and are easy to clean, making it ideal for everyday use. These also allow some room for breathing easily when doing activities like walking and are designed with an adjustable strap for added comfort.
Best Dog Muzzles for Labrador Retriever
1. Crazy Felix Soft Basket Muzzle
This dog muzzle is for small to large dogs, including Labrador retriever and Golden retriever; however, choose the right size after measuring your dog for the right fit.
This dog muzzle features a breathable silicone material, which will not make your pet uncomfortable. Still, you shouldn’t let them put on one for a long period of time.
It has a ventilated design, which is one of its cool features, to give your pet more freedom to move, drink, pant, and eat.
The muzzle is also easy to clean.
It’s not only comfortable but also does its purpose to protect your dog and keep them from chewing rugs, mud, and dirty items in and outside your home. It may also help prevent biting for your peace of mind when taking them for a grooming visit to the groomer.
The soft basket muzzle for Labs, German Shepherd, or Golden retriever is designed with an adjustable strap and collar loop. This can keep the device where it must be. It also has adjustable head buckles along with a neck buckle, allowing for better adjustment and fit.
I also liked the printed design of this product, which adds some twist to regular muzzles having a very plain appearance. So, you’re not only letting your Lab put on a muzzle to prevent biting but also be more fashionable when taken outside.
Overall, it is a highly recommended basket muzzle that offers superior comfort and delivers great performance for your peace of mind and your pet’s ease in having it on. It is the muzzle for your lab if you simply want more safety in tough situations and social events.
- Breathable and easy to clean
- Cool and fashionable design
- Aids in dog behavior correction
- Allows more freedom to eat treats, and drink water
- Secure and stays well in place
- Sizing issues for some lab owners
2. BARKLESS Soft Basket Silicone Muzzles
Labs may feel stressed or anxious when taking them to the vets or groomers, so putting a muzzle on them is a must for a lot of fur parents. This BARKLESS silicone muzzle can protect for its effective design to prevent barking and biting.
It’s also useful for behavior correction especially for labs that tend to bark excessively at strangers and eat garbage. Using this muzzle on them can help keep them safe and healthy, while also learning how to be more behaved.
I liked its basket design that provides total coverage around the muzzle of your lab, but it still allows them to breathe easily unlike other uncomfortable muzzles. This also lets your Labrador breathe and cool down freely to cool down especially when outdoors and when the weather is hot.
Drinking is also important for a dog’s health and well being because it keeps them hydrated. This basket dog muzzle allows your pet not only to drink but also eat and breathe. Its design also lets you give snack to your furry friend.
The silicone material is also strong, while remaining flexible and soft to keep your dog feeling comfortable.
This product also has a safety strap to keep it in place and two extra points for secure attachment.
Overall, it’s one of the best dog muzzles that can offer protection to prevent biting and aid in behavioral correction among dogs that chew anything and barks at strangers. While effective, it allows freedom in movement, such as panting and drinking.
- Allows panting, drinking, and eating treats
- Safety strap and additional points for secure attachment
- Soft, flexible, and strong silicone material
- Great and comfortable basket design
- Suitable for behavioral correction
- The padding could be improved
3. Crazy Felix Soft Mesh Muzzle
Labradors are active and full of energy, running around, walking, and playing are a typical part of their day.
To help them cool down, they need to pant to avoid overheating especially when the weather is hot. It also soothes them in many situations that cause them anxiety and stress.
To let them do it while being muzzled, you’ll need a soft muzzle like this Crazy Felix dog muzzle.
This device allows your pet to easily pant, breathe, and drink water. It also helps in behavioral correction for dogs that scavenge the garbage and chew your shoes, furniture, and carpet.
This muzzle is pet-friendly because it is made of soft and comfortable mesh fabric that won’t make your pet feel hot while having it on.
For its design, this product is designed for full covered mesh, which also ensures your dog won’t eat poisoned baits in your home or garden.
How about the fit? This Labrador retriever muzzle also has an overhead and neck strap, which you can easily adjust based on the size of your dog. That’s why it is also important to select the correct size before buying one.
Overall, this is a lab-friendly mesh muzzle for your pet and is one of the best around for the extra security, comfort, and behavior correction of your dog.
- Comfortable and lightweight mesh
- Designed with an adjustable strap
- Different size options for small to large dog breed
- Helps in behavioral correction
- Soft fabric for dog’s comfort
- Seams might come apart easily for rough dogs
4. Yosupsecy Dog Muzzle
Available in different multiple size options, this Labrador dog muzzle is another choice for a suitable muzzling device for small, medium, or large dogs. It is packed with different useful features that ensure performance and quality.
The Labrador muzzle has a humanized design unlike traditional types of muzzles. It is designed to allow your pet to pant, drink, and breath.
Drinking was an issue with traditional ones, and this one solves it. The humane design lets your pet conveniently feel more comfortable and drink water with ease.
It is made of a mesh material, which is breathable and pet-friendly, while also being easy to wear and clean. You can wash it easily in the washing machine.
For easy wear, this Yosupsecy muzzle is designed with a double Velcro and buckle.
In addition, it is easy to secure with the additional length of the strap, which has a hook and loop fastener that can also avoid any loose ends unlike in regular muzzles. Around the edges of this muzzle is a soft fabric for more comfort.
This product can also aid in dog behavioral correction to prevent barking, chewing, and scavenging. While effective, it won’t hurt or cause discomfort to your furry friend as well.
Finally, the company offers excellent customer service. If ever you meet any issues with the muzzle shipped to you and are not satisfied, you can get a full refund.
Overall, the Yosupsecy Dog Muzzle is a highly recommended product for its superior performance and offered security. You might want to check it out for yourself if you’re looking for a reliable muzzle for your Lab.
- Breathable and soft fabric
- Humane design for more comfort
- Multiple sizes available
- Designed with a double Velcro and buckle
- Prevent barking and chewing
- Not the most durable for aggressive dogs
5. Birdwell Enterprises Plastic Dog Muzzle
One of the best dog muzzles for a Labrador, the Birdwell Enterprises plastic muzzle is easy to clean and maintain when compared to other materials made of fabric.
It is designed and made with a durable plastic coated nylon strap, which will stay tough no matter what. On the other hand, its belt buckle is made of stainless steel material.
Pet owners can heat and mold this dog muzzle to get the fit for their pet.
This plastic muzzle is also waterproof, which ensures easy cleaning in the dishwasher, adding to its convenient use.
In addition, the plastic dog muzzle is not only comfortable but also durable for nipping and biting. But that’s not all because the design can also allow the lab to pant and drink comfortably.
It is suitable to use when taking your lab to the vet or groomer or outdoors when they’re playing.
This product’s design also allows for covering the dog’s snout completely, adding to your peace of mind that your dog won’t bite. Its nosepiece is also moveable, providing more comfort to your lab.
The inside of this product is also with a smooth surface, preventing chafing, and it has a buckle for added durability. And if you prefer so, you can also add foam weather stripping or moleskin to it for your dog’s comfort.
Overall, it is easy to clean and maintain and is an effective dog muzzle for Labradors. However, it is not suitable for a dog’s nose that is short and wide, like pugs and pit bulls.
- Comfortable and convenient design
- Durable and waterproof
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Smooth surface prevents chafing
- Stainless steel buckle improves reliability
- The belt buckle and strap might have to be strapped tight to the face
How to train a Labrador to wear a muzzle
Labradors are one of the best-behaved dog breeds in the world. They may never need to wear muzzles, but training them to be comfortable using one may help in the future.
Introduction and desensitization
You can treat wearing a muzzle as a trick, so the earlier you introduce them to one, the faster they can get used to it. Remember that any desensitization training is repetitive, so set aside an hour to train your dog with the muzzle.
You can introduce the muzzle to them by placing it in their playpen, area, or bed. This will send a message to them that the muzzle isn’t anything special or anything to be scared of. Stay close and reward them with a treat whenever they interact with the muzzle. Try placing a treat inside the muzzle if they seem too scared or wary.
You can begin being more assertive by holding the muzzle like a cup and placing a treat inside. Now whenever you come around, use the muzzle as a bowl and place a treat inside. This may take either a few days or even weeks. Watch them closely as they eat the treat until they no longer feel reluctant to eat from it.
This next step is slightly more challenging. Try using treats that have a paste consistency or something like peanut butter. Slowly place the muzzle around their mouth, but clasp it down. Let them lick the treat through the muzzle. Gradually increase the time by seconds until they feel comfortable having it around their mouth.
The straps and clasping the muzzle around them will probably take the longest for them to get used to. Similarly to the other steps, continue to use snacks they can lick. Make sure they feel the straps around their head as you reward them.
When you feel that they are ready, fasten the clasp for a second while continuing to feed them. The first few times you can fasten, try to do only what your dog may be comfortable with. Immediately provide them snacks and plenty of praise as soon as you unfasten them.
Positive reinforcement training
The goal of using plenty of treats, praises, and time is to harbor the relation of something good to the muzzle. The biggest mistake you can make when training your Labrador with a muzzle is to associate it with punishment.
This is why positive reinforcement training is essential. You must constantly remind your dog that something good will happen whenever they are wearing a muzzle.
The trick is to do this training in short periods and with regular schedules. If you feed them treats like jerky, chop or tear them into small pieces. You can give them a big piece in every significant milestone, like the first time you can fasten the clasp. Gradual increase in the duration of wear
Before proceeding with the step, ensure your dog is hydrated and in a cool room with a water bowl.
As soon as you can fasten the clasp, start counting the seconds they wear it without being visibly irritated. Just note that positive reinforcement plays a big role in this. While wearing the muzzle, they shouldn’t be scratching or trying to pry it off.
You can start by adding 5-10 second intervals, then a minute or two.
The prime time for homeowners who rarely use a muzzle should be around 10 – 15 minutes. You can adjust your goal time depending on why you want to muzzle-train your Labrador.
Just remember, their muzzles should have good airflow and water access. Never place them in a muzzle for more than 40-50 minutes unless absolutely necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions about Muzzles for Labradors
What size muzzle should I get for my Labrador?
The size of the muzzle to get for your Labrador must have a circumference one to three inches larger than their snout’s circumference. Otherwise, your pet will struggle in panting, which is important in keeping their body cool.
Measure your dog when looking for the right Labrador retriever muzzle so that they’ll have more freedom to pant, drink, and have treats. This is why it’s important to allow for some space in the circumference of the muzzle. Refer to the previous section on “How to Measure Your Labrador for a Muzzle” for a complete guide.
How long can my Labrador wear a muzzle?
Whether it’s a basket dog muzzle or a soft muzzle, this device shouldn’t be left on for long periods of time.
One must also be only worn while your lab is supervised. Don’t use it as a permanent solution for issues, like chewing and barking. It is only meant for short-term use.
I recommend having your pet muzzled for no more than 30 minutes. You must remove it right away especially when your dog is quiet and calm and not when they paw on it while wearing one.
Removing it while they’re still displaying behavioral issues might make them think that misbehaving would make you remove the muzzle.
Generally, you shouldn’t use a muzzle when outdoors and doing activities because they might overheat. This is particularly for short snout dogs like English bulldogs. They must only have the muzzle on for a shorter time of no more than 15 minutes.
Is it cruel to use a muzzle on a Labrador?
Muzzles, which are in multiple sizes, aren’t cruel provided you use it properly and follow the guidelines of one’s use. With proper training, your beloved pet must find comfort and enjoyment while wearing one.
I can say that the only time it might be cruel to put a muzzle on your dog is when he’s about to face stressful situations like when they’re about to receive an injection.
In addition, it might be cruel to keep them muzzled for long hours and leave them alone with it. I don’t also think it’s good to expect that they’ll enjoy wearing it right away because you still need to train them to get used to it.
It won’t also be safe if your dog won’t be able to pant when wearing one; otherwise, they might overheat when outside. Thus, you should be careful and calculate the amount of time they’d be wearing it based on the weather.
The best dog muzzles must be safe and comfortable and are made of durable materials to ensure long-lasting use and performance.
The right one can provide protection to prevent biting and be secured properly on them. One must also allow your dog to pant while wearing it, or else they might overheat in the scorching weather especially when doing activities, like playing, walking, or running.
Nevertheless, a good dog muzzle can offer your dog comfort (although none would be comfortable if worn for long periods).
We do hope the above buying guide and reviews have given you an idea on what muzzle would fit your dog, whether it’s a Labrador or Golden retriever, as well as how to properly train your furry friend to wear it.