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Dec 14 2015

Muzzle – It’s not a dirty word

Many pet owners have a negative feeling towards the thought of their pet being muzzled.. Their first thought  is “My dog is not aggressive or mean, why does he need to be muzzled?” Muzzles are used for many reasons that benefit your pet and help make a stressful situation better for everyone involved.

Just because a pet was muzzled does not necessarily mean they are a bad dog. Places that have many sounds, smells, and strangers can be very overwhelming to them. A veterinary office is a perfect example of this.  An animal’s response to all this stimuli varies tremendously. Some dogs it won’t bother at all while others can become fearful or protective.

The fearful dog will nip in an effort to scare away what is frightening them.  This could be an object, a person, or another animal.  With a muzzle in place nipping is no longer an option.  With that first reaction to attack taken away they tend to relax and accept being handled better.  Essential oils calming spray on the muzzle can increase the calming effect of the muzzle.

The protective dog’s main concern is for their family.  Once a dog has taken the role of protector in their family “pack” they will use all their defenses to keep viewed threats away.  In these instances taking the pet into a different room from the family can make the situation less stressful for them.  A muzzle may still be required to calm them if they are still focused on protecting the family.

Pain is another reason your pet may need to be muzzled.  When something hurts a pet may bite to keep you away from that area.  Often they are being seen to evaluate the painful area.  To ensure everyone’s safety and a proper exam we may need to muzzle.  Chronic pain such as arthritis may require muzzling during procedures like nail trims.

Muzzles are used for a variety of reasons.  We may need to muzzle in the exam room or take your pet into another room.  In either instance our main concern is the safety and well being of the animal and staff.  The next time someone says they need to use a muzzle remember that “muzzle” is not a dirty word.

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