With careful observation, muzzles are safe for dogs for short-term use. They are not safe for dogs to wear overnight or alone, however. A variety of muzzles exist, but none should be used on a dog unsupervised.
Muzzles can be used to prevent your dog from biting people or other pets, as a means of restraint. Basket muzzles allow pets to comfortably thermoregulate through panting, drinking water and eating treats. Mesh muzzles fit more snugly, preventing panting, eating or drinking. When used without supervision, dogs may rub areas on their face raw from rubbing at the muzzle, get hung on furniture or kennels, or injure themselves by hooking nails in the muzzle. Your veterinarian may be able to provide alternatives to a muzzle for your dog.
Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.