We have all now got used to seeing masks on faces around us. Your animals probably have too by now. But what about muzzles? Why are they so different and what does seeing a muzzle make you think & feel?
People often see a muzzle and think: ‘Dangerous dog!’. However, in veterinary practice, when we see a dog brought in wearing a muzzle our first thought is: 'Responsible owner!’. It doesn’t mean that a dog has to be nasty or dangerous, just that someone out there has chosen to put our safety ahead of their own pride and assumptions.
The aim of a muzzle is to protect others - be it the receptionist or veterinary care assistant who takes your pet into surgery, the vet who is trying to care for them or other animals in the practice. After all, you know your dog and he knows you so you feel perfectly safe from his formidable fangs. However, he does not know us and we do not know him so it would be kind to take care when bringing him into our practice.
Another thing to bear in mind is that unfortunately some of the things that we do are not appreciated by your pet. After all, we know that anal glands need seeing to, and that they will feel better after have them expressed, but your pet does not think about that at the time. He may well behave completely differently if he feels we are invading his space!
Perhaps we can start a trend - #muzzletobekind ?
N.b. It’s not just the big dogs that bite! In fact in our experience a bite can be more likely from a small dog. Whilst a bite from a daschund may not seem life-threatening, it can still cause scarring and introduce dangerous infections - and let me tell you, it still hurts!
Of course it is important to make sure that muzzles fit correctly and also that your dog is trained to wear one. This alone can make the veterinary experience so much less stressful, both for them and for us.