SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Muzzling Dogs

Companion Animals

SPCA supports the use of appropriate and correctly fitted muzzles as a safety device, as needed.

It is important that a correctly fitted muzzle of a humane and appropriate type is used properly and only for limited durations. Dogs should be comfortable wearing a muzzle.

SPCA opposes prolonged muzzling of dogs as routine behaviour management or compulsory muzzling for specific breeds.

Muzzles designed to hold the dog’s mouth closed, such as those used for veterinary examination, prevent dogs from panting, eating, drinking and vomiting and must only be used in appropriate circumstances, such as in emergency first aid or rescue situations, during veterinary examinations or where the immediate safety of the animal, other animals or people is at risk. These muzzles should never be left on dogs unsupervised for the purpose of preventing excessive barking.

Basket muzzles, which do not hinder respiration, drinking and eating, are the only type of muzzles that should be used outside of emergency situations.

Muzzles must only be worn for limited durations and not cause cuts, abrasions or swelling. Dogs must not be left unsupervised (e.g. in a car) whilst wearing a muzzle and must be able to drink, eat, pant and vomit.

(See Breed Specific Legislation for more details)

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