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What is the RSPCA policy on muzzling dogs?

Article ID: 588
Last updated: 21 Aug, 2014
Revision: 4
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The RSPCA believes that muzzles should not be used as a routine management procedure as they restrict dogs’ natural behaviour and serve no practical purpose for the majority of dogs.

The use of muzzles should be based on the behaviour of each individual dog.

Where muzzling devices are used, they must:

  • only be worn for short periods of time where the dog is under constant supervision
  • be properly fitted to ensure they do not cause injury, pain or distress
  • allow the dog to undertake normal activities such as panting and drinking (the only exception is muzzles used for veterinary clinical examinations).

Some examples of situations where the RSPCA accepts the use of muzzles:

  • for aggressive dogs while in public places
  • for legally declared dangerous dogs while in public places
  • for examination and safe handling of aggressive or potentially aggressive dogs
  • for examination and safe handling of dogs that may react to an unavoidably painful procedure or a procedure that could cause a fearful response

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Also listed in
folder Companion animals -> Dogs
folder Companion animals -> Dogs -> Behaviour
folder Companion animals -> Dogs -> Dangerous dogs

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