7 Best Muzzles for Shih Tzus + Tips and Tricks for Muzzle Use

Shih Tzus have quite the personality. They’re vivacious, curious, and love their families completely. They have gorgeous, flowing coats, but are one of the few breeds that look adorable in a short style as well. Those recognizable coats, plus their strong personalities make them a great lap dog breed, but what happens when your little “Lion Dog” has a little too much personality? Nips and bites.

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You may not think of Shih Tzus when listing dogs that might have biting issues, but in reality, any dog with a strong personality is at risk of becoming a dog like this.

Shih Tzus are small dogs and only have their teeth to protect them, so they may be even more at risk of biting to try to protect themselves from more significant threats. Those threats could include your groomer, your nephew with the touching problem, and your neighbor innocently saying hello.

What Is The Best Muzzle For A Shih Tzu?

For some Shih Tzu owners, training and working with their companion hasn’t stopped that biting tendency, making trips to the groomer a nightmare and visitors a worrisome event. In some cases, the Shih Tzu may become dangerous for anyone to be around except the owners. When this happens, you may need an alternative option to training.

Muzzles for short-faced breeds aren’t easy to find, but they aren’t impossible either. There are muzzles made specifically to accommodate your Shih Tzu’s unique face shape. While training is always the best place to start for Shih Tzus with a biting problem, a muzzle could be the last resort to keep your dog and those around it safe.

Choosing a muzzle for a Shih Tzu is tricky but don’t worry. We’ve selected our six favorite muzzles that can get the job done and make sure your furry companion doesn’t bite. Plus, we’ve answered a few questions you might have about how to choose and what to do once you have. Let’s take a look.

Different Types of Muzzles for Shih Tzus

Muzzles aren’t all the same. Different shapes and purposes could give your Shih Tzu more or less freedom depending on the type of the problem. If your dog is a puppy just learning manners, it may require a different solution than an adult Shih Tzu who’s never been able to train out of biting. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

Basket Muzzles

A basket muzzle is one of the most common types and comes in a variety of materials. The purpose of these muzzles is to allow your dog to breathe and pant properly while guarding mouth, making it impossible to bite. They also allow your dog to drink water through the muzzle, so they’re best for longer periods of time like walks. These muzzles are usually great for dogs, but with a short-nosed breed, it can be challenging to get a basket to fit over the snout properly.

Slip Muzzles

A slip muzzle is the most constricting and used for only short periods of time. They feature a durable material such as a nylon weave that slips over the snout and forces the mouth closed. The hole at the end of the tube keeps the nostrils free for breathing purposes. This muzzle should only be used for a short period of time, such as a quick grooming session or when trimming nails.

You can’t use a slip muzzle for exercising or walks because your pet won’t be able to breathe correctly.

Face Mask Muzzles

For people with flat nosed breeds, muzzles can be tough to fit. With face mask styles, your dog gets complete coverage, but can still breathe and pant properly. They fit over your dog’s entire face, so they could require extra time to get used to the style before being completely comfortable, especially if this is your dog’s first time wearing a muzzle at all. However, for complete protection against biting, they’re one of the only ones that will work.

Soft muzzles

These are often used as training tools because they don’t provide full bite protection, but they do allow a comfortable fit for your dog. They do still interfere somewhat with panting and drinking water, so they’re best for short periods of time for training or specific activities. They can also be suitable for typically calm dogs who need a temporary restraint.

When and Why Would a Shih Tzu Need a Muzzle?

Shih Tzus, like any dog breed, can be prone to anxiety or over aggression. Because they’re small, their sense of protection could be a little outsized. Think about it. Everything is bigger than they are, so they may react strongly to prevent getting eaten. It can be tough to see your companion in a muzzle, but here are some times that you may need one.


Your groomer needs to stay safe, but your dog is filled with anxiety about it. A muzzle can help keep your groomer safe and allow your dog to be groomed completely for health and wellness. Many dogs hate the groomer, so this is one of the most common times to need a muzzle. You could also use a muzzle to protect yourself if you trim your Shih Tzu’s nails yourself, for example. When you have a grooming activity that needs to happen, but you’re in danger of getting nipped, it might be time to invest in at least a slip muzzle.

Emergency Care

If your dog is injured, the last thing you need is a display of aggression. It’s an evolutionary trait for dogs to become more aggressive when injured because they’re trying to protect themselves. They don’t understand that a vet or other good samaritan are only trying to help. To avoid wasting time trying to get your dog to calm down, a muzzle could be the best option to get on with care. With each passing minute, your dog loses the chance to recover from injuries, especially if they’re serious, and a muzzle can stop danger instantly.

To Build Trust

If your dog has trust issues or anxiety, introducing it to a new situation can be difficult. If you have an excellent muzzle on hand, this could help keep your dog safe while in these new surroundings. You’ll need a comfortable muzzle that can be work for more extended periods, unlike the other two situations, and that allows your dog to pant and breathe properly.

As you lead your dog through the situation, you may be able to unmuzzle it eventually once the anxiety is gone. However, some Shih Tzus may always need a muzzle for conditions that make them anxious, even when they seem calm. You know your dog’s temperament, so make sure you assess all your options.

2024 Best Muzzle for a Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are tricky to fit, but not all is lost. Here are six excellent muzzles for your furry companion that provide protection, a great fit, and durable materials.

Coastal Pet Products Best Fit Adjustable Comfort Dog Muzzle

The Coastal Pet Products Best Fit Adjustable Comfort Dog Muzzle has a hook and loop chin strap to provide a custom fit and elastic across the top to prevent the muzzle from covering your shih tzu’s eyes. Unlike other muzzles, this comfort design allows your dog to still be able to drink water and pant, if necessary. The design of this muzzle allows for optimum air flow and breathability, and the durable nylon will hold up for a long time.

6 More Top-Rated Shih Tzu Muzzles

We’ve made our top pick, but here are a few other options. They may be better suited to your Shih Tzu’s unique situation.

Four Paws Walkabout Quick Fit Muzzle

Four Paws has a slip style muzzle designed to keep vision free while temporarily restraining the jaw. If your Shih Tzu has a slightly longer snout, you can choose the option for short-nosed breeds to prevent biting.

It fits around your Shih Tzu’s snout but leaves the eyes free. It buckles in the back and is gently padded to prevent rubbing or causing sore spots. The stitching is ultra-durable, and you can throw the muzzle in the wash to clean it after use. Make sure you don’t use this one long term because it does restrict panting.

Canine Friendly Short Snout Dog Muzzle

This muzzle is an excellent option for Shih Tzus that need to wear muzzles in a variety of situations. It features a basket style snout modified for the short face of your dog, and it clips in the back for security. The blended, woven nylon is tough but easy to clean, and the mesh front allows your Shih Tzu to pant and breathe freely. The eye guards prevent the material from rubbing and irritating your Shih Tzus eyes while wearing it.

It’s brightly colored and comes in a few different sizes. It does have a few adjustment points to get the correct sizing so that your Shih Tzu can’t get it off. Truly energetic Shih Tzus may still be able to get it into their mouths, but for the most part, is a great all-purpose muzzle.

ProGuard Pet Products Short Nosed Muzzle

For grooming issues or vet trips, this muzzle covers the face completely, including the eyes, prompting your dog to become very calm. It should never be worn long term because it can interfere with breathing. However, to get your dog’s nails trimmed or to receive vet check-ups, this could be an excellent option for quick sedation.

The material is durable, woven nylon that allows good air flow. The product label flips up to obscure your dog’s vision, and it’s simple to clip on in the back. You can use it for temporary protection, so it’s also a great addition to your pet emergency kit.

Nacoco Mesh Muzzle

Nacoco’s muzzle leaves both the nose and the eyes free to prevent discomfort and potential injury for more prolonged wearing. It features three reinforced rings in the fabric. Two fit over the eyes, preventing irritating your Shih Tzu while the other allows the nose to remain uncovered to help with breathing and temperature regulation.

It has four different sizes and an adjustment point for the perfect fit. Durable, woven nylon helps prevent overheating and is easy to clean. A leather loop on the back can connect to a collar or leash, and it’s brightly colored, so you’ll always know it’s yours.

JYHY Short Snout Muzzle

Another mesh style muzzle for a short-nosed breed, the material is durable nylon mesh with a breathable snout. Open eyes and nose portions prevent irritation from the muzzle itself, allow your dog to wear it during walks without risking injury or discomfort.

It comes in a few different sizes and has adjustment points for a more comfortable fit. It can be washed, and the entire muzzle provides an excellent visual range to make your dog less anxious. It’s a good walking option or for when you’re introducing your Shih Tzu to new circumstances.

Champion for L&J Pets Short Nose Leather Muzzle

Our final muzzle is a leather strap style that allows full breathing and panting but prevents your dog from biting. It fits over the snout while leaving the eyes free and is a comfortable material. Leather is not only durable but can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

It comes in a few different sizes, and you can adjust the fit easily. It can be worn for walks or new activities and gives your Shih Tzu full vision range without slipping off the snout. Plus, leather is hard for energetic Shih Tzus to get into their mouths.

5 Tips to Properly use a Muzzle with a Shih Tzu

  1. Consider if you really need the muzzle. Muzzles aren’t a replacement for training, and if you’re using it to get out of really working through your dog’s behavior, you may still be disappointed in the long run.
  1. Decide how you’ll use the muzzle most and choose a style for that situation. If you’re only muzzling for a few minutes, a full face muzzle could be a good option. They’re easier to slip on and also help obscure your dog’s vision, encouraging them to become very still.
  1. Choose the right fit. Follow the instructions for your chosen muzzle to make sure you have precisely the right fit. Choose a muzzle that has an adjustment point for further customization.
  1. If this is your dog’s first muzzle, build trust slowly. Begin by leaving the muzzle around for short periods of time and rewarding your dog for showing interest. Begin with very short periods, after which you reward your Shih Tzu for having it on. That way, your dog associates it with only good things.
  1. Don’t focus on bad behavior. Your dog may react with anxiety to the muzzle at first, but it’s essential that you don’t punish that reaction. You want only good things associated with the muzzle.

FAQ’s Regarding Muzzles for Shih Tzus

Is it cruel to use a muzzle with a Shih Tzu?

Some people find muzzles off-putting, but if your dog is a bite risk, they can be the only way to keep them safe. It’s not cruel as long as you’re careful about the type you choose and get the right fit. For some dogs, they’re no more uncomfortable than using a harness. The important thing is that your dog and those around it are safe.

Does my Shih Tzu need a muzzle?

If you’ve worked with your Shih Tzu’s training and possibly worked with a professional trainer and your Shih Tzu is still biting, a muzzle may be your only option. Muzzles should be the last resort, however, so work through training first.

Can a muzzle make my Shih Tzu more aggressive?

If you choose a terrible fit and your Shih Tzu can’t breathe and is in discomfort, yes. However, with a comfortable fit and plenty of training, a muzzle should have no effect on your Shih Tzu’s overall behavior.

Should I muzzle my Shih Tzu puppy?

Many puppies grow out of nipping and biting, so work with training first. Generally, most people wait until puppies are grown up before resorting to a muzzle.

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