Tooth Care and Tooth Wear
All grazing muzzles pose some risk of tooth wear. The British Horse Society and the UK's National Equine Welfare Council state that if you use any grazing muzzle, at "minimum your horse should have an annual dental check by your vet or equine dental technician."
No matter where your equine friend is in their grazing muzzle journey - at the very start or years in - we strongly recommend checking their teeth at least once a week from the start of the season. Regular observation of your horse's dental condition will help you spot any noticeable changes and adapt to them.
Tooth Wear Risk Factors
Abnormal or accelerated tooth wear is very rare. Some factors, like how the muzzle is fitted, adjusted, and maintained, are manageable. Others, like your horse's dental history, the strength of your horse's tooth enamel, or behavioral issues like cribbing or aggressive grazing, you'll just have to be aware of and keep an eye out for.
Where fit is concerned, you'll want to make sure your horse's grazing muzzle is properly fitted, spaced, and angled. Find links to all our in-depth muzzle fitting, adjustment, and angling video tutorials in the checklist below.
The length of the pasture grass horses are turned out on can also be a contributing factor to tooth wear, especially with aggressive grazers. The ideal pasture grass length for grazing muzzle usage is 3 to 5 inches. The shorter the grass is, the harder a horse will have to work to get it, leading to more direct contact with the muzzle surface.
Sand, dirt, and grit can work their way onto and embed themselves into many surfaces, including the grazing muzzle. Any particulates that get caught in the grazing muzzle can act like sandpaper on teeth. This means that cleaning your horse's grazing muzzle should be a very regular part of grazing muzzle season.
GreenGuard muzzles clean very easily with water and a cloth, but are sturdy enough for a run through an autoclave. They are completely dishwasher safe, if you'd like a compromise between a water hose and medical-sterilization technology.
Follow this checklist to prevent wear, and watch our video below for a full rundown on everything we currently know about equine tooth care while using a grazing muzzle.
Tooth Care Checklist
- View our complete fitting guide.
- The muzzle basket should be between 1 and 1.5 inches from the mouth.
- View our tutorial on muzzle angle.
- If you use the same setup for a month or longer, weather conditions can affect the integrity and fit of leather products, like grazing muzzle straps or breakaway halter crowns. This video is about making periodic adjustments to straps and halters.
- Keep the muzzle clean, especially the interior surface.
- If you have any doubts about fit, sizing, or angle, get in touch with us! You can always send us a couple of photos of how your muzzle and halter are fitted for us to double-check.
Grazing Muzzles and Tooth Care
In this video, Kara walks you through everything we know about grazing muzzles and tooth care, along with some suggestions for preventing abnormal wear.
Further questions? Reach out!
We are always learning and trying to figure out how to make our products better for our customers, and, more importantly, for the horses who wear them. Don't hesitate to reach out to our customer service email: firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and ideas.