Dog cone of shame, every dog’s nightmare

dog cone of shame, every dog's nightmare

The dog cone of shame or the Elizabethan collar or E-collar as it’s variously known serves an important purpose to the welfare of your dog. It might look like your dog’s wearing a large lampshade, but the collar is designed to stop your dog from licking or biting parts of their body that may need time to heal without interference.

In fact, the Elizabethan collar has proved fundamental in improving our dogs’ healing process after surgical procedures; the short-term inconvenience is a price that many dog owners (and dogs) pay for a shorter recovery time.

However, the standard, hard plastic e-collars are not much fun for our dogs. Not only does it interfere with natural behaviors like drinking, eating, and sleeping, but it can also cause discomfort as your dog tries to navigate its environment wearing the cone.

So what can we do to make the dreaded e-collar more comfortable for our dogs without compromising effectiveness? Are there alternatives to the dog cone of shame?

What can I use instead of a dog cone of shame?

There are many products on the market that act as an alternative to the traditional plastic cone.

Since dogs come in all shapes and sizes, it’s important to get one that works for your particular dog. While the original cone of shame stops almost all dogs from reaching their wounds,  there may be a more comfortable option that fits your dog perfectly and is just as successful.

So here’s a rundown of the best substitutes.

  • Soft e-collar
  • Inflatable collar
  • Recovery dog clothing
  • Neck collar

Soft e-collars

Soft e-collars work in a similar way to their hard plastic counterparts in that they are worn around the neck, but the difference is that they are made of comfy or padded material.

Many of these types of dog cones can also be folded flat. That makes them ideal for storage. What’s more, they come in various designs, materials, and sizes, which makes them suitable for most dogs.

  • ​Pros – Much more likely to be comfortable to wear for your dog. Semi flexible, quiet and padded.
  • Cons -The flexibility means that determined dogs can work out how to bypass the collar.

Our Top 3 Soft e-collars

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The ZenPet Pro Cone is soft, flexible, and made of a lightweight, breathable material that can be folded back for easy drinking and eating and is adjustable for a perfect fit.

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The Soft-E Smart Collar is made from flexible, lightweight fabric. Its drawstring design makes it easy to fit, and the durable material is non-allergenic, non-toxic, and water repellent.

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Comfortable, washable, and flexible, the Comfy Cone is made out of foam. This collar secures with Velcro, which is fastened all along the seam. This means it’s simple to fit and that you can adjust the open end to a wide or narrow cone.

Inflatable collars

This type of collar is similar to the inflatable pillows that you may use on a plane. Filled with air and attached around your dog’s neck, they improve your dog’s field of vision and are less restrictive than a traditional cone. They work by restricting a dog’s head movement and are probably the most comfortable for a dog to wear

  • Pros – Allows your dog much more freedom and range of movement and won’t restrict your dog’s vision nearly as much as a plastic cone.
  • Cons – Tricky to size correctly. This can result in the collar being ineffective, especially for a front paw injury or tail wound.

Our top 3 inflatable collars

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This e collar features tough but soft machine washable fabric that won’t rip or tear. Available in five sizes, each with a lengthy velcro tab that secures around the dog’s neck. This collar allows your dog to eat, drink and sleep in comfort.

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Sturdy, durable, and scratch-resistant, this inflatable collar offers a more comfortable option to a cone.

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A washable, scratch and bite-resistant alternative to a cone that folds flat for storage. It secures around the neck with a velcro tab and comes in a variety of sizes.

Recovery dog clothing

If wearing the cone is making your dog miserable, then why not try a complete alternative to the traditional Elizabethan collar. Recovery dog clothing provides an efficient and protective solution to licking and chewing. As these suits are soft and cover most of a dog’s body, they are perfect after surgery.

A bit like a onesie or a baby-grow, these dog suits allow your dog complete freedom of movement while protecting their wounds.

  • Pros – Recovery clothing enables complete freedom of movement. Soft, comfortable, and suitable for most dogs.
  • Cons – Most are not appropriate for dogs with injuries on their tails, paws, or legs.

Our top 3 recovery clothing

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Made from a breathable, stretchy cotton lycra mix, the Suitical offers protection from licking and chewing. This model allows your dog complete freedom of movement while your dog is healing.

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An antimicrobial dog onesie. Protects your pet while they are healing. Easy to put on and take off with no straps or poppers to worry about.

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Breathable and light, this recovery suit is secured by a zipper for easy use. Hypoallergenic to prevent skin irritation, air-flow circulation allows wounds to heal as they are protected.

Neck collars and padded rings

The above options are the most popular alternatives to traditional Elizabethan collars. However, there are also neck collars and padded rings available.

We’ve included the best of these, as they both have their advantages and disadvantages.

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The first, which is a neck collar, is best suited to prevent your dog from biting any sore spots on the back of their bodies. However, the e collar can rub, and moisture tends to build up under the collar.

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The second e collar is a padded neck ring. A little like an inflatable e-collar, but in contrast to the inflatable versions’ compact design, these are designed to stand out from the neck to prevent your dog from licking. However, the collar needs to be large to prevent your dog from reaching its injuries. So be prepared for a few broken ornaments!

Dog cones – all hail to the lampshade!

Despite the various alternatives to the rigid plastic cone of shame, the original remains the only one that practically guarantees that your dog can’t reach its injuries.

Although some of the other options may be suitable for your dog, it very much depends on the individual.  Overall, our recommendation is to ensure that you get your dog the proper fit, as this is arguably the most important factor in the collar’s success.

Wearing a cone of shame that is too small will give your dog too much flexibility enabling it to lick and making it pointless. On the other hand, e collars that are too big will prevent your dog from eating or drinking, and it may also rub your dog’s neck, causing them discomfort.

 If you find that none of the alternatives are suitable, remember that the dreaded cone of shame is a small price to pay for a faster recovery time for your dog. Yes, your dog may be uncomfortable in the short term, but typically a dog cone of shame only needs to be worn for five to seven days.

Last update on 2024-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API