Ok, so we may have a small giggle at dogs wearing a large lampshade like object around their necks. While they wander around, looking forlorn and bumping into furniture, we simultaneously feel sorry for them and amused by them.
But the 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.
They are designed to prevent your dog from licking or nibbling parts of their body that may need time to heal without interference. The cone of shame has proved fundamental in improving healing times for our dogs after surgical procedures.
After all, 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-collar is not much fun for our dogs. Not only does it interfere with natural behaviours like drinking, eating and sleeping but it can also cause discomfort as your dog tries to navigate their environment with a large lampshade on their head.
So what can we do to make the dreaded e-collar more comfortable for our dogs without compromising on effectiveness? Are there alternatives to the cone of shame?
Dog cone alternatives
There are lots of products on the market that act as an alternative to the original hard plastic versions of the dog cone.
Since dogs come in all shapes and sizes, it’s important to get one that works for your particular dog. While the biggest benefit of the original product is that it 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-collars
- Inflatable collars
- Recovery dog clothing
- Neck collars
Soft e-collars work in a similar way to their hard plastic counterparts, but the difference is that they are made of soft or padded material.
Many of these types of cone can also be folded flat. That makes them ideal for storage. What’s more, they come in a variety of designs, materials and sizes.
- Cons -Determined dogs can work out how to bypass the collar
Our Top 3 Soft e-collars
- STRESS FREE RECOVERY: For dogs & cats Canvas cone design with windows for maximum visibility
- ADJUSTABLE VELCRO SIZING: Comes in 4 sizes.
- 12 YEARS OF VETERINARY USE: Designed to protect your pet from reaching injuries, rashes, or post surgery wounds.
The ZenPet Pro Cone is soft, flexible and made of a lightweight breathable material that can be folded back for easy drinking and eating.
Adjustable to for perfect fit.
- Fits neck girth 8" to 13.25" with the overall depth of 7". Great for both cats and dogs
- Great for recovery from injuries, rashes and post surgery
- The flexible collar won't knock things over or make noise when bumped against furniture and doorways
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.
Comfortable, washable and flexible the Comfy Cone is made out of foam.
It secures with Velcro, which is fastened all along the seam. Which means it’s simple to fit and also means that you can adjust the open end to a wide or narrow cone.
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 the traditional cones.
- Pros – Allows your dog much more freedom and range of movement
- Cons – Tricky to size correctly. Which can result in the collar being ineffective especially for front paw or tail injuries
Our top 3 inflatable collars
- Inflatable collar for injuries, rashes and post-surgery
- Premium protective collar
- Washable.Tough fabric will not rip or tear
Tough but soft machine washable fabric that won’t rip or tear. Available in five sizes and secures with a lengthy velcro tab. Allows your dog to eat, drink and sleep in comfort.
Sturdy, durable and scratch resistant this inflatable collar offers a more comfortable option to a cone.
A washable, scratch and bite resistant alternative to a cone that folds flat for storage. It secures with a velcro tab and comes in a variety of sizes.
Recovery dog clothing
As a complete alternative to the standard cone of shame, recovery dog clothing provides an efficient solution to licking.
A bit like a onesie or a baby-grow, these dog suits allow your dog complete freedom of movement while protecting their wounds.
- Pros – The recovery suit enables complete freedom of movement. Soft, comfortable and suitable for most dogs.
- Cons – Most are not suitable for dogs with injuries on their tails, paws or legs
Our top 3 recovery clothing
- Length measured from nape of neck to base of the tale. Use the smallest size possible to ensure a snug fit.
- When in heat or with light incontinence. Reduces the risk of blood or urine stains in your house.
- Covers skin conditions (when using ointments, the Recovery Suit also prevents dogs licking it off)
Made from a breathable, stretchy cotton lycra mix, the Suitical offers protection from licking and nibbling. This model allows your dog complete freedom of movement while recovering.
- USEFUL FOR ALL DOGS - Helps your untrained puppies, females in heat, senior dogs, marking and dogs that suffer from excitement urination or incontinence
- ALLOWS YOUR PET TO BE A PART OF YOUR FAMILY AGAIN - Keep your pets diapers, wraps & pads secure & in place
- INVENTED BY A VETERINARIAN - Used by 1000's of veterinarians, trainers, pet professionals and universities nationwide
An antimicrobial dog onesie. protects your pet while they heal. Easy to put on and take off with no straps or poppers to worry about.
- COMFORT AND SAFETY - Used by veterinarians as an E-Collar alternative to protect body wounds for female dogs. Increases mobility, reduces stress, accelerates healing, and reduces the risk of infection...
- FOR MALES AND FEMALES - Available in a male and female version. The male version is blue and includes a urination hole which may be opened/closed with the Velcro flap. The female version is pink and...
- SIZING - For sizing instructions, please refer to the size chart in the images and measure carefully. The fabrics are stretchable to ensure a comfortable fit and promote mobility.
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. However, there are also neck collars and padded rings available.
We’ve included the best of these, but they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
- These collars are made of flexible plastic and foam
- They are the only cervical restraint with a harness strap and that means these collars stay on
- The bitenot collars are an excellent alternative to the traditional Elizabethan collar
However, the collar can rub, and moisture tends to build up under the collar.
- Size: S-Neck 19-22cm; M-Neck 25-28cm; L-Neck 38-40cm; XL-Neck 40-42cm. Please measure before purchase.
- Velcro closures designed for size adjustment. Padded on the inside edge, for extra comfort and protection.
- Soft, breathable, lightweight durable and washable; Scratch&Bite-resistant.
The second is a padded neck ring. A little like an inflatable e-collar but in contrast to the compact design of the inflatable versions these are designed to stand out from the neck to prevent your dog from nibbling.
However, the collar needs to be large to prevent your dog from reaching their injuries. So be prepared for a few broken ornaments!
Dog cone of shame, all hail to the lampshade!
Despite the various alternatives to the rigid plastic cone of shame, unfortunately the original remains the only one that practically guarantees that your dog can’t reach their 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.
A collar that is too small will allow your dog to turn around, making it pointless. On the other hand (or paw), a collar that is 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 cone of shame only needs to be worn for five to seven days.
Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API