5 Alternatives to the Dreaded Cone of Shame
As a dog owner, there will come a time when you will have to subject your dog to the dreaded “ cone of shame” – the Elizabethan collar (also known as the e-collar). Not only do these collars make your dog look like a walking satellite dish, but they can be stressful and upsetting for some pooches.
If you want to keep your dog from licking his stitches or otherwise accessing an injured body part, consider one of these alternatives to classic dog elizabethan collars.
Inflatable neck pillow
You’re probably familiar with those circular pillows that people use to sleep on airplanes – inflatable neck pillows for dogs look similar. These neck pillows come in several different sizes and can be a comfortable alternative to the e-collar. To use one of these, simply inflate the pillow then place it around your dog’s neck and secure it with Velcro. The pillow will prevent your dog from biting, scratching, or licking without impeding his vision.
Our choice: BENCMATE Protective Inflatable Collar for Dogs
Scratch and bite resistant, this tough inflatable e-collar for dogs will keep your pooch from reaching certain areas of his body and yet feel comfortable when worn. The soft cover is machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about hygiene during the recovery period. It attaches easily to your pet’s existing collars through loops on the inner side and you can adjust the fit further with velcro straps. The combination of convenience and a budget friendly price tag are what makes this one of the most popular e-collar alternatives on the market!
This option looks like a fabric version of the e-collar. It usually has the same shape and approximate size as an e-collar but it’s made from fabric with plastic reinforcement. Many dogs find that this type of collar is more comfortable than the plastic alternative, but some models can be fairly heavy which may make them a poor choice for small dogs. The benefit is that the collar is washable and adjustable to fit different neck sizes.
Our choice: The Original Comfy Cone
The name says it all- it’s a comfier alternative to rigid plastic cones. Water-resistant and easy to clean, this soft-sided elizabethan collar is made from foam backed padded nylon that is both lightweight and comfy. This model also features removable plastic stays to add structure when needed, so you don’t have to be concerned about safety. Another great thing about this soft e-collar is that it can protect shoulder or upper back injuries as it can be reversed when needed.
Neck brace collar
This type of collar looks like a neck brace but it’s designed to keep your dog from bending his neck enough to lick, bite, or chew the affected area. These collars are usually made from flexible plastic and foam and they can be adjusted to fit different sizes. While this option may be less obstructive and unwieldy than the typical e-collar, it may still cause your dog some discomfort.
Our choice: BiteNot Collar
Made of flexible plastic and foam, this neck brace for dogs is one of the comfiest out there. While the rigidness of this design might not suit all dogs, if your pet doesn’t mind the brace more than he does the cone, then this combination of materials will be the right choice. To boot, it is machine washable as well, so maintenance won’t be a hassle.
Inflatable neck balloon
Similar to the inflatable neck pillow, an inflatable neck balloon looks more like a plastic innertube that fits over your dog’s head and sits around his neck. This option doesn’t impair your dog’s peripheral vision and it may be more lightweight than the e-collar. The problem with this type of neck balloon is that some dogs may be able to reach around it and it is also easy to puncture with sharp teeth.
Our Choice: GoodBoy Comfortable Recovery E-Collar
This is an improved version of the inflatable neck balloon- it has a cozy fleece cover that’s soft to touch and feels pleasant against your pet’s neck instead of being made from plastic or rubber alone. The inside has loops through which you insert your dog’s collar to ensure that the inflatable donut cone stays in place. For added security, there’s also a quick release buckle strap that will hold everything together.
Baby onesie (Also known as “The Onesie of Embarrassment”)
One of the more creative alternatives to the e-collar is simply putting your dog in a baby onesie or a t-shirt with the end closed up. This solution will prevent your dog from actually touching his stitches or another affected area, though he may still be able to scratch or chew through the fabric. This option may work for minor injuries or if you simply want to prevent your dog from licking off some kind of topical application.
Our Choice: IDOMIK Recovery Suit for Dogs
While you can always try using your pet’s regular onesie (if he has one) to keep him from his incision site, this specially designed recovery suit is a much better option. It is made from breathable cotton and poly mix fabric that’s machine washable and easy to keep in like-new condition. The fabric is both stretchy and snug- just what you need in this particular situation. It will keep your pet covered from shoulders to the tail, and it’s a unisex design- the rear part of the suit rolls up to allow your pooch to go potty.
Whether your dog has sustained an injury or recently undergone surgery, it’s imperative that you keep him from interfering with the healing process. In the short-term, this may mean physically preventing your dog from biting, licking, or chewing on the affected area by using some type of collar. If your dog doesn’t respond well to the traditional e-collar, one of the options above may be a better choice.
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Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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