A black dog in a cone.

Ah, that pitiable look of contrition, the telltale sign that a dog has had surgery. Yes, the dreaded Cone of Shame. These neck cones, formally called Elizabethan collars, are used after a pet has a procedure to prevent them from licking the wound site. While this is an important addition to prevent the removal of sutures or disruption of healing, dogs will all agree that they are uncomfortable.

Just because your dog needs a barrier to prevent them from getting at the surgical site, it doesn’t need to be the Cone of Shame. Here are some great alternatives to the Elizabethan collar presented to you from your friends at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital.

3 Great Alternatives to the Cone of Shame

As vital as they are, the Elizabethan, or E-collar, is not always the safest option for pets. These traditional collars are made of plastic, and constructed so that they can be bent and formed around the neck. When a dog starts to bend forward to lick or chew the surgical site, they are blocked by the collar.

Unfortunately, these collars can easily get caught on things, prevent your pet from seeing out of their peripheral vision, and do not always fit well, which makes them more uncomfortable. All of these issues can lead to injury.

Here are some other options to the E-collar:

  1. Flexible Fabric Collars  – This version of the Elizabethan collar is based on the same cone-shape concept that fits around the neck, but it is made from a soft, stiff material instead of plastic. Products such as the ElizaSoft Recovery Collar or the ZenPet ZoneCone can be folded down for easier access to eat or drink water, then folded back up to prevent injury to their surgical site.

    Some of these collars feature “windows” on the sides of the cone so your dog can maintain their peripheral vision. Adjustable, affordable, durable, and washable, these soft collars rank high among pet owners.
  2. Inflatable Collars – Another soft version of a traditional style Elizabethan collar is the cushion inflatable collar. These collars are comfortable and fit like a donut around your dog’s neck. Rather than extend up over the head, they are designed to prevent your dog from bending their neck down to prohibit them from biting or licking.

    These collars are good for small or older pets and are less intrusive than Elizabethan designs. They do puncture easily, however, so dogs that are super active or go outside a lot probably should have a different option.
  3. Bodysuits and Onesies – If your pet is recovering from an abdominal surgery or other significant surgery, they may do better with a bodysuit. Unlike the others, bodysuits like the Suitical Recovery Suit have full coverage of the torso, which protects the wound or suture site. They are made of a breathable, yet sturdy fabric that keeps out dirt, bacteria, and other debris.

    Dogs appreciate the fact that these collars do not obstruct the head and neck, and allow for easier access to food and water. Since having anything on the face or head can increase anxiety in some pets, the onesie suit is a great choice. 

Elizabethan collars are extremely important and protects your pet from suffering further injuries or increasing recovery time. In some cases, however, other options might better suit your dog’s needs. If you would like some recommendations on great recovery collar or bodysuit options, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us.