The Dreaded Elizabethan Collar aka Dog Cone of Shame

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border collie wearing an elizabethan cone
After surgery, the last thing you want is for Fido to make things worse by licking or scratching their wounds and causing more harm. They need time to heal so they can go back to their happy healthy selves. That’s why vets prescribe an Elizabethan collar, also known as a dog cone.
It prevents them from licking their wounds and possibly developing an infection or opening the wound again. But not all pups are convinced wearing a collar is the way to go. Keep reading to learn how to make them used to it!
SUMMARY VERSION: Whether your pup just got surgery or is fighting an infection, check out these products:
Rated 4.00/5.00
ZenPet ZenCone Soft Recovery Dog & Cat Collar
$19.99
Help your pal heal and recover in ultimate comfort with the ZenPet ProCone Soft Recovery Dog & Cat Collar. The unique design promotes stress-free healing by keeping your pal from biting or licking injuries, hot spots, skin allergies, or surgery wounds, while letting him eat, drink, and sleep comfortably. It has built-in windows and a soft canvas design so that your pal will feel more comfortable wearing it. Since it’s made with bite-resistant and anti-scratch canvas and all-around soft edges, it prevents your pal from bumping into things and scratching your walls. Putting it on is a cinch―it works with your pal’s collar and easily fits around his neck with the adjustable fuzzy fastener strap. Plus, it’s been used and recommended by veterinarians for 12 years and comes in different sizes to match your pal’s build.
Buy on Chewy!
Rated 4.00/5.00
KONG Cloud Collar for Dogs & Cats
$24.95
Help your cat or dog recover peacefully—no shame required—with the KONG Cloud Collar. Designed for dogs or cats healing from surgery, rashes or wounds, this recovery collar is soft and comfortable to wear, unlike traditional plastic collars. Best of all, it doesn’t interfere with your pet's peripheral vision or their ability to eat and drink. So, your pal can recover without the additional discomfort. It's scratch- and bite-resistant, which can accelerate healing, and machine-washable fabric makes it easier on you, too! Recovery can be difficult, but you can make it comfortable for your pet with the KONG Cloud Collar.
Buy on Chewy!
Rated 4.00/5.00
ZenPet ZenCollar Inflatable Recovery Dog & Cat Collar
$12.64
Help your pal heal and recover in ultimate comfort with the ZenPet Zen Collar Inflatable Recovery Dog & Cat Collar. No more coning around for your pal while healing from injuries, hot spots, allergic skin issues, or surgeries. The unique pillow-like design is not only cushiony and comfy to wear, but it allows 180 degrees of vision and does not block your pal’s curious muzzle or face, allowing him to eat, nap and play comfortably while preventing him from reaching injuries, rashes, or surgery wounds. It’s made with bite-resistant and anti-scratch canvas and all-around soft edges to prevent your pal from bumping into things and scratching walls. Putting it on is easy―simply inflate like a beach ball, place over your pet’s neck and use the super strong collar rings to fasten to his collar. Then, adjust the fuzzy fastener strap for a snug fit. Plus, it’s been used by veterinarians for 12 years and comes in different sizes to match your pal’s build.
Buy on Chewy!

First Things First: What Is a Dog Cone Collar?

A dog cone collar is exactly what it sounds like: a collar shaped like a cone. Vets prescribe it every time a pet goes through surgery. It is made from hard plastic and goes around your pup’s head and neck.

It is so similar to what British royalty wore around their necks in the late 16th century, that the name stuck. Look at any portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and you’ll see where this dog cone got its name!

Despite the Name, There Is No Dignity in an Elizabethan Collar for Dogs

The dog cone has a fitting, yet less-than-pleasant nickname. It is also known as the “cone of shame.”

Dogs usually have a hard time going about their day while wearing a dog cone. Bending down to eat and drink from a bowl isn’t an easy task. Nor is finding a comfortable position to sleep in their bed. And imagine playing with other dogs! You can see how it’s no fun for them…

The Purpose of the Cone of Shame

In spite of all this, the plastic dog cone still has a purpose. And a very important one at that! It’s definitely not for playing dress-up.

After surgery, your pup will have stitches on their body. During the healing process, they need to stay on for as long as the vet says. But our furry friends don’t know this. Instead, they want to get them out as soon as possible. They do this by licking and scratching their wounds, which is a big no-no!

injured dog wearing a plastic dog cone collar

Not Using Cones for Dogs Can Have Deadly Consequences

When a dog licks their stitches, they come undone. Their wound is then open again. Thus, it’s very easy for foreign objects to make their way into your dog’s body. Be it dirt, gravel, or bacteria, your pup will get an infection from it.

The worst infections can be deadly. They wreak havoc on your dog’s immune system and can end tragically. That’s why it’s so important for them to wear a dog cone! It will stop your furry buddy from licking their injury in the first place, preventing infections.

An even more serious result of not wearing a cone is that dogs can actually lick their insides out. It might not be the most common thing, but it has happened!

How to Help Fido Get Comfortable Wearing One

Pets are wary of wearing a dog cone. Knowing how uncomfortable they can be, can you blame them? Luckily, there are ways that pet parents can help their companions get used to a dog cone.

If getting a new, more comfortable collar is not a possibility, try making your pet as comfortable as you can. Leave them be for a while in order for them to get used to how the plastic collar feels. They will probably try to take them off, but don’t let them! Instead, reward their patience with some peanut butter or some doggie treats.

Also, don’t forget to make sure the cone has enough padding where it meets the neck. You’ll want to avoid rashes and chafing as much as possible!

injured vizsla who needs dog cones

Fido Will Be Happier with a Soft Recovery Collar

A soft recovery dog cone collar is an awesome alternative to the hard plastic ones. The ZenPet ZenCone is much more comfortable for pups. It comes in four different sizes—from small to extra-large—and is made from soft scratch-resistant canvas. The see-through windows allow your pup to see everything that’s happening around them, which they’ll love.

ZenPet ZenCone Soft Recovery Dog & Cat Collar
Help your pal heal and recover in ultimate comfort with the ZenPet ProCone Soft Recovery Dog & Cat Collar. The unique design promotes stress-free healing by keeping your pal from biting or licking injuries, hot spots, skin allergies, or surgery wounds, while letting him eat, drink, and sleep comfortably. It has built-in windows and a soft canvas design so that your pal will feel more comfortable wearing it. Since it’s made with bite-resistant and anti-scratch canvas and all-around soft edges, it prevents your pal from bumping into things and scratching your walls. Putting it on is a cinch―it works with your pal’s collar and easily fits around his neck with the adjustable fuzzy fastener strap. Plus, it’s been used and recommended by veterinarians for 12 years and comes in different sizes to match your pal’s build.
Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Chewy!

A Plastic Dog Cone Alternative? Here Are Some Options

Not a fan of plastic dog cones—soft or hard? Thankfully, there are alternatives out there. They’ll still prevent your pet from licking, scratching, and biting their wounds. However, they’re designed to be less invasive and easier to tolerate by pups.

They Can Be Super Comfy: The Comfy Cone

The Comfy Cone for dogs is as comfortable as can be. It’s right there in the name! You can adjust how rigid or soft you want the cone to be by inserting plastic stays in the allotted holes. Moreover, you can bend it back to help Fido eat and drink more easily. On top of all that, it comes in eight sizes (from extra-small to extra-extra-large) so that all pups can wear it comfortably!

Comfy Cone E-Collar for Dogs & Cats
The Comfy Cone E-Collar for Dogs & Cats is a soft, cone-shaped Elizabethan collar that helps your precious pet heal and recover in comfort from surgeries, procedures, allergic reactions, hot spots and more. A great alternative to rigid plastic cones, it prevents her from reaching the wounded, sensitive or irritated area while still allowing her to walk, eat, sleep and play comfortably. The unique design features removable plastic stays that let you determine how structured the cone should be – remove them for more flexibility, or leave them in for a firmer set-up. You can even turn it around to cover the neck and upper chest, or fold it back for added freedom while eating and drinking, as well as when checking or medicating wounds. Best of all, this special design conforms to doorways, pet doors and other openings for unobstructed freedom of movement.
Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Chewy!

E-Collar: E-Collar for Dogs Who Are Lickers? NO!

An E Collar is not a tool to stop dogs from licking their wounds. They should only be used by experienced dog trainers and animal behaviorists who know how to use them effectively and responsibly.

The Kong Cloud Collar

What looks like an airplane neck pillow is actually one of the best dog cones you can get for Fido. The KONG Cloud Collar doesn’t block your pup’s line of sight, making it much more practical.

KONG Cloud Collar for Dogs & Cats
Help your cat or dog recover peacefully—no shame required—with the KONG Cloud Collar. Designed for dogs or cats healing from surgery, rashes or wounds, this recovery collar is soft and comfortable to wear, unlike traditional plastic collars. Best of all, it doesn’t interfere with your pet's peripheral vision or their ability to eat and drink. So, your pal can recover without the additional discomfort. It's scratch- and bite-resistant, which can accelerate healing, and machine-washable fabric makes it easier on you, too! Recovery can be difficult, but you can make it comfortable for your pet with the KONG Cloud Collar.
Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Chewy!

Fido will be able to eat and drink from a bowl and go through narrow spaces without getting stuck or hurt. There will be no biting, licking, or picking at their fresh wound with this collar.

Inflatable Collars

unhappy golden retriever wanting a dog cone alternative

Say hello to the ZenPet Inflatable Dog Cone Collar. All you have to do is blow it up and adjust the neck strap as needed. It provides cushy support and bite-proof protection of their wounds. Fido will still have a 180-degree view of everything around them, so they’re bound to love this collar.

ZenPet ZenCollar Inflatable Recovery Dog & Cat Collar
Help your pal heal and recover in ultimate comfort with the ZenPet Zen Collar Inflatable Recovery Dog & Cat Collar. No more coning around for your pal while healing from injuries, hot spots, allergic skin issues, or surgeries. The unique pillow-like design is not only cushiony and comfy to wear, but it allows 180 degrees of vision and does not block your pal’s curious muzzle or face, allowing him to eat, nap and play comfortably while preventing him from reaching injuries, rashes, or surgery wounds. It’s made with bite-resistant and anti-scratch canvas and all-around soft edges to prevent your pal from bumping into things and scratching walls. Putting it on is easy―simply inflate like a beach ball, place over your pet’s neck and use the super strong collar rings to fasten to his collar. Then, adjust the fuzzy fastener strap for a snug fit. Plus, it’s been used by veterinarians for 12 years and comes in different sizes to match your pal’s build.
Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Chewy!

If Your Dog Is a Hazard to Themselves: Invest in a Good Comfy Collar!

Some pets get used to their dog cone in a matter of hours. Others battle with it like it’s an intruder for days on end. If your furry companion at home is a dog-cone destroyer, you need to invest in a sturdy one. Look for a cone that’s comfy yet won’t come apart with all their chewing and biting.

It’s all a matter of finding a product that’s right for your budget and that your pup will “like”. With such a wide variety of items out there, we’re sure you’ll find one soon enough.

Common Questions on Dog Cones

Is a dog cone necessary?

When should a pet wear a dog cone?

Are all cones made from hard plastic?

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