The apparent reaction for hitting your head on something is rubbing. The rubbing sensation blocks the soreness or pain, and you feel better. It is the same case with dogs when they lick their wounds.
Licking the wound provides some relief by transmitting mild antibacterial effects from the saliva to the wound. For dogs in the wild and other canines, this licking is beneficial, and it helps clean the wound. But does this mean you should leave the dog to lick the wound? Not at all.
Wild dogs and other animals are active and spend most of their time finding food and staying alive, they don’t spend significant amounts of time cleaning the wound.
On the other hand, your dog is well-fed and spends most of the time in the protection and comfort of your home. They have all day to lick the wound. This may reopen it and slow the healing process. Even worse, the licking and biting can cause an infection and more suffering for your pet.
So preventing access to the wound through the Elizabethan collar, also known as the cone of shame, or other means is essential.
Ideally, the collar or the dog cone should be just over the tip of its nose in terms of length. Anything bigger will scare the pet and cause them to tip things over in the house.
Why the Traditional Dog Cones May Not be the Best
Most vets will recommend an Elizabethan collar or the cone of shame for a dog recovering from a surgical procedure. As a responsible pet parent, you will sentence him or her to between three or four weeks wearing the cone of shame.
Unfortunately, the cones made from plastic may not be quite comfortable.
The dog cone may be too heavy, and your Chihuahua may have trouble moving around when the dog cone keeps digging into the floor. This is often a form of punishment.
Good news! The cone of shame doesn’t have to be so humiliating and challenging for the pup during the recovery process. With a few DIY dog cone ideas, you can make a practical and comfortable e-collar for them.
Here are a few DIY cone of shame you can make for your pet and prevent wound licking.
The suitable plastic material can be lightweight and comfortable for the dog.
For this homemade dog cone, you need:
- A plastic flower pot
- Sharp knife
Find a suitable and fitting plastic flower pot and dip it in warm soapy water. Scrub it to remove any chemicals and dirt that may cause a reaction on the pup’s skin.
Typically, the hole you create should be the size of the pet’s head. Squeeze the flower pot through the head to the neck, and that’s it. Just make sure the pup is not allergic to plastics. If it is, try other materials.
There are no rules against creating a fashionable recovery collar for your German Shepherd. You can use top thigh highs or stockings on small dogs going through the recovery process.
The materials needed include:
- Stockings, ruffle top thigh-highs, tights, or pantyhose
Before you use the scissors on the pantyhose, make sure the thigh area slips comfortably over the canine’s head. Feel the stretchiness around the neck and determine how comfy it is. Make sure it is not too tight.
Lay the stockings or tights on a flat surface and slice six inches from the top. The result is something that resembles a neck warmer. Slip it over your pet’s head and fold it severally for a comfortable and stylish fit.
A Cloth Collar
You can fashion a quick and straightforward e-collar from cloth to serve the dog for a while. The main benefit of a cloth collar is comfort. It is breathable and does not restrict the dog too much.
What you need for this homemade dog cone:
- Piece of cloth
- Duct tape
- a plate of peanut butter
Fold the piece of cloth lengthwise severally and wrap it around your dog’s neck. Use duct tape to keep the fabric in place.
One shortcoming of the cloth e-collar is that the dog can chew it off. If your dog is a chewer, this method may not work that well.
A protective dog collar can be simple and as comfortable as possible, like this DIY towel collar shows. You only need an old towel that lies around unused for this project. Towel collars are a popular and comfortable alternative to traditional dog cones.
There are still other soft and comfortable collars you can purchase if making your own is tasking.
The materials that you require for the DIY project include
- Duct tape
- Soft and thick towel
- A plate of treats to keep the pet busy
The size of the towel should be sufficient to cover your dog’s neck. Fold it three times lengthwise and wrap it around the dog’s neck. Be cautious not to make it too constricted and uncomfortable, and then use duct tape to secure it.
For a plate of treats, peanut butter works exceptionally well to keep the dog’s attention occupied.
Bucket Cone Collar
The DIY bucket cone collar is another easy dog cone collar you can try at home. You need a pail or a bucket to complete this project. But unlike the other projects in this list, plan it carefully.
The first task is to find the right bucket size for your dog.
You will need:
- A sturdy knife to cut through the bucket
- Tape measure
- Tape and
Cutting a hole through the bucket is usually an uphill task since you need a sturdy and careful knife grip. But everything else is simple.
Exert some force, but take plenty of care. Your dog collar will give you a pretty good idea of how much to cut, but also remember to leave some allowance for the dog’s ears. Use a sharp knife and don’t be in a hurry. The bucket will have sharp edges that may hurt the dog, and it’s crucial to sand them down.
The skill level for this dog cone collar is moderate because of the challenging part of cutting through the bucket. Saving grace? This is one of the sturdiest cone collars that will last until the stitches or surgery heals.
Pool Noodle Collar
A dog cone DIY project couldn’t be as easy as this e-collar using pool noodles. It resembles an oversized beaded necklace for medium and large canines.
All the materials needed will be lying around the house or are easy to source.
You will need:
- Tape measure
- A knife or scissors
- An extra collar, belt, thick twine
- Pool noodle
Making the pool noodle collar is extremely easy, and you only need to adjust a few things here and there to fit your canine. It will only take you approximately 12 to 15 minutes to complete the project.
Use the tape measure to determine the neck circumference and do the same for the twine. Cut it to the length of the dog’s neck plus three extra inches. This is the size of a collar. But you are still free to use the dog’s collar and skip the twine.
Cut the noodle into smaller sections using a serrated knife, and loop them through the collar or the twine. Buckle the collar or tie the twine when the noodles are full.
Some people prefer longer pool noodles, while others are more comfortable with smaller sections. The choice is yours here.
A pliable e-collar is lightweight and comfortable on the dog, and you can use it on the cats as well.
What you need:
- A flexible plastic material or foam rubber
- Hole punch
- A pair of scissors
The good thing about the pliable e-collar is the short time you take to construct it. This can be before the pet causes significant injuries to themselves. All the materials you need are easy to source.
Paper Plate E-Collar
Paper plate e-collars are excellent for puppies. They are straightforward to make and shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes.
What you need:
- A sharp knife
- Paper plate
Cut a small hole at the center of the paper plate, wide enough for the pup, and pass it through its head. The good thing about this paper plate cone is that the puppy will not be uncomfortable through the wound healing process.
Neck Pillow Collar
You have probably used neck pillows when traveling out of the state or town, and you know how comfortable they are. They make great e-collars for your recovering pup.
The air content inside the neck pillow will restrict head movement and prevent licking or biting the various parts of the dog’s body. DIY dog neck pillow collars are easier to construct compared to the traditional cone of shame, and you are sure the dog is as comfortable as possible, especially when taking a snooze.
What you need:
- A neck pillow
- A sewing thread
There aren’t many adjustments needed on the neck pillow. Just fold and sew as is necessary, depending on the size of the neck.
The benefit of the neck pillow collar is comfort and reduced risk of knocking over things in the house. It is also not painful if you happen to run into the dog by mistake. This can be a painful experience with other materials such as plastic.
Butter Tub Collar
A DIY butter tub cone comes in handy when your dog has an injured body part. It is pretty easy to make and will not take a lot of your time.
You will need:
- A marker
- Butter container
- Knife or scissors
You will need first to make sure the butter tub fits nicely on your dog’s neck. Use a tape measure. Carefully bulge a hole through the container and fit it on your dog’s neck.
Typically, the butter tub is lightweight, and you will not need to add any protection as you’d do with plastic dog cones. Sand down any sharp edges.
Egg Crate Collar
The egg crate collar resembles the towel collar discussed above. The only difference is the material used and that the egg crate collar lasts longer than the towel collar. Instead of a towel, use a soft foam egg crate, and the dog will not chew it off.
This project only requires a few minutes to complete. But for first-timers, the construction method may be a bit difficult and may take longer.
You will need:
- Tape measure
- Needle and thread
- Velcro strips
- Egg crate
The project needs some sewing skills to work on the velcro strips. It shouldn’t be too hard if you are comfortable with the needle and thread. The velcro strips will make the collar easy to wear and take off.
Use the scissors to cut the egg crate to the correct size, and use a similar length of felt material to cover the egg crate. Add a couple of the velcro strips.
1. What can I use instead of a dog cone of shame?
The Elizabethan collar offers the best wound licking and biting protection, but it is not the only method you can use. There are still other options, such as the inflatable collar you can purchase online. Make sure you get the proper measurements. However, the inflatables may not be ideal for the thin-necked and long-nosed canines such as dachshunds and greyhounds.
Use bandages and surgical tape instead of the cone of shame. Cover bandages with surgical tape and don’t hesitate to stick directly to the skin or the hair. Surgical tape easily comes off when soaked in surgical spirit.
Change the bandages regularly as advised, and contact your vet if there is soreness or swelling.
Similarly, anti-lick sprays and strips applied directly to the wound are also great options. Their odors are pretty uncomfortable to the noses of the pet, and so they avoid it.
2. How do you make a homemade dog cone?
You can use various things such as cloth, towel, plastic flower pot, and butter tub that you find lying around in the house as DIY e-collar. Use a bit of creativity to make sure the cone of shame is practical and comfortable for your dog. Check the above ideas.
3. How do you keep a dog from licking a wound without a cone?
Various techniques such as scattering or hiding biscuits all over will distract the dog. They will work hard to find the treats and forget to lick the wounds for some time.
You can also teach the pooch some tricks because mental activity is engaging and is as tiring as physical activities.
4. Can I put a shirt on my dog instead of a cone?
Putting a t-shirt on your dog prevents licking and allows the wound to breathe and heal faster. It is, therefore, a great dog cone alternative.