The cone of shame, more properly known as an Elizabethan collar or an e-collar, is one of those devices that you’ll only have to break out when your dog isn’t at his or her best. It’s incredibly important for your dog’s recovery after surgery and other medical procedures, but it’s not uncommon for both you and your dog to feel awful every time the cone rears its ugly head.
The great news is that it’s easier than ever to find an alternative to the ever-present cone. There are plenty of new bits of gear that can help your dog heal up while still keeping him or her under control, all while avoiding the usual cone problems. If you’re looking to help out your furry pal, one of these alternatives may be for you.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind When Looking At Dog Cone Alternatives
Before you jump into shopping, you should try to make sure that you actually know what you need. The alternatives at which you are looking all serve specific purposes, and you need to know precisely what your dog needs. As such, you’ll want to pay attention to a few factors when choosing your cone alternative.
The best place to start is with the reason why your dog is wearing the collar. What are you trying to stop your dog from doing? Where is the wound located, and how can you stop your dog from getting there? There are definitely products made that help to keep your dog from going after specific body parts, so keep this in mind.
You’ll also want to think about what your dog doesn’t like about the typical cone. Is it the sounds that it makes? Is it the fact that it cuts off his or her vision? Are you dealing with mobility problems, or is your dog just not a fan of having something on his or her neck? These are, for the most part, all issues for which you can find special products, so make sure you know what you need ahead of time.
Finally, make sure you think about your dog in particular. You know what your dog can destroy, get out of, or otherwise render unusable so don’t buy those products. While reviews are great, only you know what your dog can and cannot handle.
Alternatives to the Cone of Shame
Kong Cloud Collar
This is one of the more common alternatives, with an inflatable center that creates a pillow around your dog’s neck. It’s a great alternative to the typical cone for those dogs who tend to bump into things quite a bit, though clever dogs can definitely worth their way around this product. If you are the kind of owner who keeps a careful eye on his or her pup, though, you might find that this one works quite well for you.
- Doesn’t reduce mobility
- No vision blocking
- Bounces off of hard surfaces
- Can be washed in a washing machine
- Dogs still can’t lower heads all the way down
- Doesn’t always restrict movement enough
- Relatively easy to deflate or escape
Inflatable Protective Dog Collar
It’s fairly easy to consider this one as the generic version of the Kong collar, but the inclusion of a chest strap is actually a bit of a game-changer. This helps to make it much harder for the dog to get the device off his or her neck, thus making it much more useful for dogs who tend to be escape artists.
This also means, though, that it has virtually all of the same strengths and weaknesses and the Kong collar. While your dog might be less prone to taking off this one, there are still some very real issues with the basic design.
The BiteNot Collar
The BiteNote Collar is a clever device that stops your dog from bending his or her neck. This stops your dog from being able to bite at most of his or her body, which can make healing much easier on both you and your dog. Adjustable and relatively easy to use, this collar is hard to pull off and does a solid job of protecting most of your dog’s body.
- Doesn’t block your dog’s vision
- Not as bulky as an e-collar
- Easy to eat and drink in
- Allows your dog to lay his or her head down
- No protection for your dog’s face, lower back legs, or tail
- A collar can definitely stress out some dogs
- Has to be sized exactly to prevent chafing
Suitical Recovery Suit
If you’re looking for a radical alternative to the e-collar, the Suitical Recovery Suit might be your best bet. This is actually a fabric ‘suit’ that goes over your dog’s torso, with breathable fabric that can still allow your dog’s healing wounds to breathe. It’s fairly easy to get on and off your dog, with easy snaps that you can use when your dog needs to use the bathroom.
The main frustration here is that the suit is a little flimsy. If your dog really wants to destroy this product, there’s little you can do to stop him or her.
- Very light
- Doesn’t inhibit movement
- No vision block
- Easy for most dogs to wear
- Strong chewers can get through this one quick
- Only protects the torso
Suitical Recovery Sleeve
Suitical does have another product that’s a little easier to use. The Recovery Sleeve actually fits over your dog’s leg, allowing him or her a full range of movement without requiring you to put anything else on the rest of the dog’s body. This takes away most of the options that your dog has for getting at his or her leg wounds while still giving him or her the protection that he or she really needs to heal.
- Only covers the leg wound
- Doesn’t stop your dog from moving, eating, drinking, or sleeping
- Only covers a single front leg
After Surgery Wear Hip and Thigh Recovery Sleeve
While the Recovery Sleeve is great, it only works on the front legs. This product is one that will cover your dog’s rear leg or his or her hip, doing the same job as the products above but in a different area. Adjustable and relatively pleasant for your dog, it’s a good fit for those who just can’t stand to have something more substantial on their bodies.
- Only covers the wounded area
- Doesn’t stop your dog from moving, eating, or drinking
- Only protects a single rear leg
POPforPETS Dog Post Operation Protection Shirt
This recovery suit covers only your dog’s torso and front legs, allowing him or her to go to the bathroom without requiring your help. This is a great suit for those who have front leg or torso injuries, of course, though the overall coverage is pretty limited.
- No movement or vision restrictions
- Dogs can go to the bathroom without your help
- Not great for dogs who really want to get the suit off
- Only covers the dog’s front legs and torso
Original Comfy Cone by All Four Paws
Sometimes you just need a more comfortable version of the traditional e-collar. This version of the product is a soft, foam version of the classic, which provides plenty of protection without being quite as rough when your dog walks into walls. The collar can also be rolled back when your dog eats or drinks, giving him or her a bit more freedom.
- Soft and padded
- Can be rolled back for dogs to eat and drink
- Still has all of the mobility and vision issues of the classic cone
Alfie Pet Recovery Collar
This is a fairly cute alternative to the classic e-collar, but it largely functions the same way as the collar above. This is great for dogs who get scared by the loud noises of collars hitting walls or furniture, but it still carries with it all of the same negative issues that come with using a cone. With that said, there are many who would prefer that their dogs use a product that’s at least a bit more pet-friendly.
Alfie Pet Soft Recovery Collar
Another product from Alfie, this one is a bit more flexible and bendable. That means it’s lighter and a little easier on your dog, but it does still have all of the negative baggage that comes with any of the different cones that you might find out there.
What to Remember When Shopping for a Cone Alternative
While it’s important to remember all of the various factors that go into your dog’s needs when choosing a collar, there are also some great shopping tips that can make it much easier for you to find a collar alternative that really works for your dog. The most important, though, is to read the directions for the product.
No matter how good the product might be, it’s not going to work for your dog if you choose to use it in a manner other than that which was intended by the manufacturer. Pay careful attention to how the device is meant to be used and don’t try to force it to work if there’s a problem with how it fits on your dog.
You should also make sure that you spend some time looking through reviews before you buy. While there’s a lot of work that goes into making these devices, some of the things that work well in testing don’t work so well with real dogs. As such, getting advice from real dog owners can help you to make sure that you’re making the right choice before you start spending money.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What can I use instead of a dog cone?
There are plenty of great products that you can use instead of a cone. There are inflatable pillows that can go around your dog’s neck, for example, that will keep him or her from biting and scratching. There are also special suits and covers that will ensure that your dog’s wound can still breathe even while it stops your dog from touching the problem area. Either choice can work well for your dog.
2. How do you keep a dog from licking a wound without a cone?
Depending on the location of the wound, you might want to think about getting a breathable wound cover. These covers allow oxygen to get to your wound so that it can keep healing, but they stop your dog from being able to bite or scratch at the wound. These products can be better for some dogs than a cone, as they do still allow your dog to retain most of his or her mobility while wearing the cover.
3. Can I put a shirt on my dog instead of a cone?
This isn’t as good an idea you might think. If your dog is wearing a cone because of a surgery wound, that wound has to be kept open to the air for a reason. Failure to allow your dog’s wound to breathe can cause problems with healing, which could set your dog’s progress back significantly. As such, you definitely shouldn’t put clothes on your dog instead of a collar unless the issues you’re trying to fix don’t involve letting a wound heal.
4. How do you make a homemade cone for a dog?
Making your own cone requires two things – a collar and a firm but flexible sheet of plastic. You’ll want to make sure that the plastic is large enough that it can go around your dog’s head and that it will go past his or her snout, while still strong enough to withstand biting and scratching. Simply bend the sheet into a cone that’s a bit larger than the size of your dog’s neck, with the larger part of the cone sticking outwards. Attach this to the collar to make your own e-collar.