5 Comfy Alternatives to the Dreaded Cone of Shame, and a Review of the Inflatable Dog Collar
The Dreaded 'Cone of Shame'
Our dog recently had an accident damaging his dew claw and he needed a procedure to have it cut all the way to the quick. As we had planned on having him neutered for some time already (and the prospect of keeping a hyper active dog on the lead for two separate week’s recuperation wasn’t very tempting), we decided to kill two birds with one stone.
This meant there were two areas our dog was not allowed to lick for the coming week —his right front paw and his genital area. And all dog owners will know just how easy a challenge like that can be!
The Elizabethan Collar
When we picked him up at the vets we were handed the obligatory Elizabethan collar, or E-collar as it's sometimes also called. It's the one that looks like a lamp shade or a cone and goes on the dog’s neck. All dogs I’ve ever known hate them.
We were told we could supervise our dog during the day, but that he would have to wear the cone at night to stop him from licking his wounds and bandages. He hated the cone straight away and didn’t sleep one wink the first night—he just kept whining until we took the cone off in the morning.
This made me wonder whether he was uncomfortable from surgery or if he was just distressed by the cone. A fellow writer on Hubpages suggested an inflatable collar and I also found four other alternatives to the cone:
5 Comfy Alternatives to The E-Collar
These are the five alternatives to the traditional E-collars that I researched. Each come with their own pros and cons.
1. Soft E-Collar
These look exactly like the classic E-collars, but they are made from a softer, more comfortable material.
They are not strong enough to prevent a very persistent or intense lickers from reaching their targets, but can provide a comfortable alternative for most pets.
2. Bite Not Collars
These bite not collars look a little like the neck brace humans patients might wear after a whiplash injury.
They prevent your dog from bending his neck and reaching his wounds, and are really effective and relatively comfortable, although probably not the best choice for dogs with fat necks like pugs, or long haired dogs like the Bearded Collies.
3. Kong E-Collars
These collars look a lot like the classic Elizabethan collars, but they are transparent which will make your dog’s life a whole lot more comfortable.
4. Anti Lick Spray
Some people claim these bitter tasting sprays work for their dogs, but I have tried three different brands on my dog back when he was teething and he didn’t seem to take notice of any of them.
5. The Inflatable Collar
This is the alternative I chose to order, and I have reviewed the product in more detail below. Watch out for the peanut butter test!
The Traditional Elizabethan Collar: ‘The Dreaded Cone of Shame’
Let's first have a look at the traditional E-Collar which is the protective collar that most vets recommend after your pet has had surgery. They are made from hard wearing plastic and are often opaque, looking a bit like your dog is wearing a lampshade.
- The cone was easy to attach around our dog’s neck, and completely prevented him from licking any part of his body.
- It restricted his peripheral vision to the extent that he kept bumping into things
- He became more sensitive to any sounds coming from outside the house - I can only assume the cone amplified the sounds.
- The cone got in the way of interacting with the dog. He kept slamming the cone into my legs and face, which got really annoying after a while.
- The cone seemed to depress him, he whined the entire first night he wore it and he couldn’t relax or find a comfy position for sleeping.
- The cone would snap open and fall off when he bumped into something while running.
- He avoided his water bowl for as long as the cone stayed on.
- Vomiting in the cone became a very messy business.
Review of the Inflatable Collar
The inflatable collar is a doughnut shaped version with an inflatable core and a durable cover. It straps on with a velcro strap, and you have the option of attaching it to your dog’s collar for extra security. They look a bit like the sort of pillow you buy and use for a long haul flight.
They come in many different makes and colours, but the brand I chose was easy to inflate and attach.
- After an initial sniffing, my dog didn’t seem to notice the collar was there and he completely ignored it.
- He quickly found a comfy spot and fell asleep, the collar seemed to act like a comfy pillow.
- Although he ran into things with this collar too, the impact was cushioned and didn’t seem to bother him at all.
- The blow up collar is less intrusive, allowing you to cuddle and stroke your dog as usual.
- His peripheral vision and hearing were not impacted to the same extent as with the cone, and he seemed much calmer wearing the inflatable collar.
- He could drink and pick up his toys freely and without problems.
The Peanut Butter on Paw Test
As soon as I saw my dog wearing the inflatable collar I wondered if it could really prevent him from reaching and licking his paw and bum. It looked way too soft and comfortable so I decided to put it through the peanut butter test! I smeared a little peanut butter on my dog’s front paw, sat back and watched him lick it all up within seconds.
I could only assume that either my dog has a very long tongue, or this type of collar is not great for paw injuries. But I wasn't going to give up just yet.
The more important job of the collar would be to stop him from ripping the stitches in his genital area. I will spare you from seeing the photos, but lets just say that he could reach the peanut butter there just as easily as he could anywhere else on his body!
All in all this collar was a very comfortable alternative to the cone, but only if you're looking for a floating device or travel pillow. It didn't actually stop my dog from licking any part of his body!
I was of course very disappointed with this result as I've seen other dog owners raving about how good this collar can be, but can only assume that my dog is either too flexible or long tongued for this type of collar.
Review Summary - The Cone vs. The Doughnut Collar
Comfort - will your dog like wearing it?
Safety - Will it stay on?
The Peanut Butter Test - Lickability
Cuddles - Can you reach?
Bumping into things
I hope you found this review useful and that it helped you find an alternative to the dreaded cone of shame.
I would really recommend buying and trying out these alternatives before your dog needs surgery, or has an accident.
That way you can be sure you have found the most comfortable option for your pooch, and he will be used to wearing it before he really needs to.
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.