5 Comfy Alternatives to The Dreaded Cone of Shame - Plus Review of the Inflatable Dog Collar

Updated on July 31, 2016
Help me out of this thing!
Help me out of this thing! | Source

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 its sometimes also called. Its 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 felt poorly or if he was mainly concerned about wearing 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 pro's and con's.

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 either 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 dreaded cone of shame amplifies sounds and shields your dog's peripheral vision
The dreaded cone of shame amplifies sounds and shields your dog's peripheral vision | Source

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 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.

The Soft Comfy Doughnut Collar
The Soft Comfy Doughnut Collar | Source
This is what the collar look like before its been inflated - the core is inflatable and the outer cover is made from a sort of slobber proof material...
This is what the collar look like before its been inflated - the core is inflatable and the outer cover is made from a sort of slobber proof material... | Source
Inflatable Dog Collar - attach it with velcro straps, or add your dog's own collar for added security
Inflatable Dog Collar - attach it with velcro straps, or add your dog's own collar for added security | Source

Reviewing 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.

Where there really no problems with this collar I hear you ask?

Can the inflatable cone pass the peanut butter on paw test?
Can the inflatable cone pass the peanut butter on paw test? | Source
This collar is clearly not so good for paw injuries as he can easily lick of all the yummy peanut butter!
This collar is clearly not so good for paw injuries as he can easily lick of all the yummy peanut butter! | Source

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

(click column header to sort results)
Elizabethan Collar  
Inflatable 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
The more stars the better the collar is!

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.

What's Your Experience? Take the Poll!

What Type of Protective Collar Would you Recommend to a Friend?

See results
Many Dogs seem to find the Cone more Depressing than their Injuries...
Many Dogs seem to find the Cone more Depressing than their Injuries... | Source

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Chris 3 months ago

        I'm looking for a cone for a dog with a corneal ulcer. Can they rub their eye with the inflatable cone?

      • profile image

        bridget 12 months ago

        Ugh huh I haven't been able to leave my 15 yr old poodles side for more than 10 mins.he has severe skin issues and he bites at his back,legs,between his legs,pretty much everywhere not to mention he has anixty and we have moved around alot due to my personal issues,anyways I bought the dreaded cone at the local pet shop but he can still get to his skin and cause problems with hot spots.I need a better alternative..HE NEED ONE THAT WORKS..HELP PLEASE

      • profile image

        Paula 14 months ago

        We bought the inflatable collar . Our dog got out of it constantly . Finally chewed it up while we were at work . That was an expensive lesson , after her spaying . The soft one flip back and she can reach the stitches . We are trying boxer shorts and a belt . Finally , the plastic cone is the only solution sorry people I know it's a pain , for all but it will keep them from biting their stitches . It's only a week .

      • profile image

        Pup Pup Kitty 17 months ago

        Kelly be careful with the donuts that are filled with air… The number one complaint is that they leak and pop. Our donuts are filled with foam which provides added comfort, the weight helps keep your pet as calm as possible in an already stressful situation and pet parents don't have to worry about coming home from work, waking up in the morning or anytime your pet is unattended and finding them with a deflated doughnut around their neck serving no purpose at all. Also with allergeries being a reoccurring issue I would suggest purchasing a product that is going to last so that you were always prepared and your cat is safe and comfortable . Visit www.puppupkitty.com for more information & use code PETHELPFUL at checkout for 15% of!

      • profile image

        Kelly 17 months ago

        Actually, your review if the inflatable collar is helpful for me. My 10yo cat has allergies, and has licked his chin/chest area pretty raw. While I've been working on getting the allergies under control (with the help of another nifty device, a pill popper, or shooter), he still has raw areas that he's licking due to dry skin. It looks like that pillow would sit right on top of that area, keeping him from making those patches worse while we're waiting for the Zyrtec to take over. And if it leads to more naps, all the better. Thanks for your reviews.

      • profile image

        Pup Pup Kitty 18 months ago

        Want to keep your pet safe AND comfortable while healing? We have you covered! Whether your pet is recovering from intensive surgery, battling a hot spot or whatever the issue might be the Pup Pup Kitty Premium Protective product line is just what you need! We improved upon the cone & donut as well as created a Collar Kit for pets with long noses, long necks, long legs and/or long bodies, easily accessible problem areas and surgeries requiring a prolonged healing period. Visit PupPupKitty.com today & use code PETHELPFUL for 15% off!

      • profile image

        Lune 20 months ago

        Thanks for the advise. This means that the dog can still reach the incision site if spayed/neutered?

      • profile image

        info@puppupkitty.com 22 months ago

        Ben is it the 3m cone that has the Velcro? I really like the idea of them but it fell short on the type of plastic (it can shatter), the binding around the neck is crazy hard, lacking binding on the outside edge and no way to attach to a collar. Email me at info@puppupkitty.com and I can go over a few alternatives. Our comfy collar (the donut) is filled with foam so you do not have to worry about it popping or losing air.

      • profile image

        Ben 22 months ago

        We have used 3m transparent e-collars. They are rigid but she can see through it. I was looking for something more comfortable, but as this review states, these cushion based units are not too reliable.

      • profile image

        Olivia 2 years ago

        given the hard plastic collar by the vet and stayed up all night with him crying. Finally took it off and sprayed his paws, put socks on him and put tape at the top of his legs. We went to sleep and in the morning found he had removed the socks and was licking his paws.

        Went to pet store and bought Remedy Recovery soft inflatable collar in size S because the M was too large around the neck. Inflated it and brought him home wearing it. He was very happy but quickly sat down and began licking his paws WITH THE COLLAR ON! BTW he is M terrier, 16.6# and 19" long, 15" high not a BIG dog but not a top either

      • profile image

        bobby239 3 years ago

        ive used the traditional, tried the inflatable one and finally went with the soft procone. for obvious reasons we hated the traditional, the inflatable one my dog could still lick most parts of his body. the soft cone is a little droopy but does work. they may not be able to see through it but its not like they could see great out of the traditional ones either. its nice not hearing it whack all the doorways as well

      • profile image

        Donna Webster 3 years ago

        I ha a Lhasa apso who has ulcers in both of his eyes He has a plastic cone which he hates. I need something to keep him from rubbing his eyes. He has short legs. Which collar w you advise me getting? The plastic cone scares him when he walks. He just stands there I have t carry him everywhere he weighs about 26 lbs. Can u help?

      • profile image

        Inflatable Collar 5 years ago

        Really Good Collection of collar and today i get the more info about collar so i impress this collar.

      • Linda Bliss profile image

        Linda Liebrand 6 years ago from San Francisco

        Thanks for popping by Patricia! Good to hear that the inflatable collar worked for your dogs, what breeds are they? I have a pet theory that perhaps the inflatable collar works better for smaller breeds?

      • profile image

        Patricia Logan 6 years ago

        I have found the the inflatable collar works really well if you are trying to keep a dog from chewing on his back. I have dealt with dogs with horrible allergies for years who have to wear an e-collar on a near constant basis. The inflatable collar kept them from being able to chew on their backs. Cute dog by the way!

      • natures47friend profile image

        natures47friend 6 years ago from Sunny Art Deco Napier, New Zealand.

        Great well researched hub. Dogs do seem miserable with those shameful collars on. Don't think we ever needed one. Voted up , interesting and awesome.

      • Linda Bliss profile image

        Linda Liebrand 6 years ago from San Francisco

        Sometimes they are just too clever for their own good! :-)

      • profile image

        Julesmelfi 6 years ago

        It figures that the comfy one was too good to be true :) My dog was able to get past the traditional e-collar when she was chewing on her tail . . so 24 hour surveillance was the only alternative!

      • Linda Bliss profile image

        Linda Liebrand 6 years ago from San Francisco

        Oh he is a very good dog indeed, thank you :o)

      • Linda Bliss profile image

        Linda Liebrand 6 years ago from San Francisco

        Thank you Eddy!

      • Eiddwen profile image

        Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

        Such a great read;interesing and useful

        Take care;


      • jodan-lewis profile image

        jodan-lewis 6 years ago from Gatineau

        i like your dog it good.