Every dog is unique in how they'll react to wearing a cone, blow-up collar, or surgical suit.
The hard plastic e-collar (Elizabethan collar) that most veterinarians provide is what has historically worked best at keeping dogs from gaining access to their wounds or skin issues. But a lot of new products have come onto the market in the past few years that are good cone alternatives.
Every dog's physical shape is different, too, so some solutions won't work effectively on every dog. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend a solution that's appropriate for your dog, but our veterinary team has pulled together a few great options to consider.
Each solution needs to be fitted properly and used according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Similar to an airplane pillow (and perhaps just as comfortable!), the idea behind these designs is to decrease your dog’s ability to turn their neck and, therefore, limit their access to their surgical site, similar to if a person were to wear a neck brace.
Note: The width of the collar matters. The larger the dog, the larger the collar needs to be to prevent them from accessing their wounds.
You want a collar with plush and non-irritating fabric.
Get a collar that has some sort of filling, foam, or bladder that isn’t easily broken from your dog’s nails or a quick chomp. Look for ones that are scratch or bite-resistant is ideal.
It must be inflated appropriately, or it won’t be effective.
The Velcro® closure, buckle, or snap must be snug, secure, and adjustable so that your dog can’t push it off their head.
A machine-washable collar that comes in a variety of sizes.
Machine-washable inflatable cone alternative that comes in three sizes.
This collar comes in four sizes. The outer cover is removable for hand-washing.
This collar comes in six sizes. The outer cover is removable for hand-washing.
The waterproof fabric of this soft cone is filled with microfiber cotton.
Some dogs just don’t tolerate a plastic cone because of its lack of flexibility and heavier feel. But they need a collar that extends well past their nose to prevent them from reaching the off-limit site. This is where a soft collar may be helpful.
Be sure that the cone fits snuggly around your dog’s neck, but loose enough you can fit two fingers between their neck and the collar. After placing it, you can gently tug it forward to be sure it is on snug enough.
The collar must extend past the tip of your dog’s nose, about 2 inches, when the collar is resting as far back as possible on the neck.
Be sure not to purchase a soft cone that is too soft. If the cone is too soft, it will not hold its shape, resulting in their vision being blocked or them being able to reach their off-limit site.
All Four Paws' soft cone comes in two colors and various sizes. They have sizes for small dogs and cats, too.
Pliable fabric and a collar drawstring allow for easy adjusting.
Surgical suits are designed to cover your dog’s body in order to protect the surgical site from infection and potential injury.
Their use is most ideal for wounds, hot spots, bandage protection, or the latter half of incision healing.
Preventive Vet dog Finnegan is sporting his Suitical surgical suit after he wore the cone given by his veterinarian for the first 7 days (seen in the photo at the top of this page) after his neuter procedure; then he wore the suit for another week.
It is important to choose the right size. If the suit is too small, it will cause discomfort and possibly injury. If the suit is too big, your dog may be able to get to the off-limit site, or the suit may get caught on furniture or other items. Make sure to measure your dog as per the manufacturer's guidelines.
Select a suit with fabric that is soft, breathable, durable, and washable.
It is made of breathable fabric that is machine washable. From 3XS to 2XL, there's a size for almost any dog.
Made of stretchy cotton, it comes in seven sizes and three colors.
As with surgical suits, these sleeves provide protection for off-limit sites from infection and injury. Off-limit sites on the legs can be easily irritated when dogs get up and down or when sleeping. These sleeves are most helpful for dogs so they don’t lick or chew at an off-limit site located on their legs.
Be sure to get the right size for your dog.
Be sure to order the sleeve for the correct leg (left versus right, front versus back)
Be sure to purchase one that has soft, durable, breathable, and waterproof fabric.
You want a sleeve that can be secured to your dog’s body so that they cannot easily remove it.
Available directly from Lick Sleeve®, the manufacturer.
When you just need a plastic collar, but you want your dog to be more comfortable and be able to see well.
Hot spots – If you catch them early you can save your dog a lot of discomfort and yourself a lot of trouble. Here are some tips that will help you at home.