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The  Elizabethan collar, also known by lots of doggies as the cone of shame, was named for its resemblance to the Renaissance era style in women’s dress fashion, which was started by Queen Elizabeth I of England. Unfortunately, in most post-operative cases, the cone is a necessary evil that prevents our furry friends from biting at their stitches. With these tips for using an Elizabethan collar (e-collar), we hope to help make the dog cone a little more comfortable for Fido. 

1. Keep the Cone On

It might be tempting to take the e-collar off every time you see your pup struggle. But the general rule of thumb is to be strict with the cone in order to help him adjust to wearing it. Only remove it sparingly when absolutely necessary. Most dogs will eventually learn how to maneuver and get along just fine with their cone. 

2. Eating, Drinking and Sleeping 

One of the biggest difficulties dogs and their owners face when dealing with an e-collar is how to make eating, drinking and sleeping as easy as possible. The cone will certainly impact the ease with which he can accomplish these simple tasks, but they are entirely possible with the e-collar on. One important factor is getting a properly sized cone where the tip of your dog’s nose can still poke out just a little. His head won’t reach the bowl like normal, but his tongue can do the rest of the work. If he’s having difficulty with a deep bowl you can help him out by using a shallow bowl and by steadying the bowl while he eats or drinks. You can expect there to be a bit more clean up during this period. 

3. Make Extra Space

It’s part sad and part humorous to watch our pups run into literally everything in sight while wearing their cones. They’re just not used to the new dimensions of their head. One way to help them adjust is to remove any unnecessary obstacles in your home. Rather than let your dog wander into a wall, person or doorframe, you can gently guide him toward the center of openings and through hallways.

4. Give Him Lots of Exercise

It’s recommended to avoid dog parks or letting your dog out unsupervised while he is recovering from surgery and wearing his e-collar. But that doesn’t mean he can’t get lots of exercise, with approval from your vet of course. By taking your dog on extra long walks you can wear him out so that he’ll have less energy to run around the house bumping into lamps, tables and other furniture. 

What can you do if your dog hates his collar?

Some dogs manage well with an e-collar and will stand the extra nuisance for a few days. Other dogs may become depressed or detest wearing the collar and take every opportunity to get rid of it. If your dog hates his collar, make sure it’s not too tight on his neck. It could be that it’s choking him. You should be able to easily put two fingers between the edge of the collar and your dog’s coat. If your dog is still experiencing problems with his cone after you’ve done everything you can to make it comfortable, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. They may be able to offer some safe alternatives. 

Vet in Gilbert, AZ

If you’re looking for a compassionate vet in the Gilbert, AZ area, give us a call at East Valley Animal Hospital. We pride ourselves on having respectful, caring interactions with our clients and their pets. And we’ll do everything we can to make your pet’s visit as comfortable as possible. 


Image by Allison Peterson from Pixabay (3/10/2020)