No dog enjoys wearing a cone. Unfortunately, in most post-operative cases, the cone is necessary and prevents our dogs from biting at their stitches. The most common type of cone dogs wear after a surgery or treatment is the ‘e-collar’ or the Elizabethan collar. The Elizabethan collar was named for its resemblance to the Renaissance era style in women’s dress fashion, which was started by Queen Elizabeth I of England. 

Very rarely can a dog go without a cone post-surgery. With these tips for using a cone, the staff at East Valley Animal Hospital hope to help make the experience a little less stressful. Here’s how to make a dog cone more comfortable. 

1. Keep the Cone On

The first step in how to make a dog cone more comfortable is to keep it on. It might be tempting to take the cone off every time you see your dog struggle. But it is best to be consistent and strict with the cone in order to help them adjust to wearing it and to protect them post-surgery. Only remove it sparingly when absolutely necessary. Most dogs will eventually learn how to maneuver and get along just fine with their cone. A little extra encouragement by way of attention can help your dog feel a little less worried about the contraption around their head. 

2. Eating, Drinking and Sleeping 

One of the biggest difficulties dogs and their owners face in learning how to make a dog cone more comfortable is making eating, drinking, and sleeping as easy as possible. The cone can certainly make these tasks more difficult, but they are entirely possible with the cone on. If they are having difficulty with a deep bowl you can help them out by using a shallow bowl and by steadying it while he eats or drinks. Make sure that their water is in a very accessible space, away from cabinets or walls that might prevent your dog from being able to drink freely when they want. If your dog typically sleeps in a kennel, guiding them in and out may help prevent them from getting stuck in a tough position. 

3. Make Extra Space

When your dog is wearing a cone, navigation, even around familiar places like your home can be tricky. In addition to their vision being impaired by the cone, your dog probably isn’t aware of how much extra space they need to move around. One way to help them adjust is to remove any unnecessary obstacles in your home. By doing simple things like pushing chairs in, or putting away large items like the vacuum, your home becomes an easier space for your dog to move around in. Rather than let your dog wander into a wall or doorframe, you can gently guide them toward the center of openings and through hallways, this way they can start to learn to navigate on their own. 

4. Try An Alternative

The traditional cone you get from the vet may not always be the best fit for your dog. Fortunately, there are more options now! Some dogs manage well with a cone and will stand the extra nuisance for a few days. Other dogs may become depressed or detest wearing the cone and take every opportunity to get rid of it. There are several alternatives to the typical e-collar, such as a soft cone or an inflatable e-collar. Regardless of what you use, make sure it properly prevents your dog from scratching or licking themselves and that it is correctly fitted for their size.

Have Patience

Regardless of what type of cone you use, or how easy you make navigation and eating for your dog, they will likely still be somewhat uncomfortable in their cone. This is normal, and it’s best to be patient because usually, they won’t have to wear the cone long term if they are healing properly. However, if the cone is becoming an area of concern, check with the post-op vet for more advice. 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. To schedule an appointment, call 480-568-2462 or contact us online.


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