Updated by Sheryl on Dec 13, 2021
Elizabethan cones become a dog's worst enemy after surgery had been taken on dogs. They look stressful and we wonder how do dogs eat with a cone around their head, but we can barely comprehend the trouble they are going through. The least we could do is garner the different musings dog owners around the world have about their dogs wearing the 'cones of shame' and offer practical advice to help their dogs feel more comfortable. We discuss the following FAQs in an attempt to solve the problems of dogs wearing e-cones, through the lenses of their owners.
In general, dog won't keep cone on because zoomies become an impossible feat and tail-hunting is off the bounds too with a cone. A dog wearing a cone has nothing decent to do - no running, no chewing on everything, no fun with the other pets, no tail-catching, no playing outside - it is dreadful. How would you feel if you couldn't access any of your fun electronics post-surgery and have to wear weight on your limbs!
Vision, hearing, and mobility are lowered by e-collars while medications, the remoteness of food, water, and toys make things worse.
If you have got at least a couple of days ahead of you, it should not be a problem. A week would be ideal. Ask your vet about the right type of cone for your situation and bring it home asap. Let the dog be accustomed to seeing it close at first.
Different sizes of dog cones are available. The edge should be 3 to 4 inches from the nose, ideally. But the measurements can change vastly as per the dog's size and needs. If you are planning to trim down the edges of the cone yourself, make sure that you are using a sharp pair of scissors, that the edges end up even, and to make the trimmed edges blunt.
Putting an e-collar on an energetic dog can be a difficult task by itself, especially if you have not got the time to get them accustomed. If your dog needs to wear a cone with no plan in advance, have the vet's office help you get it on. Some dogs may be fine with waking up with a cone around them than having to wear it for the first time when the medicines have hazed their heads.
There is a willingness exercise that has helped several owners. Start by holding the cone open and at the height of their neck. If the dog is curious to investigate this weird 'frisbee/chew toy', let him. Reward him with treats if he is cooperating fast.
After a day of familiarizing them with the object, start bringing it around their neck to see how they are taking it. Do not expect instant acceptance, as dogs are sensitive about their necks and would not like having something so big around it all of a sudden. But progress is certain with patience.
Use treats to reward them for each positive step. After a good level of progress have them wear the cone for a while. Let them wear the cone for longer each time and they will be used to it in no time.
Dog won't keep the cone on despite all efforts? Do not hesitate to ask the veterinarian. The internet cannot know the personality of your dog, but your regular vet can.
In general, dog has to wear cone for 2 weeks. Keep your dog as comforted and assured as possible during the time.
The first few days may be extremely difficult. Stay by your dog's side and find out if they can move about their daily spaces effortlessly. You may have to move some furniture to let the 'walking lampshade' go by. We will discuss helping them eat, drink, and sleep too in the following sections.
Keep other pets and small children away from the dog too. Let them together only if you can be sure that other pets are not causing the cone-wearing one trouble. Have their smaller toys around them to keep them busy and distracted from the situation.
Dog won't sleep with cone, However, to prevent wound infection caused by irritation, it's best for dogs to sleep with an e-cone.
Dogs that are used to sleeping with their heads propped up on the edge of the bed, on a pillow, or upon a toy may not find it difficult to sleep when wearing a cone. Dogs that want to sleep on the floor or do not want their heads pillowed will have a harder time. And some training is needed for this. You can provide them with a more comfortable sleeping environment, such as a warm dog bed or a soft pillow, to alleviate the restraint that the e-collar brings to them.
You can also choose to replace a collar that is more suitable for sleep, such as an inflatable collar which is better than plastic cones. Unless the material of the cone is flexible enough to bend and let your dog keep its head down, sleeping can be very difficult.
If your dog usually sleeps with the same toy every day, place it close to their head. Of course, if the above methods do not work, you can also let the dog sleep with you, which is usually not allowed.
Removing the cone for each meal, only if you are sure to be around each time for all the days your dog has to wear a cone. Unless you can be definite about assisting your dog each time, help them around the task, and keep them prepared. Follow these tips:
Oh, forgot it! Please refill the water bowl frequently. If needed, keep more water bowls at different spots so that your dog can find a drink without moving around too much.
When the dog has to wear a cone, it is not a good time. And when it is not a good time, you will have to reward goodness even more.
Try not to toss treats to a dog that needs to rest its body after a procedure. Place the treat gently close to them. We do not want the dog too excited when they are unwell. Use the smaller treats to avoid both overfeeding and having the dog scurrying.
Bones can be hard to handle and hold in place with paws when wearing a protective cone. The same goes for other chew toys. Breeds with shorter legs (corgis, dachshunds, heelers, some terriers and spaniels, etc.) may struggle more than the taller breeds (hounds, mastiffs, shepherds, and the likes).
You can put the little bone inside the cone and stand by to help them eat so that dogs can chew the bones effortlessly. And you can be the ingenious human your dog thinks you are, by attaching a big chew bone to the floor, wall, or heavy furniture. The bone has to be accessible in a place your dog loves to lie down. Care needs to be taken so that the ware you use to fix the bone or chew toy is not potentially harmful to the dog.
As for toys, instead of giving them hard chewing toys at this stage, rope chew toys, stuffed toys, and smaller toys would be greatly helpful as they do not need to be held onto to play.
Having to wear a dog cone can be difficult. But you can always get past the situation with ease together. What were your questions? Could we answer them for you?