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Why Does Your Dog Need To Wear A Cone? [Reasons +Dog Cone Alternatives]

Updated by Sheryl on Aug 19, 2021

Have you ever seen a dog wearing a lampshade or a radar-like thing on its neck? Wonder what is it called and what is the purpose of wearing it? Though the dogs may look funny, this health accessory serves an important purpose.

What is a dog cone? It is a medical device that is shaped like a truncated cone. It helps a dog during the healing process after an injury or surgery. It prevents the animal from licking, biting, and scratching the wounds.

The other names of a dog cone are Elizabethan collar, E-collar, dog-cone, pet cone, buster collar. Some people humorously name these as the cone of shame, pet radar dish, and pet lamp shade.

This article will cover everything about a dog cone, its types, purposes, and the method of making a DIY dog cone. Ready to explore info about an E collar or a dog cone? Read on till the end.

dog cone outdoor

Different styles of dog cones are available at pet stores nowadays. You can select one that is better suited to your dog’s age, temperament, and size.

Plastic Cone

These cones are made of low-density polyethylene. These are not comfortable, and that’s why named cones of dismay. But they can effectively prevent your dog from hurting its wounds. Unluckily, your stressed dogs can badly injure themselves in an attempt to get rid of this type of cone. They may keep bumping into walls or fall off the stairs due to mental stress.

Being uncomfortable, most pet owners hate plastic cones. Here are a few alternatives to plastic cones, so have a look.

dog with dog cone in the hospital

Soft Fabric Collar

These collars are made of pliable fabric and comparatively comfortable for dogs. But it has a disadvantage. Due to fabric, your dog can’t see through it. Consequently, it keeps bumping in things. However, it allows your pet to lie down and rest comfortably. It is the best choice for less active dogs. 

Neck Collar

These are similar to human cervical collars. Though they work well, you’ll need to contact your vet to make adjustments to this type of collar.

Inflatable Collar

Inflatable E collar is similar in shape to that of a neck pillow. It is one of the most effective and comfortable alternatives to plastic dog cones. It completely restricts the movement of your pet from hurting the infected area. At the same time, it is considered less destructive as compared to other dog Elizabethan cones.

soft dog cone

This inflatable collar possesses several advantages:

  • Prevent pets from biting and licking the injured or surgical site, and promotes postoperative or wound healing.
  • Will not block your pet's sight, they can eat, drink, sleep and play normally.
  • Inflatable design and soft exterior materials make your dog comfortable to wear.
  • Soft and washable, leaving no marks or scratches on the furniture.
  • One of its biggest pros is, your dog can see even after wearing it.

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Your dog needs to wear a cone to avoid chewing and scratching at an incision. After an injury, licking at the wound is an instinctive response of a dog. A dog cone keeps your pet from hurting its skin at the surgery site. If your dog gets stitches at the surgery site, it can remove the stitches in no time, worsening the situation. So, it needs to put a cone on to allow the healing of wounds.

Besides surgery, your canine pet sometimes keeps scratching and itching a specific spot until it starts bleeding. In this case, it will require an Elizabethan collar to prevent self-harm and further irritation.

Some aggressive pets try to bite the vet at the pet clinic. They also need to wear a plastic cone to prevent biting others.

What is a dog cone good for?

A dog cone is good for the below-mentioned purposes.

Recovery from fungal and viral infections: Sometimes, your pet friend suffers many fungal, yeast, and viral skin infections. Similarly, hotspots are formed if your dog’s coat remains wet after washing.

Besides oral medication, it needs ointments for the treatment of the infected skin. If you’ll not put a physical barrier around your dog’s neck, it is more likely to ingest the ointment by licking. Therefore, a dog cone is good for ensuring a fast recovery of your pet.

Flea and allergy treatment: In case of eye and other skin allergies, wearing a collar is a must for your dog since it prevents the spreading of the infection to other body parts.

play with the dog

Similarly, a dog can experience severe itching due to fleas. Even some dogs badly injure themselves. So putting a collar of shame on during treatment will be helpful for your pet’s recovery.

Post-surgery recovery: Your pet can remove the stitches by itself after surgery self-grooming. An E collar will stop your pup from disrupting the post-surgery healing process.

If your pet is stressed after wearing a plastic cone, we have a solution for you. Here Is an easy and simple method of making a DIY dog collar. This DIY E collar is more comfortable than a regular plastic dog cone.


  • Take a towel, depending on the size of your dog.
  • Avoid selecting too large or too small towels.
  • Ensure that towel can make a nice compact fold around your dog’s neck and actually serve its purpose.
  • Fold it at least three times to make a thick pad.
  • You’ll need some other person sitting in front of your dog and holding peanut butter for distraction.
  • Start wrapping the towel around your dog’s neck and secure it by using duct tape.

sick dog with dog cone

1. Can a dog sleep with a cone on?

Yes, a dog can sleep with a cone on. It can also perform important daily life chores such as peeing, pooping, eating, and playing. However, you need to remove some cones only when your dog is having a meal.

2. Are dog cones cruel?

Not all dog cones are cruel. According to researchers, a plastic dog cone can cause psychological distress in a few pets. You can expect negative welfare impacts such as lack of interest in meals, behavioral changes, and mental stress in your furry friends. In short, a plastic cone can badly affect the quality of life in a few animals. If your pet shows the same problem, you should choose a suitable alternative to a plastic cone. 

3. How long should your dog wear a cone?

Your dog should wear a cone until it is fully recovered after an injury or surgery. Normally, sutures and staples heal within 10 to 14 days. However, some wounds may need more time to recover. Never leave your pet alone when it is in the recovery phase since accidents can happen at any time.

4. Why do dogs get depressed after wearing a cone?

Not all dogs get depressed after wearing an E collar. Some dogs easily get used to it. If your pet doesn’t want to wear it, make sure that the collar is not too tight around its neck. Still, if it resists, check for other comfortable dog cone alternatives.

Whatever you want to call dog cones: collars of shame or the E collars, they are used to stop your pet canines from further damaging an incision or surgery.

Some dogs can’t feel comfortable after wearing them. They look miserable. That’s why most owners look for E cone alternatives for their pets. You can select any other option mentioned in the article. Only ensure that your selected option should effectively serve its purpose.

Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
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