The Elizabethan collar, also known as the “cone of shame,” is a common accessory given to dogs after surgery or medical procedures. It serves the purpose of preventing them from bothering their stitches by licking, chewing, or tearing them out. While this headpiece is necessary for their healing process, it can be quite cumbersome and even distressing for dogs. They may encounter difficulties cleaning themselves or fitting through small openings as they usually would.
Leaving Your Dog Alone with an Elizabethan Collar
Leaving your dog alone for long periods of time when they are wearing an Elizabethan collar is generally not recommended. It’s best to keep an eye on them or have someone trustworthy, like a family member, dog sitter, or neighbor, look after them. Taking your dog with you when possible is another good option, ensuring they remain comfortable and out of trouble.
Potential Risks and How to Help Your Dog Manage the Collar
There are certain risks associated with Elizabethan collars that you should be aware of. It’s important to understand these risks and learn how to support your dog in managing the collar until they fully recover.
Initially, it might be challenging for your dog to adapt to the collar. They may need your assistance during the first day, so it’s best not to leave them unsupervised. However, with time, they will become more accustomed to maneuvering around the house while wearing the collar.
If you can’t take your dog with you or have someone else watch them, consider seeking alternatives like leaving them at the vet’s clinic during the day. Additionally, leaving some calming music on while they’re home alone can help alleviate anxiety. Research has shown that certain genres of music have a calming effect on dogs.
Should You Leave Your Dog Home Alone with an Elizabethan Collar?
Leaving your dog home alone with an Elizabethan collar is not recommended. However, if you find yourself in this situation, it’s essential to check in on them periodically throughout the day. You can do this yourself or ask someone reliable to do it for you. Another option is setting up a webcam that allows you to check on your dog remotely.
Is It Safe to Leave a Dog in a Crate with an Elizabethan Collar?
If your dog sleeps in a crate or stays inside it while you’re away, it’s typically not safe to leave them in the crate with an Elizabethan collar. Depending on the size of your dog and the collar, they may not fit comfortably or be able to turn around or exit the crate easily. This could result in them getting stuck and feeling stressed. The same caution applies to leaving your dog’s collar on while they sleep in a crate.
Keeping your dog confined to a crate all day is not ideal, as it can lead to claustrophobia, separation anxiety, and restlessness due to pent-up energy. These issues become more challenging when your dog is wearing an Elizabethan collar. If you have no choice but to crate your dog, arrange for a dog walker, friend, or neighbor to let them out periodically for bathroom breaks, meals, and walks.
Alternatively, you can secure your dog to a sturdy object, like a non-movable table, and create a comfortable area around it for them to rest. Another option is to gate off a room in your house, providing your dog with more space to move around compared to a small crate. Ensure that the designated area is free of any valuable or breakable items that could be knocked over by your dog’s collar.
Can Your Dog Sleep with an Elizabethan Collar On?
Initially, your dog may have difficulty falling asleep while wearing an Elizabethan collar. This could be due to discomfort or the inability to sleep in their usual spot. To help your dog settle, ensure that the collar is fitted correctly and not digging into their neck when they lie down. Distracting them from the urge to itch by cooling the irritated area with a spray bottle, ice packs, or vet-recommended topical creams can also aid in their comfort. If your dog isn’t comfortable sleeping in their usual bed or crate with the collar on, you can create an alternative sleeping space that accommodates the collar.
There are alternative collar options available, such as soft, cushion-like cones designed for more comfortable sleep. If you can’t obtain one of these specialized collars, you can make a makeshift comfort collar using a folded towel secured around your dog’s neck with durable tape.
How to Make an Elizabethan Collar More Comfortable
One drawback of traditional Elizabethan collars is their lack of comfort. The hard plastic material can dig into your dog’s neck if not properly fitted, making it uncomfortable to wear and sleep in. To ensure your dog’s complete comfort, construct and fit the collar properly, ensuring it sits securely around their head without moving excessively or causing discomfort. If you notice your dog’s discomfort persisting, consult your vet for advice on refitting the collar or exploring alternative, more comfortable options.
Here are a few recommendations to enhance your dog’s collar-wearing experience:
All Four Paws’ Comfy Cone: This soft, padded cone with foam backing offers both comfort and effectiveness. It’s water-resistant, easy to clean, and features customizable Velcro fasteners. Veterinarian tested and approved, the Comfy Cone comes in different sizes and colors.
BENCMATE Protective Inflatable Collar for Dogs: This inflatable alternative to hard plastic cones is a popular choice. It provides comfort while preventing dogs from biting their stitches or wounds. The design doesn’t obstruct the dog’s face, allowing for easier movement and hassle-free eating and drinking. It’s also easy to clean, put on, and remove. The inflatable collar is available in various sizes to suit all dogs.
IDOMIK Recovery Suit for Dogs: This unique bodysuit replaces the need for a traditional cone, providing dogs with more freedom of movement. It is made of breathable material and comes in different sizes to fit various dog breeds. The recovery suit prevents scratching and biting of stitches, making it a suitable option for dogs prone to hot spots and skin irritation.
E-KOMG Pet Recovery Collar: Made from durable, water-resistant Oxford cloth, this soft cone offers both security and comfort. It can be easily adjusted and comes in various sizes to ensure a custom fit for any dog breed.
How Long Should Your Dog Wear an Elizabethan Collar After Surgery?
The duration your dog should wear an Elizabethan collar depends on the specific procedure and their individual recovery time. Generally, the collar should remain on until the wound has fully healed or irritated them enough to stop biting or scratching. For dogs with stitches, it is advisable to wait until the stitches are removed. Consult your vet to determine the appropriate timeframe for removing the collar.
It takes time for dogs to adjust to wearing an Elizabethan collar, and during this period, it’s crucial not to leave them alone or let them sleep in their crate with the collar on. Fortunately, there are comfortable alternatives available that can make the overall experience more bearable for your furry friend.
I hope your dog enjoys a swift and successful recovery!