When your pet gets injured, his instinct is to start licking or scratching the wound. But letting him do so can make things worse. It can cause a possible infection, further irritate the wound, or even take out his stitches if there are any. At the very least, leaving him able to access his wound will hinder the healing process. This is why the “cone of shame” was invented. And it’s also why your dog needs to wear one whenever he has a hot spot, a wound, or recovering from a surgery. Not that he’d like it, of course. He’s more likely to whine and try wiggling out of it.
While it would be fine to go with the cone that your vet gives you, it probably isn’t the most comfortable for your dog. It makes sense to get one that would be less stressful for your pooch to wear, especially since he’s in recovery. The question is, which one would work best? All pets are unique and there’s no one e-collar (also known as Elizabethan collar) that would work for each and everyone of them. That’s why there are a variety of dog cones in the market. That’s also why it’s important that you learn about the different features you need to consider to find the cone that will suit your pooch best.
What to Look for in a Dog Cone
Fit and Comfort
The most important things you need to consider when choosing a dog cone are how easy it is to put on your pet and how comfortable they are wearing it. You should be able to put the cone on your pooch in a matter of seconds. When you put the cone on your dog, there should be enough space between his neck and the collar to fit two to three of your fingers. It should be tight enough that he won’t be able to get out of it, but not too tight that he’s uncomfortable. The right sized e-collar for your pup should also be longer than 2 to 3 inches past his snout. This prevents him from being able to lick any part of his body.
Discomfort is not the only reason why dogs get so stressed while wearing an e-collar. A dog cone can prevent them from seeing their surroundings if it’s not transparent. Aside from possibly causing them to feel panicked, the lack of vision can make it harder for them to navigate around your home, especially in narrow spaces. It’s not uncommon for a dog to knock over tables, vases, and the like while wearing a traditional e-collar.
Your dog likely won’t need to wear a cone longer than 10 days. But that doesn’t mean you won’t need it again in the future. Look for a cone that won’t easily get banged up even if your pooch keeps knocking it against stuff around the house.
Easy to Clean
Since your doggo will be wearing the cone for at least a week, you’ll want one that will be easy to clean. Look for a dog cone that can be wiped clean with a wet cloth or laundered in the washing machine.
How to Safely Use a Dog Cone
There are several things you can do to ensure your dog is safe and comfy while he wears his cone.
- Prepare your space. You need to put away stuff that your dog may bump into as he navigates your home with the cone on. Being fitted with an e-collar can be quite stressful. Bumping into things around his own home will up his stress levels and yours.
- Introduce the collar to him before he starts wearing one. Let him check it out before placing it around his neck. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once he’s wearing it, don’t forget to praise him and give him a treat or two. This will help him form a positive association with the cone.
- Make sure your dog is able to eat and drink while wearing his cone, whether it’s store-bought or homemade. This may mean switching out his regular bowls for an elevated feeder. Also, if your pet’s bowls are linked together, it might be easier if you got him separate bowls to make it easier for him to maneuver while eating or drinking.
The Top Picks for Best Dog Cone: Ranked
#1 Best Overall Dog Cone: The Comfy Cone
- Patented soft cone-shaped e-collar made with foam-backed padded nylon
- Velcro closures for custom fit, reversibility & easy on-off
- Removable plastic stays to add structure when needed
- Water resistant/repellent & easy to wipe clean with soap and water
- Veterinarian tested and approved
Recovering from a wound can be a stressful time for your pet. Wearing a traditional dog cone would make it even more so. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. There’s a comfortable option available – The Comfy Cone.
Comfort is not the sole reason why we chose this as the best overall dog cone in the market today. This soft-coned shape collar features foam-backed padded nylon. There are velcro closures that allow you to create a custom fit. While testing, we found this to be quite easy to put on and take off our volunteers. There are three sizing strips, so we were able to make sure it wasn’t too tight on our dog’s neck but not loose enough that he’d be able to get out of it. You can even attach it to your pet’s collar using the loops provided.
We loved that the material was water-resistant, making it easy to wipe away any dirt or slobber. Another thing that we really liked about this cone is that it features removable plastic stays which allows you to give the cone structure or leave it reversed for when he’s eating or drinking.
The major drawback to this cone is the lack of peripheral vision. With a plastic cone, your dog can still see all the objects around him. With the Comfy Cone, his field of vision can become limited (unless you’re using it in reverse). But then this might be a small price to pay if you want your dog comfortable throughout the day and even through the night.
Click here to check out The Comfy Cone at Amazon.com.
#2 Best Inflatable Collar: BENCMATE Protective Inflatable Collar
- SCRATCH AND BITE RESISTANT - The inflatable collar is designed to protect your pets from injuries, rashes and post surgery wounds, it will prevent pets from biting and licking their injured area or surgical site and promote recovering from surgery or wounds
- COMFORTABLE - Inflatable design and the soft outside material will let your dog wear it comfortably and it does not block your pet’s vision, they can eat, drink, sleep and play normally
- EASY TO STORE - Inflatable recovery collar, you can deflate it and store it in a small space when you do not use it and there is a zipper opening on one side, you can take the bag out and wash the outside cloth
- ADJUSTABLE - There is a strap on the opening of the collar, you can adjust strap for a perfect fit and put the strap side at the back of your dog’s neck in case of biting
- DURABLE AND STABLE - The premium protective collar is soft and washable, it will not mark or scrape furniture and you can insert your pet’s everyday collar through the inner ring loops for a stabilization. Measurement differences may exist.recommended size is just a suggestion NOT a guarantee in fit as every dog is different. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
If any cone-like structure is a no-go for your pooch, then here’s an alternative option for you – the BENCMATE Protective Inflatable Collar. Unlike the traditional cone, this looks more like a donut cushion or a travel pillow. And it is this design that makes it so popular with our pets.
This inflatable e-collar features a soft material that is comfortable but durable. It’s scratch- and bite-proof which means you don’t have to worry if your pup is a chewer. During testing, we used the loops to insert the device into our doggo’s collar. It was easy to do and the straps easy to adjust. By the way, you can choose from four different sizes.
Since this is inflatable, it’s easy to store away when your dog’s fully healed. You can just deflate it and put it in a drawer. The collar has an outer cover that is removable and easily washed. So, there’s no need to hold your breath for weeks while your doggo wears a smelly collar.
Because of its design, sleeping, eating, and all other daily activities are never a problem for your pet. In fact, our own pooch used his as a pillow and seemed to make him sleep better. However, we did find that for large dogs or those with long snouts such as a Doberman, this type of e-collar does not prevent them from reaching their paws or bottom half of their body. It won’t also stop determined dogs from being able to scratch injuries on their face.
Click here to check out BENCMATE Protective Inflatable Collar at Amazon.com.
#3 Best Plastic Recovery Collar: Remedy+Recovery E-Collar
- Safe; padded edges
- Extra padding for comfort
- Clear, see-through design
- Fits 12 1/4 inches-21 inches (31-53 cm)
Sometimes, only a plastic cone will do. And when it comes to traditional dog cones, the most comfortable we’ve found is the Remedy+Recovery E-Collar. Like many plastic cones, it has a clear, see-through design which means your dog’s vision remains unhindered while he’s wearing it. It’s lightweight which makes it a good choice for puppies because it won’t weigh them down.
We liked how durable this cone was even when we tried to hit it against walls, table corners, and the like. The cone featured padding in the area that wraps around your dog’s neck for increased comfort. The rims of the collar also featured a bit of padding to avoid objects around the house from getting damaged. It also ensured that your legs won’t get scratched whenever your pooch bumped into you.
There are drawbacks to using this cone, however. The rigid plastic makes it a bit uncomfortable for your dog to wear while sleeping. Also, putting on the cone was a trifle difficult. You need to put a bit of muscle into snapping the cone into place.
Here’s a pro tip: make sure to measure the length/depth of the cone instead of just the neck size. The collar might fit the neck of your pup, but the length of the cone might be too short to prevent your dog from reaching his wounds.
Click here to check out Remedy+Recovery E-Collar at Amazon.com.
#4 Best Dog Cone for Eye Surgery: Optivizor Eye Protection
- Protects Dogs Eyes and Face; Does not provide UV protection.
- Adjustable at neck and sides; trim to length
- Weight: 73-99 lbs
- Head measurement: 8.3-9.4 inches
- Size: Large
If your dog has a facial injury that requires healing, a cone or inflatable collar might not be enough to deter a determined dog from scratching his wound. That’s where the Optivizor Eye Protection comes in. This is, in our humble opinion, the best “dog cone” for eye surgery and facial injuries. It is specifically designed to protect your dog’s face from his paws.
Now, the Optivizor looks much like a welding mask. Only, this one has a clear plastic shield allowing your pup to see his surroundings while wearing the device. It comes with adjustable Velcro straps to keep the mask in place and a chin strap to prevent your pooch from getting his paws underneath the shield.
With the Optivizor, your dog will be able to eat, drink, sleep, and even play without injuring himself further. The only drawbacks to this device are that it’s not that easy to figure out the right size and the fact that it’s very expensive.
That being said, if other types of e-collars are not working for you, this might just be the answer to your prayers.
Click here to check out Optivizor Eye Protection at Amazon.com.
Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Dog Cone: Reviewed for 2021 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What can I use instead of a dog cone?
The traditional plastic cone is the most common, but you have alternative options if your dog is not comfortable wearing one. You can choose to get a fabric e-collar which is similar in shape to the traditional one except that this one is padded. Aside from being more comfortable, it is flexible, allowing your pet to lie down, eat, and drink with ease. However, this type of cone can be harder to clean. It can even make it possible for your dog to reach the site of his injury.
Another alternative is the inflatable collar. Inflatable collars look similar to a donut cushion. It is not hard to put on and off. It also allows your dog to maneuver more easily around your home because it takes up less space than a traditional cone. More importantly, it’s much harder for your dog to wiggle out from. However, it is not ideal for dogs with long bodies or facial injuries.
When it comes to cones for eye surgery or some type of facial injury, you can choose to have your dog wear a type of face shield like the Optivizor instead of a traditional dog collar. This type of device protects your pet’s face from his paws, instead of protecting his body from his mouth.
For those who aren’t ready to spend money on an e-collar, don’t worry. A homemade dog cone is also an option. You can create a collar by using a folded up towel and a piece of string or belt. Depending on your pet’s size, fold up a towel once or twice. Then, wrap it around his neck and keep it in place using a string or belt. This will work much like a soft e-collar, preventing your dog from accessing his front legs and upper body. However, for long dogs, they may still be able to reach the back part of their body. You can find tutorials on how to make a homemade towel collar on YouTube.
And if none of the following seem to work for your dog, you can opt for onesies or some type of bodysuit. These are typically used to cover stitches or hotspots on a pet’s body. It prevents them from accessing the wound directly. It’s also the best option if your pooch is a Houdini when it comes to cones.
Are soft cones better for dogs?
A soft collar is comfy, there’s no doubt about that. It’s perfect for a pooch who is mildly deterred by the presence of the “cone.” It definitely makes eating, drinking, and moving around much easier for your pet. But they’re not ideal for stubborn dogs who will do everything to lick their wounds as the fabric can bend.
Is a cone comfortable for dogs?
It can be, especially the soft collars and inflatable ones. You will need to make sure that you choose with care to ensure that your dog feels safe and comfortable throughout his recovery. All of our recommendations on the best dog cones for 2021 have been tested and deemed comfortable by our beloved pooches.
Can my dog sleep with a cone on?
Yes, it’s possible for your dog to sleep with his cone on. The more he wears his cone, the faster he’ll get used to wearing it. In addition, it will help speed up his recovery. So, making him wear one at all times will benefit him. This is why it’s important to choose an e-collar that he doesn’t mind wearing.