So, your dog has recently developed an injury or is about to undergo surgery that will require some recovery time. Whether your furry friend has a wound or if they have just been neutered, your top priority is to make sure your dog doesn’t lick or touch the affected area.
The last thing you want to add to your vet bills is money from an infection or recovery that has gone wrong due to constant licking. Unfortunately, dogs will lick anything that they think needs cleaning and healing, so it can be seemingly impossible to stop them from doing it.
You can’t exactly stay by their side 24/7 to push their tongues away from the area.
That’s where surgical cones come in! These are non-harmful cones that wrap around the dog’s neck to prevent them from licking or biting their wound or area of surgery. Sure, your dog might look miserable and admittedly hilarious with a cone around their neck, but it’ll speed up their recovery time.
Any dog owner would want to provide their dogs with comfortable cones for their recovery process, which is why I have found the best cones for dogs to help your pooch! I have also done some research and accumulated a buyer’s guide to help you understand what to look out for and what to avoid.
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Available in sizes extra small to extra extra large, this is an ideal dog cone for those looking for a perfect fit. It is suitable for both cats and dogs and can be adjusted accordingly, regardless of the size you pick.
This cone is made of a durable and flexible non-toxic PVC material with fabric edges to prevent your pet from getting scratched (or scratching the floor when they try to lick their wounded area!). Not only is this material lightweight and durable for even the smallest of dogs, but it’s super easy to clean.
Great for when they drop food down it!
The cone can be adjusted with its hook and loop design that keeps the cone securely in place to prevent the dogs from pulling it off. It is recommended to order a size larger if your dog is close to the maximum measurement in a category to prevent them from feeling constricted.
- Soft fabric edges – Comfortable around the neck and won’t harm your dog
- Adjustable – Velcro securely adjusts the size and shape
- Easy to clean – High-quality PVC plastic is non-toxic and just needs to be wiped to clean
- Sizing guide is slightly off, so make sure to order a larger size
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When it comes to dog cones, inflatable collars aren’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, inflatable collars work in the same way as regular plastic surgical cones – except they are extremely comfortable for dogs to wear!
Whilst most plastic cones are flexible and come with fabric edges for comfort, inflatable collars make sure that the dog can lie down in any position without feeling discomfort from the cone.
The size of the collar means that the dog’s vision isn’t obstructed, unlike a regular cone, which could be comforting for anxious dogs.
Regardless, it will still stop them from licking or biting the wound.
As these are inflatable, they are super easy to store once they have deflated. There is even a zipper opening that removes the inside bag so you can wash the outer cloth from any food, liquid, or mud.
The outer cloth is made of a soft fabric, which means your furniture, walls, and floors won’t be scratched or marked.
- Very comfortable – Soft outer material and no sharp edges
- Vision isn’t obstructed – Low collar doesn’t block vision like regular plastic cones
- Easy storage – Once deflated, this collar takes up minimal space
- Keep an eye on troublesome dogs who might try to scratch or pop the material
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This is a great padded collar for dogs who find plastic Elizabethan cones restrictive when it comes to movement. Where some standard cones might bend in strange ways to prevent the dog from lying down properly, this cone comes with padded folds that can be moved into different positions from maximum comfort – all whilst protecting the wounded area.
This cone is made of a durable and breathable padded nylon that is soft to their skin and water-resistant, which makes it easy to clean. The padded foam feature means that it is super comfortable around the neck. Plus, it can be worn as a cone or the other way around to protect your dog from scratching wounds around their shoulders.
Not only is the soft fabric ergonomic, but it won’t scratch or mark furniture or walls as your dog lounges about. The only downside is that it is black, and therefore might be slightly more disruptive for the dog’s vision when worn as a cone.
- Ergonomic – Folded design is flexible and won’t hurt the dog when it lies down
- Soft fabric – Breathable padded nylon is comfortable for the dog and easy to clean
- Great for small procedures – Due to flexible material, this is best for cutting nails, trimming hair, and protecting small surgical wounds
- Black cone might be obstructive to the dog’s vision
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This is an ideal product for households with more than one dog (or cat!), as each set offers five different-sized cones. This means you don’t have to waste unnecessary dollars on other cones of different sizes for multiple dogs.
Not only is this great for two or more dogs who have injuries or surgical wounds, but it might also stop one of your dogs from licking or biting the other’s wounds.
It might also help to make the injured dog feel less left out.
These cones are made of a durable and flexible PVC plastic that comes with fabric edges to prevent the plastic from rubbing against the animal’s neck. This also prevents furniture scratches.
The velcro is easy to adjust depending on the thickness of the neck, with a handy plastic snap closure that keeps the collar securely in place.
Even if your dog(s) isn’t injured or in recovery, these are a great purchase to make for grooming and cleaning purposes if you have a particularly anxious dog.
- 5 piece set – Comes with five differently sized cones for multiple animals
- Flexible fabric – Easy-to-clean PVC material is bendable for comfort
- Snap closure – Helps to keep the velcro in place to stop clever dogs from pulling the cone off
- Waste of product if you only have one animal
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The final product on my list is another inflatable collar that is as comfortable as it is useful! Ranging from sizes extra small to extra large, this cone is ideal for dogs who don’t like having their vision obstructed from Elizabethan cones.
This collar is made of a soft and breathable cotton fabric and provides a nice cushion for the dog to lean on when they are lying down. It is a hardy material that is resistant to scratches, tears, and popping from even the most playful of dogs.
It comes with an adjustable strap that can be tightened or loosened for comfort and security.
The standout feature of inflatable collars is that they won’t scratch furniture, walls, or floors due to the soft fabric. Once deflated, they can be stored away without taking up lots of space. What’s more, the yellow color means you almost definitely can’t lose either it or your dog.
- Non-obstructive – Doesn’t block the dog’s vision, which is ideal for anxious and claustrophobic dogs
- Won’t damage furniture – Soft and firm (yet bouncy) fabric won’t scratch furniture, walls, or floors
- Very comfortable – Soft fabric and bouncy feel won’t be uncomfortable for the dog
- Smallest breed this cone can accommodate to is a Jack Russell or Shetland Sheepdog
Why buy a dog cone?
A dog cone is an affordable and necessary accessory for dog owners for a variety of reasons. You never know when your dog could develop an injury or might need to undergo surgery, so it’s worth keeping a dog cone at home for whatever happens.
Your dog will want to lick, scratch, or even bite an injury or surgical wound, which will only prolong the recovery time.
Dog cones are also useful for anxious dogs who don’t like to get their hair or nails done. Some dogs might snap or bite when getting their nails clipped, so the cone works to protect the owner or groomer, too.
If your dog is struggling with constant licking or allergies, your vet might recommend them wearing a cone to prevent them from making their habits and skin issues worse.
What to look for in a dog cone
Type of dog
Each dog will have a different reaction to dog cones. Some might not even notice it’s there, whilst others might find it irritating. You should consider the temperament of your dog when looking for a dog cone, as the anxious and irritated ones might react better to inflatable collars to Elizabethan cones, for example.
Type of injury
If your dog can reach its injury with a cone, then you need to find another style of cone. You should consider the style of the cone depending on the injury. For example, a dog with an injured front paw should get an Elizabethan cone to prevent them from licking the foot that would normally be easily accessed.
An inflatable cone might be best for dogs with a neck or shoulder injury due to the soft, yet firm, padding.
Size and how to measure
Of course, you must consider the size of the cone. Fortunately, the majority of dog cones are adjustable for comfort, but it’s not just about the diameter of the neck.
The cone must also be comfortable enough for them to reach their food, so you can’t give a medium-sized cone to a small dog like a Boston Terrier.
To get the measurements for a dog cone, tightly wrap a soft measuring tape around the base of your dog’s neck. This won’t strangle the dog, it will just give you an idea of the smallest possible size to look for to prevent the cone from falling off.
Then, measure the size of the neck to the muzzle. This will determine the length of the cone. This is especially important for Elizabethan cones, as inflatable cones won’t have this issue.
Most importantly, you want your dog to be as comfortable as possible. They won’t look like they’re enjoying themselves, but you can at least rest easy knowing that hard plastic isn’t cutting into their necks.
If you want an Elizabethan cone, make sure the edges have a fabric coating. Not only is this comfortable for the dog, but it will prevent scratches and marks from appearing on your furniture, walls, and floors.
Make sure to look at how to clean the cone. PVC plastic cones need only be wiped, and some inflatable cones come with a removable outer layer that can be washed by hand or in a machine.
Also, you’re going to want a cone that is durable and won’t break, scratch, pop, or tear from your dog who is trying to scratch it off them. This will only cause more harm than good.
Types of dog cones
Standard plastic cones / Elizabethan cones
Plastic cones, or Elizabethan cones, are the most common type of dog cones that are usually handed out by vets. These can be fairly uncomfortable for the dog, unless the material is ergonomic enough for them to lie down comfortably.
These cones are most ideal for wounds and injuries that are located near the head.
Make sure to avoid rigid Elizabethan cones, as they provide no flexibility or comfort for the dog. They also prevent the dog from turning their head, so their vision is obstructed which can be a great source of anxiety.
Inflatable cones look similar to memory foam neck rests for humans. They don’t obstruct the view (unlike plastic cones) as they are only situated around the neck and do not extend past the nose. Despite this, your dog still won’t be able to lick, bite, or scratch the wound.
As the name suggests, you will need to inflate these cones when they come into use. When deflated, they can be stored away easily.
Flexible Elizabethan Collars
As the name suggests, these are the flexible version of the traditional Elizabethan cone. They usually have a hexagonal or octagonal shape that allows the collar more flexibility, which is much more comfortable for a dog to wear.
Whilst they might not have the same strictness of rigidity as rigid Elizabethan cones, they’re comfy and ideal for short-term use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I use instead of a dog cone?
Some dogs really cannot stand the dreaded cone of shame. If you find that your dog hates its cone, or has found a way to somehow pull it off, there are other ways to prevent your dog from licking, scratching, or biting its wounded area.
Dog baby grows (surgical recovery suits) exist, and they’re adorable. Sure, it might be hard to find one for a large dog, but for small breeds, they’re great.
These are usually recommended for dogs who have a wound or injury on their body that their paws could reach. Just make sure that there is enough space for the dog to pee and do its business, so you don’t have to take it off to clean it constantly.
Whilst technically still considered a dog cone, inflatable collars are great for anxious dogs who don’t like the visual obstruction of regular Elizabethan cones.
Is a cone comfortable for dogs?
Whilst almost every dog hates wearing cones, most of them aren’t too uncomfortable. It all depends on what type of cone you get. Rigid plastic traditional Elizabethan cones are the most uncomfortable dog cones, because the hard plastic isn’t flexible enough for your dog to comfortably lie down in.
However, some traditional-style cones are made of ergonomic plastic that has a fabric edging to prevent hard plastic from hurting their necks.
Can a dog sleep with a cone on?
Yes! Dog cones are designed for permanent use until the wound or injury has healed. Otherwise, your dog might start licking or biting their wounded area when they realize the cone of shame is finally off them. Just make sure to get a cone that is super flexible, soft, and comfortable.
Is it safe to leave a dog alone with a cone?
It isn’t recommended to leave a dog alone with a cone. Dogs are clever animals, and they might find ways of pulling the cone off when you’re not around.
They might find other ways to scratch their wounded area, which will only make the cone useless. You also want to keep an eye on them to check that the cone isn’t too tight, as this could only do more harm than good.