Tavares Animal Hospital

418 East Alfred Street, Tavares, FL 32778
Monday thru Friday 8:00am - 5:30pm

Office: (352) 343-7793 Emergency: (407) 644-4449

How to Help Your Dog Get Used to Wearing a Cone

pug dog wearing a cone

Everybody hates the cone. You hate it. Your dog hates it. We hate that he has to wear it too. But unfortunately, if you’ve been given one, he has to wear it. Continue reading for some tips on how to help your dog get used to wearing his e-collar.

Does my dog HAVE to wear it?

The short answer is, yes. There is a reason your doctor recommended a cone. If your pet licks a wound or incision it will take longer to heal. It could become infected or an incision could open back up completely.

The long answer is, maybe. There are some instances where your pet is just going to have to wear it. When your doctor is trying to protect your pet’s eye, there are no other options. Even if you use something to prevent scratching, your dog or cat can still rub it on floor, furniture etc. Your pet’s eyes and sight are too important to risk it, even for a second.

If your pet has a wound or incision that needs to be protected you may have other options. There are donut collars, bite-not collars and other similar options available on-line and in pet stores. These can work in very limited instances. In our experiences, clients usually end up wasting their money and having to use a traditional e-collar because their dog is still able to lick. Ask your veterinarian, they can give you a good idea if one might work in your particular situation. Often times, using a t-shirt or infant “onsie” will cover an abdominal incision. Keep an eye that your dog doesn’t lick the fabric making the incision underneath wet.

If she has to wear it, how can I help her?

There are several things you can do to make things easier the first day or two. After that she’ll probably not think anything about it. The cone usually bothers the humans more than the pets once they’re used to it. The worst thing you can do is take the cone off and put it back on frequently. You will probably want to take it off when you are with your pet and put it on when you leave. Every time it goes back on the poor thing has to get use to it all over again. If you put it on and leave it alone most pets will accept it in a day or two, often within hours.

Remember the first time you put a collar on your puppy? They hate it and fight it for a couple hours and then they’re over it. It’s the same with the e-collar. Below are some tips for helping your dog get used to wearing the cone faster.

1. Help him navigate.

The cone is much wider than his head. He’s going to have trouble getting through doors at first. Expect some banging into things for a while. Gently guide him with the cone in tight spaces. Most dogs like to sniff the ground when they go outside. They’ll often get the cone stuck on the ground. Simply show him how to lift it back up again.

2. Make sure she can eat and drink with the cone on.

Move her bowls away from the wall so she can reach them. If the cone is too long for her to eat comfortably you have two options. You can hold her bowl up for her or feed her by hand. Or you can take the cone off only for meal time and put it right back on. If you choose to take the cone off for meal time, you will need to supervise her until you put the cone back on.

3. Don’t leave him alone for several hours.

The first several hours your furry friend is wearing an e-collar stay with him. Make sure he can get around on his own and reach his water before leaving him on his own.

4. Don’t feel bad about it.

Just like getting a bath or shots, this is for her own good. She will heal more quickly and experience less pain when you protect her wound. Give her a day or two to settle in and she won’t even remember she’s wearing a cone.

There is always the occasional pet that is the exception to the rule. Rarely, we will come across an animal that just WILL NOT wear an e-collar. If this is your pet, ask your veterinarian for advice for your situation.

Your doctor did their job, now it’s your turn. Though you may feel bad, remember that it’s in everybody’s best interest in the long run.

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