No matter how careful we tend to be, our canine buddy suffering an injury is almost unavoidable. And Elizabethan collars are key to facilitating the quick recovery of pooches from these injuries.
So, what is an E-collar for dogs? An E-collar for dogs, also known as an Elizabethan collar or the cone of shame, is a cone-shaped structure designed to prevent a dog from licking or biting at its skin. These pet cones are typically worn around the neck, and when worn, dogs cannot access other parts of their bodies with their mouths.
Despite their funny-looking designs, Elizabethan collars serve an important purpose in a dog’s recovery process, and as a result, you can commonly find them being used on dogs. However, despite the good intentions behind the use of E-collars on dogs, doubts remain about how dog-friendly this procedure is, as well as its potential effects on pooches.
Doubts behind the use of Elizabethan cones for dogs, as well as steps you can take to make your pooch more comfortable with these collars, are outlined in this article. But before we delve into all that, let’s take a look at the basic appearance of these collars.
What Is An E-Collar For Dogs?
An Elizabethan collar is a special form of medical protective device that is worn around a pooch’s neck and is designed to prevent dogs from attacking a particular area or portions of their body.
The typical Elizabethan collar is a large plastic cone-shaped structure that is usually placed around a dog’s neck and head and sits just atop the pooch’s shoulders.
Elizabethan collars are designed in a way that the wider end extends forward and is level with the pooch’s muzzle. Consequently, when a pooch wearing this Elizabethan collar turns its head, it is unable to touch any part of its body with its mouth.
Elizabethan collars are typically purchased from vets or pet stores, but the simple nature of these cones means they can as well be easily designed at home using materials such as plastic, cardboard, or lampshades, just to mention a few.
What Is An E-Collar Used For?
Elizabethan collars for dogs are typically used to prevent dogs from licking their wounds. They will also help reduce a dog’s skin scratching tendencies, thereby preventing further injury to the wounded areas.
To Prevent Dogs From Licking Their Wounds
If a dog has an injury that is located on an easily accessible region of its body, e.g., on its forelegs, then you can expect the dog to repeatedly make attempts to lick and scratch at the injury, thereby impeding the healing process, and at times, complicating the issue.
Dogs are particular about self-grooming, and they typically believe that they need to lick their wounds to take care of them. And this will only end up doing more harm than good.
In such cases, vets typically recommend the use of Elizabethan collars to restrict the pooch’s access to these injuries, thereby preventing the dog in question from licking and scratching at them.
To Prevent Excessive Scratching
If a dog is excessively scratching at spots on its skin, either due to an allergic reaction or a skin infection, an Elizabethan collar is typically placed around the pooch’s neck to make it more difficult for the dog to scratch at its skin. And this, in turn, prevents the formation of hotspots and other forms of skin injuries.
To Prevent The Spread Of Infections
If a dog licks an infected region on its skin and subsequently goes ahead to touch another part of its body with its mouth, the chances are that the pooch will transfer the infection between both parts of its body. Elizabethan collars are used to prevent a pooch from further infecting itself in this manner.
How Long Should Dogs Put On E-Collars?
The duration of wearing E-collars is largely dependent on the severity of a dog’s injury, as well as the rate at which the pooch’s injury heals.
Typically, dogs put on the cone of shame for between 7 to 10 days, but the duration can be longer, depending on the severity of the pooch’s injury.
However, regardless of how long a pooch wears an E-collar, it is important that the cone stays on till the dog’s injury is significantly healed.
Why Do Dogs Hate Wearing E-Collars?
Dogs hate wearing these cones of shame because they tend to amplify noise while eliminating the pooch’s ability to locate the direction of the noise. Additionally, some E-collar designs are extremely stiff and can cause great discomfort to a pooch.
Inability To Play
Dogs love nothing more than to run and play around, but with the movement and vision limitations that typically come with wearing Elizabethan collars, playing becomes significantly difficult for dogs. And as a result, you end up with a miserable dog due to its inability to play.
The design of Elizabethan collars is such that the cone tends to amplify sound waves. And because the cone usually obstructs the pooch’s ears, they lose the ability to accurately judge where the sounds are coming from, thereby resulting in the pooch frequently losing balance and subsequently barging into objects.
Drinking And Eating Difficulties
Similarly, E-collars tend to make it difficult for dogs to eat and drink due to the protruding nature of the cone’s end. But this can be largely avoided by taking off the cone during meal times.
Restriction Of The Dog’s Vision
Additionally, with the way Elizabethan collars are typically designed, they tend to narrow down a pooch’s field of vision, thereby making it difficult for the dog to see from its sides and behind.
This causes difficulties for the dog when navigating narrow spaces, and you discover that the pooch in question tends to frequently bump into objects around the home.
Do E-Collars Hurt Dogs?
E-collars don’t necessarily hurt dogs, but the stiff nature of the cones means that they can be quite uncomfortable for dogs to wear for extended periods.
Most dogs will adjust to wearing E-collars after a few hours, but you can aid this adjustment process by keeping the pooch in a space where there are no movable objects that can cause the pooch harm when knocked.
Alternatively, you can make preparations beforehand and teach your pooch to be comfortable with an E-collar around its neck.
How Can I Make My Dog Comfortable With An E-Collar?
You can make your dog comfortable wearing an Elizabethan collar by training the pooch to adapt to wearing the cone and moving around with the cone around its neck.
While most dogs won’t have a problem with wearing an Elizabethan collar, there’s a small minority of pooches that will resist attempts to fit this collar around their necks, thereby setting up an interesting battle between pooch and owner.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, and by carrying out certain steps, you can convince your canine buddy to put on an Elizabethan collar without issues.
That said, the training steps you can implement to familiarize your pooch with an Elizabethan collar are outlined below:
- Hold the cone in front of your canine buddy, and reward the pooch with a treat anytime it shows interest in the cone. Don’t try to force the cone on the pooch.
- Repeat the process above till the pooch becomes comfortable in the presence of the cone.
- Place the cone with the wide opening facing the pooch, and reward the dog with a treat for any attempt to place its head into this wide opening. Once again, don’t try to force the pooch’s head into the wide opening.
- One trick you can try is to stretch a hand containing its favorite treat through the opening to encourage your pooch to put its head in there.
- Repeat the process described above till your dog is comfortable with placing its head through the wide opening.
- Once the pooch is comfortable with the wide opening, switch to placing the cone with the smaller opening facing the pooch.
- Reward the dog with a treat for any attempt to place its nose through the small opening. Additionally, you could also try the trick of stretching a treat through the opening to serve as an encouragement to the pooch.
- Leave the cone on your pooch’s head for a considerable period and reward the pooch for placing its head in the cone for longer periods.
- You can also try tapping the sides of the cone to accustom your pooch to the different sounds they’ll likely hear while putting on the cone.
- Rotating the cone while your pooch is putting it on is another important adjustment routine that should be carried out.
- Once your dog is comfortable with leaving the Elizabethan collar around its neck for considerable periods, take the pooch on short walks to help them adjust to the environment, as well as enable them to develop maneuvering techniques while putting on the cone.
Making Sure That The E-Collar Isn’t Too Tight
While the E-collar is around your Fido’s neck, you should check to ensure that it isn’t too tight; This can be done by feeling around the edge where the collar meets your pooch’s neck. If it is discovered that the E-collar is too tight for the pooch, you may need to make adjustments or use an entirely different collar.
Always Keep The E-Collar Clean
It is also important that the collar is constantly kept clean. And if you can’t clean while the pooch is putting on the collar, you can remove and clean the collar with a damp cloth.
However, while the collar is removed from the pooch’s neck, you should constantly check to ensure that the pooch doesn’t make a move to lick its injury.
Making It Easy For The Dog To Access Food And Water
While the Elizabethan cone is placed around your pooch’s head, you must ensure that the collar doesn’t, in any way, hinder the pooch’s feeding and drinking.
A correctly sized and placed collar typically doesn’t pose a challenge to the dog’s feeding. But if it so happens that a dog is finding it difficult to feed with the collar around its neck, you can take off the collar during mealtimes.
However, you should ensure to replace the collar as soon as the dog is done eating to prevent the pooch from licking its injury as dessert.
If you must place the pooch’s food and water on an elevated platform to guarantee easy access, then you should, by all means, do so.
What Can I Use For My Dog Instead Of An Elizabethan Collar?
If you’d rather not use an E-collar, or the cone of shame, for your canine buddy, there are several other alternatives worth trying. And some of these alternatives to an Elizabethan collar for dogs include:
Similar to Elizabethan collars, inflatable collars are typically placed around a pooch’s neck, but that is where the similarities end. Inflatable collars are considerably softer, and they also don’t restrict a dog’s field of view, thereby preventing accidents, such as knocking off the lamp, from happening.
Neck collars for dogs are similar to cervical neck braces worn by humans after undergoing surgery, and like inflatable collars, they also present a softer alternative to Elizabethan collars for pooches.
Special Recovery Suits
Special recovery suits are usually more expensive than the other options on this list, but they make a great option for dogs that won’t tolerate anything being placed on their necks.
The special recovery suit is a large piece of fabric that typically covers the entirety of a pooch’s body, thereby restricting access to injury sites. These suits can also be homemade by cutting up and sewing old t-shirts.