A dog wearing a “cone of shame” is not a happy dog. He bangs into everything, including the floor, wall and furniture. He can’t get to the food or water bowl. He’s hot and uncomfortable and grumpy. He’s also nervous and anxious. (For dogs who need to feel more relaxed wearing their cone of shame, check out our Bye Bye Pup Worries natural calming chew)
There are even worse complications. Dogs in shelters are often wearing cones because they’ve been neutered, and even though they may be perfectly healthy, these dogs have trouble getting adopted because they appear unhealthy. It’s a “Cone 22.”
But there are much better (and cheaper) options that the standard hard plastic cone you get at the vet’s office. Here’s some alternatives that might make your dog much happier while he recovers.
Kong Cloud Collar
Soft and cushy as a comfortable neck pillow, this inflatable Cloud Collar by Kong won’t interfere with eating, drinking or walking, and it won’t affect your dog’s peripheral vision either. Your dog will even be able to take a comfortable nap while he’s wearing it. It’s especially recommended for those dogs that are freaked out by the size and hardness of a traditional cone (which is basically all dogs).
Some consumers report that their dogs actually enjoy wearing them — what dog wouldn’t enjoy a portable, attached pillow? It’s machine washable, can be deflated for storage and it won’t scratch floors and furniture.
The downside? It doesn’t work for some dogs. This may be due to a seriously determined dog or where the incision or injury is, but some customers report that their dog is still able to reach the problem. But for the majority, it works like a dream.
“Excellent product, the loops on the inside that you put the collar through keep it firmly in place. Comfortable to wear as well.”
— SP, Amazon verified buyer
The collar costs from $10 to around $18, depending on the size (comes in XS to XL).
Calm Paws Inflatable Protective Dog Collar
This option can be viewed as a “system”; it’s made to be used with the Calm Paws Calming Disk Dog Collar Attachment, a blend of essential oils known to have a soothing effect on anxious dogs, which easily attaches to the inflatable collar. The collar’s blue color was chosen for maximum calmness. The lightweight, inflatable design is airy, and allows your dog to eat and drink naturally.
“My Doberman had to have TPLO surgery on her knee. I bought this for her, because she had to not lick her incision for 14 days. It was great, she could eat and drink with it on, and she used it as a pillow when she laid down. So much better then the cone.”
— ZBLC, verified Chewy buyer
Sizes go from XS to XL. The collar runs between $10 and $18.
Other inflatable collars
Similar to the Kong, but flatter on top.
“I highly recommend this collar and am thankful for an e-collar alternative for my clumsy, oversized guy.”
— Greg, verified Amazon buyer
Priced around $12 to $24.
Petal shaped, extra-strong collar; designed with a notch system so pets can’t wriggle out of it.
“Great! Kept my dog from licking her radiation burn on her back leg and allowed her more movement and better vision than a traditional e-collar.”
— W.L., verified Amazon buyer
Priced around $20 to $25.
Strong but soft and flexible, sits on the neck or shoulders.
“This is so much easier to use than a regular cone. Its also very strong, so you dont need to worry about it ripping. Ive been recommending this to all my dog owner friends!”
— Katya, verified Amazon buyer
It costs between $7 and $23.
Comfy Cone E-Collar for Dogs
These collars are shaped more traditionally, but the difference is the material. A soft, padded cone-shaped collar with removable stays for more structure, yet, allows more flexibility of movement. You can remove the hard stays and fold back the collar to make it easier for dogs to eat, drink and sleep. The collar direction can even be reversed to face backward for shoulder or upper back injuries, as well as IV lines.
The shape also allows your dog to get through doorways, pet doors and other opening. The design has reflective binding for outdoor safety. The dog’s regular collar threads through the elastic loops so the fit is secure but comfortable. Bonus: it is water resistant and repellant, so you can wipe it clean. The shape and fit is much closer to the traditional cone than the inflatables, so fussy dogs may still be unhappy.
The same rule applies: the collar’s effectiveness will depend on your dog. While this collar extends past the dog’s nose, if your dog is determined or stubborn, he may be able to get to the injury, but it’s been reported by most customers to be effective.
“It’s padded, well made and works perfect. I didn’t need to use my dog’s collar to secure the cone since it holds in place with the velcro and the size can be adjusted.”
— Denise, Amazon verified buyer
It comes in sizes from XS to XXL and runs anywhere from $9 to about $44.
Alfie Pet Recovery Collar
The cutest option by far, the Alfie Pet Recovery Collar has a lion design with little ears. Made of lightweight and comfortable plush fabric, the Velcro closure allows you to customize the fit. The collar extends past the nose, and most people report that it keeps their dog from getting to the injury.
And then there’s the design. When it’s on your dog, he looks like the King of the Jungle. (The company also has a pompom and sunflower style). It can double as a Halloween costume. The cuteness factor is off the charts.
“This cone is the perfect thing because everyone gives him so much attention for how cute he is, and that eliminates his desire to rip it off. He’s comfortable, happy, and no longer able to chew and lick himself.”
— Callie, Amazon verified buyer
It’s sized from XS to XXL and goes from around $14 to $16.
A soft, lightweight fabric option, it resists chewing and is flexible, but is mostly for smaller dogs.
“This is so much better than that ridiculous plastic cone the vet always provides. Much more comfortable for my dogs.”
— Kristy, Amazon verified buyer
Price is around $10.
A canvas cone with see-through “windows” for easy visibility.
” I specifically like this E-Collar because of it’s structure yet flexibility, ease of on and off because of the velcro adjustable closure and also because it can be secured onto your pet with a regular buckle collar.”
— Val, Amazon verified buyer
Priced between $14 and $20.
For the fashionista, a soft, fleece fabric option.
“I found this collar after doing a quick search, and I’m so happy I did. The collar is soft where she can lay on it comfortably on it. It not to heavy but a thick enough material to hold its shape.”
— J, Amazon verified buyer
Priced between $15.99 and $16.99.
The no-cone option
If your dog’s injury is on the body (rather than the paws) this post-surgical dog suit may be the answer. It’s basically a dog onesie with an adjustable fit and breathable fabric that is machine washable. Made from a cotton-lycra blend, it allows your dog to freely move around, yet, is still durable. Snaps are in the back, making it nearly impossible for your dog to remove and can be adjusted for a customized fit. A “potty cover” can be unsnapped.
“This has saved my life. Fantastic product. Lifesaver, whoever invited this suit deserves a million pound and like a 100 cupcakes or something.”
— Jane, Amazon verified buyer
It comes in black, pink camo or blue camo. Sized from XXXS to XXL and is prices from $28 to $32.
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