8 of the Best Alternatives to the “Cone of Shame”

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 11/10/20 •  8 min read
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Has your pet had to wear the “cone of shame” after a surgery or other medical condition? If not, you’ve probably seen dogs with the notorious plastic cone around their necks. Just what are these cones for, anyway?

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The Elizabethan Collar

The name “Elizabethan Collar” may bring to mind British queens wearing decorative lace collars, which sit on their shoulders, just behind the head. This article isn’t dealing with that type of collar, but instead, we’re talking about a plastic medical collar, also known as an E-Collar, pet cone, pet lampshade, pet radar dish, or even as the “cone of shame.”

“The Cone of Shame”

The “cone of shame” is usually worn by dogs and other pets. It’s shaped like a cone and is worn around your pet’s neck—usually attached to your dog’s collar. The cone keeps your dog from biting, licking or scratching at wounds on its head, neck or other parts of their body as the injury heals.

Pets don’t appreciate the E-Collar, as the cone is uncomfortable it makes their lives difficult. Your dog may find it hard to lay down, eat, drink or even sleep. However, these days cones are made of other materials that may be more comfortable for your dog.

You’ll find there are three basic types of dog cone of shame alternatives, including:

These types of E-Collars are available at many pet supply shops, but you can even make your own DIY cardboard dog cone.

We’ll take a look at the various alternatives to the “cone of shame,” and their pros and cons later in the article. First, let’s consider how to shop for the right collar for your dog.

How to Shop for a Dog Cone of Shame Alternative Collar

Getting the proper fit is important, so be sure to measure your dog carefully before buying a “cone of shame” alternative. If the collar is a cone-shape, then it must go past your pet’s nose to block areas that need to heal. You could even add another inch to account for your dog’s tongue. Use your dog’s collar to measure the base of the cone, as that will be around your dog’s neck. This will give you the proper neck measurement, so the cone won’t be too loose or too tight.

Next, consider the wound or injury’s location. Some types of collars, such as neck control collars or inflatable collars will not keep your dog from accessing his head or face.

These types of collars will also not block your dog from licking its lower legs or paws

Once you’ve decided on the right collar, be sure to test it on your dog. Make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible and is able to eat and drink without problems. Don’t leave your dog alone while wearing the E-Collar until you’ve ensured your dog is safe and that the collar works as needed.

Now, let’s take a look at some “cone of shame” alternatives.

Neck Control Collars

Neck control collars are one alternative that isn’t a cone at all. In fact, this type of collar resembles the neck brace often worn by people who have neck injuries. This type of collar may offer your pet a little more comfort: they won’t run into things and your dog can easily eat, sleep, etc. with more comfort. However, the neck control collar may still be uncomfortable, as it restricts some activities.

Neck control collars are generally best for dogs who have injuries or other problems on their upper extremities. The collar doesn’t keep your dog from biting their paws, legs or tail.

The BiteNot Collar is a popular version of the neck control collar. This collar is machine washable, but it not recommended for protection of their eyes or ears.

The KVP Bite Free Collar is another version of the neck control collar. This collar will keep your dog’s head and muzzle from reaching any area behind their neck. Not only that, but this collar can be trimmed for a custom fit.

The Soft Dog Recovery Collar

The soft dog recovery collar offers both affordability and comfort, while acting as a mild deterrent to keep your dog from accessing his injuries or wounds. These collars give your dog more mobility, while allowing them to enjoy everyday activities.

Soft dog recovery collars are made from soft fabric in the shape of a cone, and are lightweight, flexible and even water-resistant. These collars may be fitted to your dog’s neck, fastened with a ribbon—be sure to use a double knot to keep the collar on your dog. The soft fabric of this collar can flip over, allowing your dog to access their wounds. In this case, a soft collar may require you to supervise your dog, rather than leaving them alone while wearing the collar. Soft recovery collars are best for dogs that are calm and relaxed, with back or upper extremity injuries.

The Aflie Pet Recovery Collar is a cute option for your dog. The E-Collar is made of soft fabric, which resembles the main of a lion. The collar even includes “lion ears,” to make the resemblance even cuter.

The SunGrow Pet Cute Comfy Cone is another cone of shame alternative. This cushioned recovery cone is not only cute, but soft and cushiony. This cone offers cuteness and comfort during your dog’s recovery.

Inflatable Dog Cone Collars

Haven’t found the right collar for your dog yet? Then consider a blow up dog cone collar. This is another good dog cone of shame alternative. Inflatable cone collars aren’t recommended for dogs that like to chew, as they will easily chew off the collar. However, some owners use these collars for supervised breaks, to give their dog a break from the hard plastic E-Collar.

This type of collar is sometimes made from scratch and bite resistant fabric, with a separate blow up inner tube. Fastenings may be Velcro or some other type that comfortably keeps the collar on your dog. One of the issues with an inflatable cone collar is that your pet may still be able to turn and access any injury or wound on his back or lower extremities.

The Kong Cloud is an affordable inflatable cone collar that’s washable and made from fabric that won’t rip or tear.

The Scenereal Protective Inflatable Dog Collar is another soft, inflatable cone collar for your dog. This collar has scratch and bite-resistant washable fabric. The soft contours will make your more comfortable than a traditional E-Collar, while offering protection for wounds and injuries.

Homemade Dog Cone Collar

Another option to consider is a homemade dog cone collar. One option is to use a regular neck pillow—the kind you use when traveling. These U-shaped pillows are sometimes inflatable or stuffed—either version will work. One way to attach the ends behind your dog’s neck is to use a binder clip; the type of heavy-duty binder clip you use at the office to hold a large bunch of papers together. The binder clip is difficult for your dog to remove. The only issue with this homemade dog E-Collar is the fit. You may have a hard time getting the neck pillow to fit securely around your dog’s neck.

You can also choose to make a DIY cardboard dog cone collar with materials you already have at home. Your DIY cardboard cone collar can be made with regular cardboard or even a poster board. You’ll need a large piece of cardboard for this project.

To get the proper fit, use the diameter of your dog’s current collar and draw half a circle in a piece of cardboard. Then draw the outer edges of the cone —another semi-circle, with the interval between the inner & outer half circles about ½ the size of your dog’s collar. Then cut out the cone.

Next, use a hole punch to make some holes within the inner side of the cone. These will be used to fasten the ends together. The holes can be big enough to weave your dog’s cone through, or you can even use zip ties to fit the new cone to your puppy’s collar.

This is an easy and affordable DIY project, which will be a little more comfortable for your dog than the typical “cone of shame” hard plastic collar

As you can see, there are many “cone of shame” alternatives for your dog. You can choose from soft recovery collars, inflatable cone collars and even make your own dog cone collar. Follow our tips above to find the best cone collar alternative for your dog. Your pup no longer has to wear the hard plastic E-Collar, but can enjoy more comfort during his recovery.

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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