Tips to Help a Dog Wear an Elizabethan Collar

Introduction:

Anyone who has had a dog (or a cat for that matter) is probably familiar with the 'Cone of Shame' aka Elizabethan collar, E-collar, or Collar of shame for short. Even if you've never owned a dog, you've probably seen a pet on the end of a leash walking around with something looking like a lampshade on their head - that's an E-collar.

The E-collar is a hard plastic yet flexible cone that goes around the head to prevent the animal from licking, scratching or irritating an area that must heal. Named for the ruff that surrounded the collar of Elizabethan women back in the day, the e-collar restricts an animals' movement which can be both good and bad.

The below tips to help a dog wear an Elizabethan collar will help your dog adjust for the hopefully short time he must wear it.

Modify the Dog's Food Bowl

If you use one of those two-bowl feeders (one for food and one for water), your dog will not be able to eat while wearing an E-collar. You should use a single bowl and, in my experience (which is extensive), a taller, narrower bowl filled to the brim will make it easier for your pup to feed or drink water. Whatever bowl you choose, when your dog's head is down, the whole bowl should fit inside the collar so she can get to her dog food.

Elevating the bowl so your dog doesn't have to lean down while wearing the E-collar also might help him eat or drink more normally. But, depending on the dog, this might not work. Some dogs may rather lean all the way down to the floor.

Clean the E-Collar As Needed

Wipe down the inside and outside of the Elizabethan collar after each feeding or drinking of water. The thing will collect crumbs or become damp with water and can irritate your dog's neck if it isn't cleaned a few times a day. It's actually pretty interesting what collects in there throughout the day, especially is your dog is wandering around hopelessly looking for her favorite toy....

Monitor Your Dog's Movements Closely When First In the E-Collar

Sadly, it's sort of fun to watch a dog acclimated to an E-collar. As they try to maneuver, they may get stuck in the most interesting places, like under furniture or in the corners of rooms. If you have a Roomba robotic vacuum, you'll know of what I type.

Make sure to monitor your dog's movements while she's wearing the Elizabethan collar so that she doesn't trip and do further injury to herself. Be particularly careful when your dog is going up or down steps at first. Try to keep your dog from running while wearing the collar.

If your dog has to wear the Elizabethan collar for longer (such as a week or two), she will acclimate to it within a few days. You'll see her give a wider berth to corners or pick her head up as she comes up the stairs. The things that humans freak out about, dogs just seem to take in stride.

Attach the E-Collar Right to the Dog's Normal Collar

Some dogs will manage to wiggle a paw underneath the neck part of the E-collar and work it off - a very bad thing for both a wounded dog and your wallet when you have to go back to the emergency room for new stitches....

To avoid the Collar of Shame from being easily removed, tie the tabs on the bottom of the collar to the dog's regular collar. The E-collar should fit snugly but not tightly. Never ever remove the E-collar without the permission of the veterinarian.

If Your Veterinarian Oks It...

...only remove the E-collar if you are available to monitor your dog 100% of the time.

Some dogs will refuse to eat or go outside while wearing an E-collar so, if you must, remove the E-collar to allow the dog a bit of normalcy. And, again: DO NOT remove the E-collar unless you've verified with the veterinarian that it's ok, even if you're there to monitor. And, MONITOR you must! Do not turn your head, do not sip your drink, do not allow the dog out of your sight literally while the Elizabethan collar is off. Just one second can spell disaster for a recovering dog.




Final Thoughts

Make sure to keep your dog in the E-collar as long as recommended by the veterinarian. Do not second guess the importance of this critical step in your dog's recovery.

Some dogs may show signs of depression while wearing an Elizabethan collar at first. Don't give in - this will pass and your dog will heal much quicker by making him wear the Cone of Shame. And, there's no need to feel sorry for your dog - he or she will walk around in a few days and not even notice the Collar of Shame is on...


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Comments

  • goodselfme 3/7/2013

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    Another h5

  • snowfence 2/18/2011

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    LOL I hate them e-collars! At times, they are necessary, though. Thanks for the tips! Hi5!

  • goodselfme 2/18/2011

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    I have had the experience of using an Elizabethan collar several times. You advice is correct with all the right info and cautions. Tough love for pets sometimes requires this recovery collar to be in place.

  • bossypants 2/18/2011

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    The Cone of Shame! Fortunately, we have not had to use this, but I have seen it and your description is accurate! You offer excellent advice for helping owners acclimate to the Elizabethan Collar.


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