The Elizabethan collar, or as many pet owners ominously refer to it, the "cone of shame", is a notorious yet essential veterinary accessory for our furry companions following surgery or dealing with wounds.
While it's a staple in preventing self-inflicted aggravation of injuries, its reception among the four-legged clientele is far from favorable.
Fret not! The market brims with alternatives that promise less discomfort and more mobility for your pets while still offering the requisite protection.
Before we start, we'd like to remind you that while we're here for some pretty good advice, we should never usurp your vet's opinion. ALWAYS ask your vet before you opt for an alternative to an e-collar. They will be able to tell you whether any of the options below will work for your dog or cat.
Why opt for an alternative to a standard e-collar?
Now, upon a visit to the vet, you're likely to receive a standard plastic cone for your dog or cat. While functional for many, they may not be the one-size-fits-all solution, especially for pets with unique proportions or temperaments.
The common grievances with these plastic cones range from movement hindrance to discomfort (have you ever seen a dog try to eat with the cone of shame on?) to the unavoidable clattering against furniture, which is hardly a melody to a pet parent's ears.
Exploring alternative solutions might just save you and your pet from a lot of post-operative distress. Here’s a roundup of five less-awkward alternatives to the cone of shame.
5 solid alternatives to the cone of shame
Price: $13.99 - $19.95
Best for: Escape artists
Not suitable for: Cone-averse pets
Pros: The Remedy + Recovery E-Collar is akin to the traditional vet cone but with enhanced materials and softer edges, which make it more durable and less likely to cause irritation. It's also easy to wipe clean.
Cons: Pets averse to the traditional cone may still find this alternative uncomfortable due to its similar design.
Price: $15.98 - $27.98
Best for: Pets who are easily spooked by traditional cones
Not suitable for: Sharper-clawed felines
Pros: This collar is light, doesn’t obstruct peripheral vision, and is less likely to become a household hazard.
Cons: The material might not withstand the antics of pets with sharper claws, potentially leading to deflation and ineffectiveness.
Best for: Dogs
Not suitable for: Cats
Pros: The KONG EZ Soft E-Collar’s flexible fabric allows for comfortable movement, making it a great choice for active pets.
Cons: Its fabric might easily snag on a cat’s claws, and the design may not suit feline activities as well as it does for dogs.
4. Comfy Cone
Price: Around $35.54 (for large size)
Best for: Larger breeds
Not suitable for: Pets sensitive to weight
Pros: The Comfy Cone offers a sturdy construction, providing excellent coverage, especially for larger breeds, making it a reliable alternative. Cons: The downside is its weight, which may be cumbersome for smaller pets or those sensitive to having weight around their neck.
Price: $26.10 - $34.00
Best for: Comfort
Not suitable for: Outdoor use; leg wounds
Pros: The Suitical Recovery Suit presents a novel approach to wound protection, offering comfort and a sense of normalcy during the recovery phase.
Cons: It's not great for outdoor use and may not provide adequate protection for leg wounds.
Each of these vet cone alternatives addresses specific challenges posed by the traditional cone, aiming to make the recovery phase less daunting for both pets and their parents.
But remember, your pet's size, temperament, and the nature of their wound or surgery will dictate your options. And don't forget to ask your vet before you buy!
Are DIY cones of shame worth it? Probably not
Venturing into a DIY project for your pet's safety equipment, such as a "cone of shame," might seem like a personalized, cost-effective solution. However, this route may harbor more perils than perks. Here’s why fabricating your own cone could be a dicey endeavor:
Common household materials may lack the durability and safety features that professionally designed cones offer. They might break, have sharp edges, or not be pet-safe, which can lead to further injury.
Getting the right fit is crucial. A cone that’s too loose could easily come off, while one that’s too tight could cause discomfort or even choke your pet. Professional cones come in various sizes to ensure a proper fit.
Lack of effectiveness
A DIY cone might not effectively prevent your pet from reaching their wounds, which is a failure in its primary function. This could lead to wound aggravation, infection, or delayed healing.
The materials used might trigger allergic reactions in sensitive pets, exacerbating their discomfort.
Creating a DIY cone that’s both safe and effective can be a time-consuming task at a time when your focus should be on your pet’s recovery.
With a variety of professionally designed and vet-approved cones available on the market, opting for a tested solution that guarantees your pet’s safety and comfort is a wiser choice.
Investing in a professionally designed cone or one of its vet-approved alternatives is a small price to pay for your pet's safety, comfort, and quicker recovery. The market offers a plethora of options catering to different sizes, breeds, and recovery needs, providing a safer and more comfortable solution for your pet during their healing journey. So, before you reach for the scissors and cardboard, consider the potential risks and opt for a professionally designed cone that ensures the well-being of your furry companion.