Caitlin UltimoPet Parenting / Pet Supplies

Choosing The Right Cone For Your Post-Surgery Dog

It’s hard when your dog has a procedure, routine or otherwise. We worry and fret about our four-legged family member. The hardest part is sometimes the recovery. Getting some dogs to leave their wound alone so it will heal can be a real challenge.

Having the right Elizabethan collar (e-collars or cone) for your dog can really make a difference in their recovery time and prevent you from having to take them back to the vet to repair damage or fight off an infection from licking.

But which cone will work the best on your dog? Here are some of the most popular types of cones, and what kind of dog they work best on.

Traditional Plastic Cone

These cones are the most common. Vet give them to you when you leave the clinic and most of us use them because they are free.

Good for:

  • Medium to large dogs
  • If the wound is on the head, this style has the longest “protection area,” making it hard for the dog to scratch the injury
  • Dogs with ear hematomas because they prevent blood from splattering everywhere if they open up
  • Easy to clean


  • Fairly easy for dogs to get off themselves
  • Some dogs can still reach their wounds if they are located on the back half of the dog
  • They are hard, making them uncomfortable
  • A lot of dogs have a hard time moving around, drinking, and eating with them on

Fabric E-Collar

Shaped much like the traditional e-collar, these cones are usually made a padded nylon-type fabric.

Good for:

  • Medium and large dogs
  • Bends easier, so dog can lie down, eat, etc. more comfortably
  • Some styles have a drawstring and Velcro that make adjusting the size better than traditional cones


  • Because they bend, dogs can bend them and get to their injury sites
  • Velcro gives them a “limited life” and can be a pain on long-haired breeds
  • Hard to clean

Inflatable Cones

Looking a lot like a donut cushion for a person who broke their tailbone, these cones have some great positives and a few negatives.

Good for:

  • More comfortable for the dog than the traditional plastic cone
  • Easier for them to get around
  • Brachycephalic dog because it’s easier to put on and harder for them to take off
  • Harder for any dog to take off


  • Since they do not have the long projection-type cone, dogs can reach some injuries depending on shape of body and place on injury.
  • Dogs with long bodies who have an injury on the back half of their body
  • Tail injuries – most dogs will be able to reach their tail with this cone on
  • Face injuries – dogs may be able to scratch with their hind feet, or against another object with this cone.


The other option is to make your own. A dog trainer friend of mine, Sherry Nativo, has an Italian Greyhound that need surgery on her mouth. After trying all the different kinds of collars with either the Sadie being too uncomfortable to lay down and/or being able to reach her wounds, she decided to make her own.

She took kennel leashes (you could use string, ribbon, whatever), wrapped them in towels to the diameter she needed and then tied it around her dog. You will need to put tape around the towels at a few points to secure them from unrolling. The end result looked similar to the donut cone, but she could add or subtract towels to make it big enough that Sadie couldn’t get to her wounds, and the softness of the towels gave her a nice pillow to lay on.

Posted by: Chewy Editorial

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