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Cone of Shame Alternatives to Promote a Safer Dog Recovery

by Geoff Works |

Dogs are known to be loving creatures, but they can also be adventurous, and oftentimes, fearless. No matter how much we take care of our pets, accidents and injuries can happen. But what you can do as a dog owner is to be prepared.

When a dog is injured, it takes them a lot of energy, strength, and flexibility to perform simple movements such as walking, scratching, and standing. Injuries also prohibit them from being their active and social self. In many cases they are not able to chase squirrels, play with other dogs, or greet you playfully when you walk into the house.

One of the most common solutions used in conjunction with treating a dog’s injury is the Elizabethan collar, E-collar, or simply a cone. It is popularly known as the “cone of shame” as it was deemed a form of “punishment” for misbehaving dogs. Wearing one makes them look like lampshades that may look adorable to some but these lamp shades can be a dog’s worst nightmare.

While the cone is a popular choice, it’s not always effective for every pet, and in some instances it could even do more harm than good. There are many alternatives that promote a more comfortable recovery for your furry companions injuries.

Why Do Dogs Wear Cones?

The cone of shame is a protective device that’s placed around your dog’s neck. It’s designed to stop your dog from scratching its head and licking its body, including wounds, surgical incisions, and other injury sites. Licking these parts is an instinctive response and should not cause any alarm. However, it keeps the wound moist and may result in possible infections. The area can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Some wounds heal faster without any form of interference. The cone is handy because it acts as a protective barrier from your dog’s tongue to their wound. It stops them from having access to their injury for healing and recovery.

Disadvantages of the Cone of Shame

There are many e-collar side effects pet owners are not aware of. Here are some of them:

Difficulty eating and drinking

The cone is large and extends a few inches past a dog’s nose. When dogs lower their heads to the bowl, the cone gets in the way. This limits the neck’s range of motion, making eating and drinking more challenging.

Limited natural movements

One of the key senses that a dog uses is its sight. The cone restricts them from looking at you whenever you throw a toy, if you have a treat for them, or if they just want to glance at their favorite human.

Because their sight is limited, your dogs can also experience difficulty navigating indoors. They would keep bumping into furniture, falling down the stairs, and getting stuck in between chairs, which could lead to further injuries.


Dogs would just prefer to lie still, but even that can be uncomfortable. Some like to lie on their back or sleep in the funniest position possible, which they can’t do when they have the cone on. The protective device can be agonizing for them. They won’t have the liberty to move around or cuddle with you in bed when they feel like it.

Inability to play

Dogs are naturally playful creatures. They love to run around, chase after each other, bite a playmate’s leg, or even lick you. Another e-collar side effect is that it limits the usual activities your dogs can do. You would notice a significant decline in their energy because they can’t play with you or other dogs. This hindrance can increase their boredom, which can lead to depression.

Damage to furniture

The rigid material of the e-collar is excellent at staying in place on your dog’s neck. However, whenever your pet tries to move around, the material can cause damage to your doors and interior plasterwork. Moreover, some dogs try to remove the cone by running into furniture at full speed, which not only damages your equipment but can also result in more injuries.

Inability to use doggie doors

Doggie doors are designed to be a perfect fit for your dog. They allow dogs to quickly get in and get out of a room without the need to open the door. When you put a cone on your dog, it becomes a “part” of their body which doggie doors weren’t built for. If your dog tries to use them, you would just see their heads peeking out from the hole.

Choosing the Right Cone of Shame Alternative

When looking for the perfect cone of shame alternative for your dog, you should consider the following factors:

Wound location

Know which part of your dog’s body is healing. An injury on its paw may require a different product than with a wound located on its leg. There are specially-designed devices that work best in treating various wounds.

Dog triggers

Protective devices are built with different materials and are designed in various ways. These can be a trigger for them. For instance, some have a Velcro feature to secure a strap into place. The velcro ripping sound may be irritating for some dogs.

Another example is the sudden banging noises dogs hear whenever they bump into something. The hard plastic material and the cone-shaped design can amplify the sound and make your dog anxious.

Cone of Shame Alternatives

Check out these cone of shame alternatives for dogs and find one that best suits their needs.

Lick Sleeve

The Lick Sleeve is a dog sleeve protective device designed by a veterinary surgeon. It has a sure-fit design that lets you slip the garment onto your dog’s leg comfortably. Moreover, it enables natural movement and activity with its breathable and flexible fabric.

The Lick Sleeve offers 100% knee area coverage which when pet owners were given the option stayed on 3x longer than the cone of shame. It covers everything from the ankle to the hip, so your dog is protected from dirt. It also prevents abrasions, scratching, licking, and biting.

This protective garment is built with a reliable strap and quick-clip buckles for easy and fast removal. You can use the Lick Sleeve on either side of hind legs. Some have even gone as far as adapting it for front limb recovery.

Inflatable Collars

These collars act like a cone without the hard plastic material and restriction in vision. You place the device around your dog’s neck and blow it up at a secure and comfortable tightness. Many dogs have figured out how to remove the device over their head, so some inflatable collars are designed with a chest strap for more security.

No Bite Collars

No Bite Collars look like a human neck brace. Its design features an adjustable Velcro, collar brace wrapped around your dog’s neck, and a strap placed in its front legs. They can’t reach most parts of their body as they cannot bend their necks.

Recovery Suits

The recovery suit covers the entire torso of your dog with a lightweight and breathable fabric. It also extends to its neck for maximum protection. It has specific holes for their leg and has a flap underneath the tail which you can remove for potty breaks. This design allows free and natural movement. However, because it covers a large part of the dog’s body, owners complain that their dog eventually rips a hole in the suit.

Post Operation Protection Shirt

This device looks like a shirt for dogs. It functions as a recovery suit but without the need to roll and secure the flap when they need to go for a potty break. However, post-operation protection shirts only cover the front legs and torso; there is no rear leg coverage.

Visors and Head Guards

These types of protective devices value your dog’s sight and hearing. It uses clear plastic in covering your dog’s face, sort of like a mask. Visors and head guards are best for dogs who have injuries on their face and head area. Blind dogs can also benefit from visors and head guards as it prevents them from bumping into objects. They come in a variety of sizes that can fit short, long, and normal-sized snouts.

Help Your Dog Recover Faster

Recovery is a crucial phase for your dog. Apart from being physically present as your dogs beckon call, the best you can do to help is to provide them with protective devices. These cone of shame alternatives offer different benefits and can aid in various injuries and conditions. Be sure to pick the one that best suits your dog’s needs.

Explore our website to know more about the Lick Sleeve.

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