If your playful pooch has ever had surgery or suffered a large wound, there’s a good chance he’s had to wear an Elizabethan collar. These head cones may look shameful, but they are a useful tool to speed up the healing process.
What is an Elizabethan Collar?
Elizabethan collars, commonly referred to as E-collars, are one of the oddest looking devices in the dog world. They hug the dog’s neck and flare out over his head in a large cone shape, much like the extravagant human collars popular during the Elizabethan era. The collar sticks out far enough that the dog can’t bend his head to reach wounds or surgical incisions, allowing them to heal undisturbed. Most collars allow the dog to eat and drink normally, although they can be slipped off if your pup has trouble reaching his bowl.
Grab a sheet of thin, flexible cardboard and lay it on a table or counter. Remove your dog’s regular collar from his neck, and buckle it closed to form a stencil for the Elizabethan collar. Place the dog’s collar in the middle of the sheet, and trace around it with a dark-colored marker. Make a single cut from one outside edge of the cardboard, and cut out the traced circle. Slip the cardboard sheet over your pup’s head, and pull the cut edges together to form a big cone. Tape the edges together to keep the collar in place.
If the cardboard collar isn’t working, it may be time to raid your garden. Soak a plastic flower pot in warm soap and water, and scrub it thoroughly to remove any traces of soil or chemicals. Cut a hole in the bottom of the flower pot just large enough for your dog’s head, and slip the pot over his furry face. Push the pot gently down to the base of the dog’s neck, and poke a few small holes around the edge of the larger neck hole. Tie the pot onto the collar with thick string and you’ve got a simple, homemade Elizabethan collar.
Collars for Small Dogs
Tiny pooches require tiny gear, including tiny E-collars. A paper plate with a hole in the center makes a great collar for smaller dogs. If plastic’s more his style, cut a 2-liter soda bottle in half, and slice a hole in the stem side big enough for your dog’s head. To stop super small dogs, such as Chihuahuas, from licking, cut a circle in the bottom of a disposable plastic or foam drinking cup and slide it over the dog’s head.
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.