The Elizabethan collar, also known as the e-collar and pet cone, might seem unfashionable, but it allows your pup's neutering wounds to heal without his intervention. Few dogs wear the cone of shame willingly, but some gauze, free space and the right type of cone prevent it from slipping off.
Gauze or Other Fabric
Look at the bottom of the e-collar and you'll see holes or a series of openings near the base. They'll usually appear wider than the other holes that are for the adjustable snaps. They exist so you can feed a section of gauze or other fabric through and tie it around your dog's neck or tie it to his collar. The gauze keeps the cone on when your dog smacks into a wall or tries to bat it off with his paws. The gauze may appear frayed and snap over time, so you'll have to keep an eye on it and replace it every few days. Make sure you can fit two fingers between the gauze and your dog's neck.
Size and Type
Fit your pup with an e-collar that's too small and he'll be able to lick away at his wounds. Get one that's too big and he'll have an easier time of flipping it over his head, even if it's secured with gauze. Cones usually come in sizes that depend on your pup's neck circumference, which you can get by wrapping a flexible tape measure around the largest part of his neck. The end of the cone should extend past your dog's nose by about 3 or 4 inches so he can't get his tongue out and lick his problem areas. If it extends much beyond 3 or 4 inches, he'll have an easier time of getting it off and a harder time eating and drinking. While e-collars come in several varieties, the adjustable ones work best, because they allow you to snap the e-collar around your pup's neck for that perfect snug fit. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your little guy's neck.
While your pup sports his cone, he's inevitably going to ram into walls, tip over chairs and generally be a destructive force in your house. After a bit of smacking into objects, the cone might slip right off his head. While you can't move your walls, you can keep chairs pushed in, open doors as wide as possible, and move light furniture around so that your dog has an easier time of moving throughout the area. It's also a good idea to block off narrow hallways and corners of the room to prevent his cone from getting stuck when he turns himself around.
Monitor Your Pup
One of the best ways to prevent your pup's e-collar from slipping off is to monitor him. Check for gauze that's coming untied or becoming frayed, make sure the snaps haven't fallen out of the holes and make sure your dog isn't hiding somewhere trying to remove the annoying cone. Your dog will learn that he's not allowed to mess with his cone when you're nearby, so he'll often try to put himself in a secluded room and work the cone off his head.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.