10 Comfortable Cone of Shame Alternatives That Work!

Less Stress Means Faster Healing

Many dog owners don’t realize how many cone of shame alternatives are available that are a lot more comfortable for your dog.

No matter what you call it – cone of shame, e-collar, Elizabethan collar, lampshade – the dog wearing it is miserable. And when our dogs are miserable, we feel awful.

Finding cone of shame alternatives is much easier today than it was as little as 5 years ago. Dog owners are an innovative bunch, and when they saw their dogs bang into walls and stairs while wearing the cone of shame they came up with some ingenious solutions!

The cone-shaped collar (Elizabethan collar, or e-collar for short) was invented for good reason: to keep pets from chewing, licking, or scratching at wounds, stitches, or allergic hot spots so that the wounds can heal.

Some dogs adjust to their cone of shame and learn to successfully navigate with it on, but for many the collar is a source of fear, pain (from whacking into walls and stairs), and depression.

Fearful and shy dogs may shut down, and even non-fearful dogs can become fearful when the collar catches on a stair or wall and jerks them to a painful stop.

Other dogs have trouble eating and drinking with the cone on, and rely on owners to notice and take the cone off periodically so they have access to water and food.

Important Considerations When Choosing a Cone of Shame Alternative

Before you start looking at different cone of shame alternatives, you need to think through the following details to be sure you buy a product that will work for your specific dog and its particular issue.

1. Wound location

What part of the body are you trying to keep your dog from chewing/licking? Trying to keep your dog from chewing its tail vs. lick its front paw may make one product better suited than another.

2. What things will irritate or scare your dog?

  • Velcro sound
  • Navigating with limited vision
  • Sudden banging or sounds caused by hard plastic products

3. What other traits of your dog do you need to factor into the decision?

  • Chewing tendencies (is a bodysuit enough to deter your dog, or will they grab it with their teeth and try to pull it off, or chew the affected area through the cloth?)
  • Energy level of dog (ie will they constantly bang into things and a soft cone alternative or neck/body one would be better)
  • Confidence or lack thereof (fearful or jumpy dogs will need soft/quiet deterrents, and also may shut down if their vision is blocked)

Word of Caution:

You need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of trying a cone of shame alternative. There are times when, for the safety of your dog, you need to use a cone.

In those cases you can look at modified cones that might help (foam, clear plastic, etc) make it a little easier for your dog.

A friend of mine whose dog was having trouble with the traditional cone taped socks on her dog’s foot after foot surgery. She came out the next morning to find the dog had pulled the sock off and chewed the incision open – down to the bone! She had to pay for a second surgery – OUCH.

Neck-Based Solutions

**Note: this post contains affiliate links. No one paid me to recommend these products, I recommend them because I like them! By using the link to buy the products you are helping support happyynaturaldog.com**

Kong Cloud Collar

kong cloud collar cone of shame alternative

This dog cone alternative has an inflatable center that you blow up (full but not hard) then thread your dog’s collar through the interior of the pillow. It gets mixed reviews: some people say it was perfect and kept their dog away from things like surgical incisions or hot spots, others say the dogs figured out ways to get to the forbidden areas, or pulled the collar off over their head using their paw. My friend had a dog that somehow got enough of a tooth on it to pop it!

Best bet is to watch your dog carefully at first. Some people use this type of collar in the day if they are around their dog to keep a watchful eye on them, but switch to a cone-shaped option at night

Pros

  • Dog can eat and drink with collar on
  • Vision not blocked
  • No banging into stairs and corners
  • Less scary than e-collar
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Can’t put head down on ground while resting, collar gets in way
  • Some dogs can reach surgical incisions or areas like the tail or back end
  • Some dogs are able to pull the collar off over their head

Inflatable Protective Dog Collar

This collar is similar to the Kong Cloud Collar but has the addition of a strap that goes around the dog’s chest. This prevents the dog from manuevering the collar over their head and off, which some experience with the Kong Cloud Collar.

It has the same pros and cons as the Kong collar, with the exception of the advantage of the chest strap making it impossible for the dog to pull it over their head using their paw.

The BiteNot Collar

Bitenot collar cone of shame alternative

The BiteNot collar looks like a human neck brace. It wraps around your dog’s neck, preventing them from bending their neck, thus limiting their ability to reach most parts of their body. The collar is adjustable and secures with Velcro, then has a strap you thread underneath your dog’s front legs to prevent them from pulling it off over their head.

The product’s description lists areas protected by the collar as back, rump, base of tail, flanks, chest, abdomen, and genitals (even feet in small breeds).

Pros

  • Dog can eat and drink with collar on
  • Vision not blocked
  • No banging into stairs and corners
  • Less scary than e-collar
  • Dog can lay head on floor (to sleep, etc)
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Does not protect your dog’s ears, face, lower back legs, or end of tail
  • Some dogs may get wigged out by the lack of neck movement
  • Sizing important or it will chafe shoulders or ears
  • Skin may become hot/uncomfortable under the collar

Body-Based Solutions

suitical recovery suit dog cones alternatives

Suitical Recovery Suit

The suitical recovery suit is a great dog cone alternative for stitches and hotspots on the dog’s torso. It is made from a lightweight and breathable fabric that allows the wounds to get air for healing. There is a flap under the tail that you can unsnap, roll up, and secure for potty breaks.

Overall the suit gets extremely good reviews; most frustrated people complain that their dog ripped a hole in the suit. Common sense dictates that if your dog is miserable enough to try to chew or scratch through the material a suit like this won’t work.

Side note: some people mentioned using it for incontinence and dogs in heat by attaching a pad inside.

Pros

  • Lightweight & breathable
  • Dog can eat and drink
  • No vision block or body movement restriction
  • Machine washable
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Won’t work for aggressive scratchers/chewers
  • Needs flap folded back for potty breaks
  • Only protects torso (not legs, tail, face, ears)
suitical recovery sleeve cone of shame alternatives

Suitical Recovery Sleeve

I think this is a genius idea. This product is for a dog with a wound or chew spot on only one front leg. It eliminates having to wrestle a full suit on the dog, and possibly make the dog more uncomfortable or hot than necessary. I only wish I had known about this when my recent golden retriever Moose had an inoperable growth on his foreleg. Bandages would slide down his leg, this sleeve would have been perfect.

The recovery sleeve is lightweight and breathable and secures with a calming wrap-around chest band that uses snaps and Velcro to get a snug fit. It can be used on either front leg.

Pros

  • Lightweight & breathable
  • Only covers the leg that needs it
  • No body movement restriction
  • Machine washable
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Specific coverage – only protects one front leg.
dog recovery hip and thigh sleeve dog cone alternatives

After Surgery Wear Hip and Thigh Recovery Sleeve

I tried to find a dog cone alternative for people who need to keep their dog from chewing on a back leg, and this fit the bill. It is made of 98% cotton (2% lycra) so is breathable and light, and also is machine washable. It is adjustable for a good fit, and is reversible so can be used on either back leg.

Pros

  • Lightweight & breathable
  • Only covers the leg that needs it
  • No body movement restriction
  • Machine washable
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Specific coverage – only protects one back leg.
Proforpets dog suit cone of shame alternative

POPforPETS Dog Post Operation Protection Shirt

This dog cone alternative has both front legs and torso coverage. The advantage is that potty breaks don’t require you to roll back and secure a flap (though it requires a little suit modification for male dogs), the disadvantage is that there is no back leg skin coverage.

Pros

  • Lightweight & breathable
  • Dog can eat, drink, and potty (male dogs need suit modification as described on website)
  • No vision blocking or body movement restriction
  • Machine washable
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Won’t work for aggressive scratchers/chewers
  • Only covers torso and front legs (not back end or head)

Modified Cones of Shame

Some pets are more determined to scratch or chew than others and find ways to thwart the above products. Owners can still avoid the hard plastic e-collar by getting one of these cleverly modified versions:

comfy cone of shame alternative

Original Comfy Cone by All Four Paws

The comfy cone is exactly as its name implies, you get the effectiveness of the traditional hard plastic cone of shame without the hard uncomfortable plastic.

The cone is soft, ½ inch foam covered with water-resistant nylon that is both protective and sturdy yet soft and yielding as the dog moves around.

Its design allows you to fold the edges back to allow the dog to eat and drink, and the foam makes it soft and comfy when the dog sleeps with it on.

It has three sizing strips to adjust to the right size.

Pros    

  • Soft/padded
  • Effective for tail/back end wounds
  • Water resistant & machine washable      

Cons                           

  • Blocks vision
  • May catch on stairs, doorways, etc.
  • Velcro fastener may scare some dogs
  • Interior can become hot/humid
alfie pet collar cone of shame alternatives

Alfie Pet Recovery Collar

This has got to be the cutest dog cone alternative on the market! Like the Comfy Cone, it provides a soft, more comfortable alternative to the traditional cone of shame, which can lessen your dog’s stress.

It has a Velcro closure that is adjustable (not infinitely but has two strips of Velcro to choose from) and is machine washable.

Pros    

  • Soft/padded
  • Effective for tail/back end wounds
  • Machine washable     
  • Economically priced

Cons                           

  • Blocks vision
  • May catch on stairs, doorways, etc.
  • Velcro fastener may scare some dogs
  • More prone to folding back (away from head) when caught on something
alfie pet soft collar dog cone alternatives

Alfie Pet Soft Recovery Collar

This cone of shame alternative has the same shape as a traditional cone but is made of a flexible, bendable material. It is lightweight, durable, water repellent, and machine washable. It is attached using a drawstring around the neck so can adjust to the neck size of the dog within reason.

Pros    

  • Lightweight
  • Effective for tail/back end wounds
  • Machine washable     
  • Uses a string tie (good for dogs afraid of Velcro sound)

Cons                           

  • Blocks vision
  • May catch on stairs, doorways, etc.
  • Interior can become hot/humid

Helpful Harness if Your Dog Has Leg Surgery

This next product isn’t a cone of shame alternative, but can be very helpful in addition to a dog cone alternative.

If your dog has a leg injury that makes it hard for them to balance or get up from lying down, this harness is a lifesaver and is SO much easier than trying to use a towel as a sling!

Ruffwear Webmaster Harness

Ruff Wear Webmaster Harness
Ruff Wear Webmaster Harness

Correct Measurement is Critical When Choosing a Scratching or Chewing Deterrent

OK folks, this is important: before you buy, READ THE MEASURING INSTRUCTIONS!

Yes direction-skippers, I’m talking to YOU.

As someone who drives her husband crazy by never reading directions before doing things, this is one time that I can attest that reading directions will not only be helpful, it will save you time and money.

Measure exactly what the instructions tell you to measure. If you still aren’t sure, email or call the seller/manufacturer and clarify before you order.

…and Don’t Forget to Read Reviews too!

When choosing a cone of shame alternative, read the reviews! Each cone or cone alternative has its own issues. Some mentioned that the neck runs small, on others they cautioned to size up if you were between sizes to make sure the cone was long enough.

Reading reviews can be very helpful, but you can’t take them all to heart; I guarantee you that, as with any product reviews, you will find one that says it’s perfect and one that says it’s awful.

Take some of them with a grain of salt: if the person says their dog is an aggressive chewer and there is a hole in the bodysuit, that’s probably not a fault in the product, just a bad product choice for an aggressive chewer.

If sizing is involved, many times the reviews or questions will contain information helpful to measuring correctly as well as descriptions of how well it fit their breed.

Look for repeating trends. If person after person says the cone rubbed on their dog’s neck and irritated the skin, that’s something to take note of. If one person out of 800 reviews did, then it was probably specific to that dog’s build or breed and I wouldn’t worry too much.

Also, look for dog situations that match your dog’s. For example, if you are getting it to use for a spay recovery, search the reviews for the word “spay.”

Cone of Shame Alternatives Can Help Your Dog be More Comfortable

dog in jacket

Choosing a dog cone alternative is highly dependent on your dog’s personality, shape, and the location of the wound or hotspot. Think carefully about the “important considerations” noted at the beginning of this article and choose the one that best fits your dog’s situation.

Kudos to you for trying to make your dog as comfortable as possible while they are healing.

Do you know of another cone of shame alternative not listed in this article? Mention it below in the comments so other readers can read about it and learn why it worked well for your dog.

Naturally,

Karen

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Karen Pedersen Written by:

Karen is an independent copywriter who loves dogs and everything about them. She is married to Scott, has 4 kids, and likes to take a natural and holistic approach to living and pet ownership.

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