Best collar for dogs after surgery: not plastic cones!

Puppy in a platic collar

After surgery, your vet will usually give you (or sell you) a large plastic cone to put around your dog’s neck. This is to keep them from chewing on their stitches or scratching them in the case of head injuries. Our dogs never quite seem to get used to them. One of them tries to go through the doggie door with it on, the other actually moves furniture around with the cone! He walks by the table, the table leg catches on the plastic cone, and he just keeps going! Next thing you know the table is being pushed across the floor. (One time he actually jumped the fence and when running down the street … with a plastic cone on his head and 30+ staples in his stomach!) Two potential solutions come to mind:

  1. Hard plastic. If you decide to stay with the hard plastic cone, you can trim the cone. For most dogs, the cone doesn’t actually need to go much beyond your dog’s nose. This works really well for head injuries where you are just trying to keep the dog from scratching their ear, nose or face. Just take the scissors and trim around.
  2. Soft collar. There are a couple of different types of alternative collars like the Comfy Cone or the ProCollar. You can buy these before your dog comes home. Not only is the soft collar more flexible but it has the added benefit of being washable and more durable. (We never get more than one use out of the plastic cones from the vet.)


Any other solutions you know of?

15 comments for “Best collar for dogs after surgery: not plastic cones!

  1. Susan G
    May 26, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    The Cuddle Cone is another good e collar alternative that we’ve used for both our shihtzu and boxer. I’d rate higher than the comfy cone, which is a more abrasive material. Also available on Amazon.

  2. jim mardock
    July 8, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    The dog in the above picture has a blue soft fabric cone which I would like to obtain. Unfortunately this article does not mention what that is ! !

  3. stormy
    July 9, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Jim, how about this one or this one

  4. church
    February 18, 2016 at 11:31 am

    My girlfriend is a vet and the plastic cone is the best and trimming is wrong. 1 if your pet just had surgery and needs a cone, your vet should have told you. All activities outside should be on a leash. 2 if you trim the plastic cone too much the animal may be able to lick the incision open. This is bad because they think they’re helping, but honestly they make it worse. 3 the soft blue cones don’t help they can be folded back while you are unaware and the animal can do damage to themselves. 4 and last move food and water dishes away from the wall and change them to a paper plate or smaller dish. Your dog or cat will get use to the cone and learn how to move with it. Don’t feel it’s cruel or punishment. Think of the well being of your pet.

  5. stormy
    February 18, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Our vet is the one that told us to trim the plastic. I agree, you have to make sure your dog can’t reach the injury.

  6. Smokie
    June 15, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    With the large plastic cone, how can a dog feed or drink if the cone is NOT trimmed.

  7. stormy
    June 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    You could take it off for them to eat.

  8. Spla
    June 27, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    For my dog they need to have a hard plastic cone! Not the cheap plastic ones the vet give after surgery. My dog has chewed it up already,he needs a tough & sturdy plastic that he cant bite through or take off

  9. Jillj
    October 26, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    The hard plastic ones from the vet are awful if you have a large dog with a short snout. My American Bulldog ripped hers within 6 hours ramming it into things, so we had to trim it anyway so she wouldn’t injure herself or us on the sharp edges.

  10. Lia Johnson
    February 16, 2018 at 4:22 am

    I’m just looking for a *lighter* plastic cone. I have a Shepherd-mix and he has a long muzzle and his surgery was on his foot — I NEED to have this extend beyond his nose because he is good at maneuvering. (A boxer or Rottie, it wouldn’t matter as much, you can trim if necessary.) And the cone is the only thing that works. I’d think there would be more options on the internet but no luck so far.

  11. Ann Rohrbach
    March 13, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    I am looking for one for my dog. Can I buy it local? or online? Cost

  12. stormy
    March 13, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    You can buy it online from Amazon:

  13. Lisa
    April 12, 2018 at 3:24 am

    My Golden Retriever has a facial wound that is taking forever to heal because of his immune disorders. The soft collars aren’t sufficient because he can fold them back to scratch wound. The Novaguard would be perfect except fitting straps would be right over the wound, causing more irritation. Do you know of any other low profile guards that allow for ears to be free but don’t have interior fitting straps? I found a photo of one that looks similar to the Novaguard, just no interior straps. Unfortunately, there was no product name in the photo. I’m desperate to get my boy another option. 5 weeks in the cone is driving us both crazy. Thank you!

  14. Miranda Stevens-Clay
    April 16, 2018 at 9:40 am

    How about the no-lick neck brace produced by Balto and can be bought through

  15. Cane corso
    June 18, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    I currently purchased and am using calm paws caring collar, premium soft e-collar for dogs. It has flaps that velcrow back for feeding and eating, is a soft material but sturdy, and is machine washable.

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