Humane Alternatives to the “Cone of Shame”
There’s a reason they call the plastic e-collars the “cone of shame”. A simple search online or on social media show dogs and cats wearing this cone and they look absolutely miserable. Some dogs and cats have been known to:
- Get emotionally depressed, howl or spin when they have to wear the E-collar.
- Knock items off furniture and end up breaking things or even worse – hurting themselves.
- Damage the cone by bumping into something or slamming into walls or objects with enough force to break the cone.
It’s also one of those items most dog and cat owners do not think about until they need it. I recall when Maggie had her spay; I dropped her off for her surgery and went to PetSmart to buy an inflatable collar for $32.
It was a little different with Orbit. We were lucky enough to be contacted by Pet Recovery Collars and sent various samples for us to try and here’s a few things I learned.
- We actually have a choice. Pet Recovery Collars have 9 different collars to choose from. This is because pets have different recovery needs. The location of what needs to be protected is different for every pet. Also some have long snouts, or short snouts. And the size of the necks and legs factor into the cone or collar or pillow your pet can wear.
- The rigid dog and cat cone e-collars were designed with one goal in mind: protection. However it doesn’t take into account sound, sight and mobility.
- For dogs that are coming out of surgery – they are groggy and confused. Wearing a pillow type of collar takes sight and sound into consideration. They can still see around them and the sounds are not amplified back into their ears.
- Pillow products allow for mobility while still providing protection.
- Purchasing them in advance of your pet’s recovery needs allow you to fit and try the correct collar to your dog or cat. Additionally you can get them used to wearing it so that they do not object to it when it is time for them to wear it.
- Having multiple kinds of collars actually are beneficial because sometimes your pet’s injury location will require a cone collar and sometimes all you need is a cushion pillow type of collar.
EZ Calmer – comfortable while still providing maximum protection
This collar started off being my favorite. The primary reason is that Orbit didn’t seem to mind it at all. It felt sturdy yet flexible. It also had a way to fold down part of the collar so Orbit could still eat and drink. I put this on Orbit prior to her spay to prevent her from licking obsessively at her back paws. I was treating her for yeasty paws and this provided enough protection and radiated out far enough so that it stopped her from being able to reach her paws. My sister’s dog Pepper was visiting us so I tried it on her as well. Mobility, comfort and ability to see and hear were top factors for this collar. The smallest size starts at $14.49.
Kong Cushion – high marks for vision and comfort
Initially I didn’t “try” the Kong Company Cushion collar on Orbit. Prior to her spay – she had itchy paws and she could still get to her back paws if she bent far enough.
However …. I wanted her to wake up from her surgery with the Cushion so that her sight and hearing would not be impaired while she was waking up in the crate at the vets. She came home with it – and didn’t seem to mind it at all. It radiated out far enough to prevent her from reaching her surgical spot on her belly. It also was super easy to clean. When she slept … it didn’t seem to affect her and even acted as a pillow. After using this collar I would confirm it is the best collar to use for spay and neuter recovery for dogs. They start at $12.99 for the smallest size.
Kong Cloud – fits like a neck pillow and lightweight
I tried the Kong Company Kong Cloud collar on Maggie. It is easy to inflate, has a fabric exterior, won’t scratch furniture, lightweight and machine washable. I will honestly say that neither of my two dogs had any “injuries” during the time we tried this dog pillow collar. It acts more like a “neck brace” and would probably be good if you’re protecting an area on the dog’s shoulders. But it doesn’t radiate out far enough to prevent the dog from licking paws as an example. That said – it also depends on the dog breed. This collar is best for dogs with short legs and thick necks – such frenchies and bulldogs where the cone is way too big for them.
And if you must use plastic E-collar – the EZ Clear is a superior product.
Some injuries and some dogs will still need a plastic E-collar dog cone for maxium protection. In those cases Pet Recovery Collar took the plastic e-collar and upgraded it as follows:
- Scalloped edges that “give” when dogs/cats bump into furniture and walls.
- Mesh type of construction in the plastic so that it “bends” in multidirectional ways to again “give” when it bumps against walls.
- Multiple Velcro fasteners so that the cone can be fitted to different size necks (whippets, and gray hounds vs. say a bull mastiff).
The smallest size starts off at $9.99.
Where to purchase Pet Recovery Collars
You can purchase Pet Recovery Collars via their website: www.petrecoverycollars.com where they collar all 9 different varieties and ALL sizes. Shipping is also included. Their Instagram account can be viewed via this LINK.
They are also available through Amazon however not all collars and not all sizes may be available at the time. Keep in mind there are a variety of “knock offs” on Amazon. Be sure to check who the store owner is – they should be listed under Pet Recovery Collars.