HomeHealthBest Dog Cone Alternatives: Inflatable & Soft E-Collars, Protective Apparel & More

    Best Dog Cone Alternatives: Inflatable & Soft E-Collars, Protective Apparel & More

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    Few things are more miserable for our furry friends than having to don the rigid plastic “cone of shame” that restricts their movement, field of vision, and comfort. But that’s what you often get from your vet to protect your pup from licking and chewing at wounds or surgical incisions. Fortunately, several different protective products aren’t nearly as disconcerting as the old-school Elizabethan collar. Some work better than others, so we’ve reviewed some top-dog cone alternatives to help you find a better solution.

    At A Glance: Our Top Picks

    Table Of Contents

    What Can I Use Instead Of A Dog Cone?

    Depending on the area of your furry friend’s body that requires protection, you have several options to keep your pup’s mouth out of bounds. But any product you choose must keep your dog from licking and chewing at her wound or surgical site 24/7. They’re also helpful for keeping your dog from licking hot spots or irritated and inflamed skin.

    The bacteria in dogs’ mouths can cause infection and delay healing time. Even minor licking makes the site moist, which invites bacteria to spread. Excessive licking may re-open wounds, even those with stitches. And many dogs will chew out sutures, leading to severe complications.

    Some popular alternatives to hard plastic e-collars to help your pup heal include:

    • Inflatable e-collars
    • Soft fabric e-collars
    • Onesies/surgery recovery suits
    • Sleeves
    • Booties

    Best Cone Of Shame Alternatives

    We chose our top picks based on several factors, including how effective each product is at deterring licking, quality, comfort, customer feedback, pricing, and more.

    Best Inflatable E-Collar: Katoggy Inflatable Dog Cone Collar Review

    Katoggy Inflatable Dog Cone Collar

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    Inflatable e-collars are an excellent alternative to rigid cones because they’re more comfortable and don’t block your dog’s vision. This Katoggy collar is an inflatable PVC airbag with a soft plush cover for your pup’s comfort. Unlike with many cones, dogs can eat, drink, and move around much more easily while wearing this collar.

    You can attach the Katoggy to your pup’s existing collar with inner ring loops to secure it in place, and the opening has a velcro strap you can adjust for a perfect fit. It comes in four sizes, with the neck circumference ranging from 5-24 inches. And you can remove the airbag to hand wash the cover.

    Personal Experience

    I’ve purchased two of these for my five-pound older dog recovering from surgery and my 10-pound dog following neutering. This collar is easy to use and clean and comfortable for my dogs to wear. We had no worries about the dogs licking or chewing; these were highly effective in preventing that. Both were able to eat and drink with it on and move around much better than with the plastic cones.

    Danielle D., Canine Journal

    Pros Cons
    Fits securely and easy to adjust Doesn’t work for dogs with long snouts, bodies, or legs
    Doesn’t block your dog’s vision Some customers said their dogs were able to maneuver out of it
    Comfortable, plush material
    3-month free exchange warranty


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    Best Soft E-Collar: Magnificent Dog Cone Collar Review

    Magnificent Dog Cone Collar

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    Unfortunately, for some dog shapes and sizes or wound locations, there’s simply no way of getting around the need for a cone. But soft dog cones like our top pick are a better alternative to hard plastic cones. This soft cone is made with water-repellent padded nylon with a foam backing and transparent PVC on the top to keep the cone from collapsing.

    It’s available in four adjustable sizes, ranging from 9-24 inch neck circumference. And it’s easy to get an ideal fit with the wide velcro strip. It also has a reflective strip for nighttime walking and a safety strap that runs around your pup’s neck for extra security. This Magnificent soft cone gets overall excellent customer reviews.

    Pros Cons
    Better protection for some dogs than inflatable collars Too large and heavy for very small dogs
    Easy to put on and adjust Blocks vision
    Foam padding for comfort
    Water-repellent and easy to wipe clean


    Best Onesie: Suitical Recovery Suit For Dogs Review

    Suitical Recovery Suit For Dogs

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    The Suitical Recovery Suit is an excellent alternative to a dog cone after neutering, spaying, GI surgery, or for any wound on your dog’s abdominal area. The non-toxic four-way stretch fabric is comfortable and can also help your pup feel less anxious (similar to how a thunder coat works). The fabric is breathable, allowing air to circulate to the wound site for proper healing.

    This recovery suit is also a fantastic way to keep the site clean from dirt and debris that could cause an infection. The rear fastener is easy to pull back for potty time, and it’s available in 10 sizes to fit a wide variety of breeds. This suit gets rave reviews from pet parents.

    Pros Cons
    Keeps wounds protected, clean, and dry A few customers said it can be hard to figure out the right size
    Breathable cotton fabric
    Comfortable and doesn’t block vision


    Best For Hind Leg Protection: Buckwheat Dog Hind Leg Sleeve Review

    Buckwheat Dog Hind Leg Sleeve

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    The Buckwheat Hind Leg Sleeve is a fantastic Elizabethan collar alternative for dogs with rear leg wounds or hind leg and hip surgical sites, e.g., TPLO or hip dysplasia incisions. The breathable polyester fabric lets air in to promote healing while keeping your pup from getting to the site. And your dog can pee and poop without any adjustment to the suit. It’s available in 10 adjustable sizes with hook and loop straps at the neck and torso for a perfect fit.

    Pros Cons
    Keeps wounds protected, clean, and dry On the pricey side
    Breathable polyester fabric A few reports that it doesn’t fit well
    Comfortable and doesn’t block vision
    Made in the USA


    Best For Front Leg Protection: Suitical Recovery Sleeve For Dogs Review

    Suitical Recovery Sleeve for Dogs

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    If you only need to protect one of your pup’s front legs, the Suitical Recovery Sleeve may work well for you. It gets better reviews compared to similar front-leg sleeves. Like the Suitical Suit we reviewed above, this protective sleeve is constructed with the same breathable material. The design allows you to use it for either front leg, and it snaps closed for a secure fit. It’s available in eight sizes to fit a variety of breeds.

    Pros Cons
    Keeps wounds protected, clean, and dry Some complaints that the material isn’t durable enough to withstand determined chewing
    Breathable cotton fabric
    Easy to put on
    Comfortable and doesn’t block vision


    • Starting at: $32

    What About The Comfy Cone Or A Fun Option?

    Although these products didn’t make our top picks, they’re popular options that you may want to consider.

    Alfie Recovery Collar Review

    Alfie Recovery Collar Review

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    If you want to go for the cuteness factor, it doesn’t get much more adorable than the lion-head Alfie Noah Recovery Collar (it’s also available in cow, frog, monkey, sunflower, and other designs). This collar is lightweight, soft, and super comfortable. It comes in six velcro-adjustable sizes. While this soft collar won’t be effective for many dogs because it’s too flexible, it may work for small dogs or those who aren’t very active. You know your pet best and whether this will work or not.

    Pros Cons
    Adorable design Won’t work for pets determined to get to their wound
    Soft and comfortable Blocks field of vision
    Strong velcro closure Can flip back and forth
    Easy to put on and take off Gets wet from drinking water and in the rain


    Comfy Cone E-Collar Review

    Comfy Cone E-Collar

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    The Comfy Cone by All Four Paws is a popular soft e-collar alternative to rigid plastic cones. It’s made of foam-backed, padded nylon with plastic stays, which you can remove if your want a more flexible collar. It has three fastener strips, elastic loops to attach the cone to your pup’s collar, and a reflective edge for nighttime walking.

    The Comfy Cone is available in eight sizes, ranging from 9.25-28.25 neck circumference, and you can purchase a 2-inch extender for dogs with super thick necks. It gets a lot of positive customer reviews. The main complaints are that it obstructs vision too much and is heavy, making it difficult for some dogs to move around.

    Pros Cons
    More comfortable than rigid plastic cones Blocks field of vision
    Removable plastic inserts Heavy and bulky
    Has larger neck sizes than other collars we review here
    Water resistant and easy to clean


    Homemade Dog Cone Alternatives

    There are several different ways you can make a DIY dog cone alternative easily and cheaply. Here are two of our favorite methods.

    Pool Noodle E-Collar

    One popular method is to use a regular hollow foam pool noodle. All you have to do is cut the noodle into segments and slide them onto a classic dog collar, so they fit all around your pup’s head. You’ll just need to make sure the noodle’s circumference is large enough to keep your dog from reaching her wounds.

    Towel And Duct Tape (Video)

    Another DIY option is just as simple, but it has limations as all non-cone collars have. Check out this video from P.E.T.S., a nonprofit spay and neuter clinic in Texas, that demonstrates an easy way to use a towel and duct tape to make an e-collar for your pup.

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    How Can I Relieve My Dog’s Pain?

    If your canine companion is recovering from surgery or an injury or has a painful chronic condition, your pup may need help relieving her discomfort. You may want to learn more about the best pain meds for dogs as well as natural pain relief alternatives to medication. You and your veterinarian can discuss which options are ideal for your dog’s situation.

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