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As any dog or cat owner knows only too well, it can be a nightmare when their pets have to wear an Elizabethan Collar after they have either injured themselves or undergone any sort of surgery. Often referred to as the "cone of shame", it goes without saying that our pets absolutely hate wearing one of these contraptions. Not only do they look a little ridiculous, but whenever they move they just can't help knocking the edges of the cone on everything.
It has to be said, Elizabethan Collars are one of the most effective tools to stop a cat or a dog from licking and chewing at their wounds. However, wearing one can sometimes stress a dog out so much, they injure themselves just trying to get the cone off their heads. The other issue is that dogs find lying down and sleeping a little challenging too and some pets refuse point blank to eat or drink anything when wearing one.
As previously mentioned, this design is one of the most effective tools that prevents a dog from getting at a wound, an incision or even an irritating hot spot that's been driving them mad. However, it would be a mistake to put one of these collars of shame on your dog and then leaving them to their own devices because you have to keep an eye on things. You have to make sure your dog is eating, drinking enough water and able to do what dogs need to do which includes chilling out and sleeping.
If you find your dog is so stressed out when wearing an Elizabethan Collar that they refuse to eat or drink, the only option you have is to take it off in order for them to do so, remembering to put the collar straight back on once they have finished their food or had enough water. When it comes to bedtime, the first couple of nights might be very uncomfortable for your dog, but protecting the wound or injury is more important than anything else, so it's best to leave the collar on. A little discomfort over a short period of time far outweighs the fact your dog might lick and chew at their wound which could mean it takes longer to heal.
There are some alternatives to Elizabethan Collars that are worth considering although it really does depend on how determined your dog is when it comes to licking and chewing on their wound and more especially the stitches, as to which would be the best choice to use on them if any at all.
A comfy collar is like an inflated doughnut that goes around your dog's neck much the same way as a normal collar would. Wearing one prevents a dog from being able to get at their wounds. They are made out of strong inner tubes found inside a super tough fabric cover. However, they are not the best choice for all dogs and you should discuss whether it would be a good idea to use one on your pet with the vet who is treating them before investing in one.
If your dog has injured a paw, ear or other extremity, a vet might suggest bandaging the wound. However, dogs being dogs love licking and chewing on things and this includes bandages which they could end up swallowing. This naturally presents another health issue namely it could cause a serious digestive blockage!
You may be able to use a t-shirt that your dog could wear to prevent them getting at their wound or injury. However, it is almost impossible to keep an item of clothing in place when a dog is wearing one. This solution does however, work very well when used in conjunction with an Elizabethan collar, especially if they are determined to lick their wound.
Occasionally, you might be successful in preventing your dog from licking and chewing on an injury or wound by applying something that tastes nasty and bitter around it. However, a dog that's bent on getting at their wound would put up with the taste just to get at their injury.
Although dogs (and cats) hate wearing Elizabethan collars and they do look pretty funny in them as they knock their way around the house, they are still one of the best tools to prevent pets from getting at an injury or wound. Licking and chewing on stitches can slow the healing process down and in a worst case scenario it can even mean that stitches come out and they would need to be redone. A wound could also become infected which would mean your dog may have to be put on antibiotics which all adds up when it comes to paying your vet bill not to mention the extra pain and discomfort it causes your dog.