A dog outside with a cone on.

Do Dog Cones Hurt?

3 mins |

Sometimes following a veterinary procedure, vets recommend that a dog wears a dog cone. Dog cones prevent them from itching or chewing the affected area and reduce the chances of damage or infection, but do dog cones hurt?

A dog cone that is the correct size and worn appropriately will not cause harm or hurt a dog.

Why Does My Dog Need A Cone?

During a trip to the vet, sometimes a clinician will perform a procedure involving clipping a pet’s skin, taking samples, or performing surgery. If performed correctly, proper cleaning and disinfection will be carried out prior to the procedure. This helps minimize any risks of an infection.

After such a procedure, your pet could be tempted to lick, chew, or scratch the area. This could result in an infection or a prolonged healing process.

So, sometimes, a vet will recommend your furry friend wear a cone. This will reduce their ability to access the affected area. The result is a reduced risk of infection, uninterrupted healing of the area, and faster recovery time.

Pets who don’t wear cones following invasive veterinary treatments often try to remove bandages or stitches, which can impede the healing process or facilitate infection.

How Long Does A Dog Need To Wear A Cone?

Depending on the procedure and the willingness of your furry friend, cones can be worn from a few days to a few weeks. More invasive procedures (such as surgery) mean a cone needs to be worn for longer, compared to less invasive procedures, such as sample taking.

It also depends on your pet’s character. Some of our furry friends are less likely to remove or chew on bandages or stitches than others.

The best thing to do is just to keep a closer eye on your pet following a procedure, regardless of whether they are wearing a cone or not. If they seem to be interested in the affected area, contact your veterinarian for advice.

Can My Dog Eat, Sleep, And Drink While Wearing A Dog Cone?

A dog laying down in the kitchen with a cone on.
Seems comfy.

Yes, a dog should be able to eat, sleep and drink while wearing a dog cone if it is the correct size and fits well. 

Wearing a cone may not be as comfortable for them as not wearing one, but they should be able to perform their usual routine, although perhaps in a more clumsy way!

If you notice that your dog finds it difficult to eat or drink while wearing the cone, you can take it off temporarily. But be sure to monitor them in case they try to take advantage of this!  

Alternatives To Dog Cones

Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t get on well with wearing a dog cone. It’s not the only option!

Below we’ve briefly described a few alternatives to dog cones:

  • Soft collars, which are softer versions of dog cones 
  • Inflatable collars, which are a bit lighter than traditional dog cones
  • Surgical recovery suits that cover your dog completely, so it’s not possible for them to lick or chew the affected area.

No matter the size or character of your pet, there is a solution to decrease the chances of complications during their recovery.

Conclusion: Do Dog Cones Hurt?

If a dog collar is the correct size for your pet, it should be comfortable and won’t cause them harm. But don’t worry if you (or your pet) decide that it’s not for them; there are a few other options available!

So, what do you think about dogs and dog cones? Let us know in the comments below!

Charlotte Stiles
Charlotte Stiles
Charlotte is a final-year veterinary medicine student at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. She has been a volunteer at her university's clinic for 4 years, and completed internships in Spain, Belgium, and Austria. She is also an editor of her university's scientific journal, and dog mum to 13-year-old Chiki, who she rescued from a shelter.