A dog laying down with a dog cone on.

Why Do Dogs Wear Cones?

Dogs are not only lovable and loyal companions. They have also been known to rock their fair share of fashionable or unfashionable accessories, such as the dreaded cone of shame.  That’s right. Those uncomfortable plastic cones are often necessary when it comes to keeping our furry friends safe. But safe from what, and why must dogs wear cones in the first place? 

Dogs wear cones for a variety of reasons, ranging from healing wounds after surgery to ingesting toxic substances. Commonly known as Elizabethan collars or e-collars, these plastic cones are used to keep dogs from licking and chewing on wounds, discouraging itching and averting aggression.

What Are Dog Cones?

A dog cone is a plastic encircling device that prevents dogs from reaching certain parts of their body. They’re  known as Elizabethan collars (E-collars) and are often referred to as “cones of shame.”

Generally, some cones are made from hard plastic, while others may be made from softer materials like nylon or cotton. 

The material will depend on the specific needs of your pet. These collars come in different sizes to fit any size of the dog and have adjustable straps designed for comfort.

Four Reasons To Use Dog Cones

There are several reasons why you might need to put a cone on your dog. Some of the most common are given below.

To Let Wounds Heal And Other Treatments Be Applied

Using an Elizabethan collar or E-collar can be beneficial in various situations. This includes after surgery, which prevents the animal from disturbing the wounds, letting them receive flea and allergy treatment, and when dealing with viruses and fungi.

Discouraging Licking, And Chewing

E-collars can be useful in discouraging a dog from licking or chewing wounds. Dogs have an instinctive tendency to lick the area to try to soothe soreness. But those actions only further irritate the skin and prevent healing. 

The collar can act as a physical barrier that prohibits access to the wound, allows it time to heal properly, promotes optimal healing conditions, and also reduces the risk of infection in open wounds.

However, when the collar is properly fitted, they should provide gentle pressure to discourage excessive scratching and licking habits that can cause harm. 

Minimizing Itching

Dogs can suffer from allergies just like humans, and one of the most common symptoms is itching. To minimize this uncomfortable sensation, collars are available that help provide relief for dogs that are affected by allergies.

By using these collars, pet owners can help their furry friends enjoy a more comfortable life and be free from the irritation of allergies.

Averting Aggression

In some cases, pet owners may need to restrict a dog’s access to certain areas in the home or yard. This is especially true if the dog exhibits aggressive behavior towards family members or other pets. 

By wearing a cone, dogs are unable to display any aggressive behaviors. They are also kept safe from harm by being prevented from barking or jumping at people and other animals. 

This can help maintain a peaceful environment in the home and provide pet owners with peace of mind. Additionally, wearing a cone can be used as a form of behavior modification, teaching dogs that aggressive behavior is not acceptable.

Should A Dog Wear A Cone All The Time?

A dog staring at the camera with a dog cone on.
This dog wants to know too.

No, a dog should not wear a cone all the time, although the time frame for wearing a cone varies depending on the injury or situation. If your dog has recently undergone surgery and requires an incision to heal properly, it may need to wear a collar for two weeks, for example.

On the other hand, if your pet is affected by allergies, it may be required to wear a cone for an extended period of time. It is important to speak with your veterinarian and decide what is best for your furry friend before determining how long they should wear a cone.

What Are the Alternative Options For E-Collar?

There are alternative options to traditional cones, which are as follows. 

Soft Collars

Soft collars can provide a comfortable, lightweight alternative to e-collars. They are designed with comfort in mind and don’t restrict the dog from engaging in normal activities like eating or drinking.

Recovery Suits

Recovery suits are designed to cover wounds and incisions, helping to protect them from outside elements. They can be worn for long periods without discomfort and allow dogs to move freely.

Inflatable E-Collars

Inflatable e-collars provide pet owners with a more comfortable alternative to regular e-collars. These collars inflate when needed and deflate when not in use, providing a snug fit that is less restrictive than a traditional e-collar.

Head Halters

Head halters are similar to harnesses, but they fit around the head and muzzle of the dog rather than the body. They provide more control than a regular collar and help protect wounds from being disturbed by a pet’s mouth or paws.

Is Your Dog Depressed While Wearing A Cone?

It is possible for a dog to become depressed while wearing an e-collar. This is because the collar prevents them from engaging in normal activities like playing, cuddling, and exploring their environment.

To help prevent depression in dogs, pet owners should try to keep their furry friends as active and engaged as possible while they are wearing the cone. This can be done by providing interactive toys and puzzles, taking them on walks, engaging in playtime, and providing them with plenty of love and affection.

Additionally, pet owners should also make sure to take their dog’s collar off periodically throughout the day to give them a break from wearing it. 

Are Cones Embarrassing For Dogs?

No, dogs do not feel embarrassed when wearing a cone. Dogs may look funny in their cone, but they cannot judge themselves the way humans do and don’t understand why they are wearing them.

It is important to remember that cones provide relief and protection for your dog. No one should laugh at dogs wearing them. By being understanding of your pet’s feelings and providing them with comfort, you can help to ensure that wearing a cone is not an unpleasant experience. 

Remember, a cone is not a punishment; it’s a way to help your pet heal and stay healthy. With the right attitude, you can make the experience of wearing a cone as comfortable and stress-free as possible for both you and your pup.

In Conclusion: Why Do Dogs Wear Cones?

Wearing a cone can be an uncomfortable experience for your pup, but it’s necessary in some cases to ensure healing takes place. Though you may feel like you’re punishing your dog, the cone of shame is a helpful tool. This will help your pup heal quickly and safely, so they can get back to being their furry selves again in no time.

So, have you had any experiences with your pet wearing a cone? We would love to hear about it! Share your stories in the comments section below.

Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal is a licensed veterinarian with more than 5 years of experience in veterinary medicine. After receiving his DVM degree from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, he worked as a veterinarian in both government and private sectors. Dr. Mohsin specializes in small animal medicine and surgery and has experience treating all types of animals including dogs, cats, horses, and reptiles. He has a passion for pets and has written several eBooks on pet care and surgery. In addition to his clinical work, he also volunteers his time for various animal rescue organizations and helps care for injured and abandoned animals.