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7 Alternatives to the “Cone of Shame”

Dug and Cone

Photo via: Darbys Daily Blog

Pets are notorious for irritating their wounds and injured areas. It is instinctive for them to bite, scratch, and lick injured body parts and cause problems with a healing area. Is the best solution to reward the animal with an uncomfortable and clumsy plastic cone?

We’ve all seen cone-wearing canines run into walls, struggle to eat, and do everything in their ability to remove the plastic barrier. The Elizabethan collar (or the plastic cone) eliminates the animal’s peripheral vision and can cause several accidents. The plastic material can rub against the skin, causing painful rashes. There must be some alternatives to the plastic cat or dog cone collar that can help keep your furry friend happy while healing. Below are some options other than the cone that can keep our pets (and us) at ease during the healing process.

Photo via Bitenot.com

Photo via: Bitenot.com

1. The BiteNot Collar

This device does not represent the shape of a cat or dog cone at all; it most resembles a neck brace. The collar is made using flexible plastic and foam and appears like a more comfortable alternative to the hard plastic cone. It lowers the chance of the pet running into objects and the size and placement makes it easier for the pet to perform daily activities. The animal may still have some discomfort with the device, but will be less likely to destroy everything in its path. The collar is machine-washable and has a harness strap to ensure it stays on the cat or dog. The collar is available in seven different sizes for dogs and two size options for cats.

The BiteNot Collar seems to work best for pets with injuries or problems on the upper extremities. This might not be the best option for pets that chew and bite their tail and have problems in their lower extremities. This collar is not recommended for animals that need protection from their ears, eyes, or lower leg areas.

Photo via: Amazon.com

Photo via: Amazon.com

2. The ProCollar Premium Protective Collar

This inflatable neck pillow is much like one that you might use to take a nap on the airplane. The ProCollar seems to be much more comfortable than the plastic cat or dog cone and allows the injured pet to eat, drink, and play. The material doesn’t cause rashes or irritation to the neck area. This alternative comes in six sizes designed for both dogs and cats.

The ProCollar doesn’t provide as much protection as the plastic cone does. This device is ideal for animals with upper body injuries. The ProCollar is less likely to protect areas like paws or tails because the device provides mobility. Some users mentioned that the ProCollar tends to deflate during day and can easily pop or break. This form of collar might be a good option for less active pets.

Kong EZ Soft

Photo via: Pet Toy USA

3. Kong EZ Soft Collar

This device mimics the shape and function of the dog or cat cone collar. The collar features include flexibility, comfort, and fewer accidents. The collar is adjustable by using a drawstring and doesn’t scratch anything it comes in contact with. The Kong EZ Soft Collar is machine-washable and comes in five sizes that range from kittens to large dogs.

The device easily slides onto the neck of the animal and is adjustable to fit the size. Customers say The Kong EZ Soft Collar stays on the animal well, and provides more comfort than the traditional cone option.


Photo via: Amazon.com

4. Comfy Collar

This comfier alternative uses a flexible combination of nylon and foam material to protect your pet from injuries. The collar has “stays” which are removable to allow more (supervised) freedom for activities such as eating or drinking. The “stays” keep the form and structure of the cone. The cone remains secure and holds its shape by attaching it to the pet’s collar using loops on the device. The Comfy Collar features a reflective fabric to keep you and your pet safe while going outside at night. This medical device comes in six sizes and can protect both canines and felines.

One drawback that could affect daily activities is that the animal can’t see through the cone. The flexibility of the cone does increase the chance of restless animals being able to reach injured areas. Some dogs and cats have been successful in removing the collar.

Photo via: Cattipper.com

Photo via: Cattipper.com

5. The Boobooloon

This is an inflatable medical device that increases comfort level and visibility. Velcro strips help keep the device in place and the deflated Boobooloon is easy to store in small spaces. Also, the collar gives your dog or cat the freedom of peripheral vision to help avoid accidents. The Boobooloon is lightweight, comfortable, and convenient to take on and off. The collar comes in five sizes for both dogs and cats.

Some animals may be able to reach wounds because this device allows for the pet’s face to reach more areas. This cone may pop easily by aggressive pets or ones with sharp nails. Although offered for both dogs and cats, this inflatable cone may be more practical for small dogs with well-groomed nails. This product does come with a patch kit in case the cone gets popped, but supervision might help to avoid this being a problem.

Important note: only inflate the product about halfway to prevent trouble breathing or suffocation.

Photo via: bigddoghouse.com

Photo via: bigddoghouse.com

6. Optivisor or Novaguard

When visibility and hearing are a priority, these protection devices are a great option. They leave the ears exposed and don’t obstruct the animal’s ability to see, eat, and hear. The guard contains clear plastic and covers the animal’s face, resembling mask-type protection. These protectors still allow the animal to eat, play, drink, and even use doggy doors with freedom. This device would be most beneficial for specific injuries and issues on the face and head area of cats and dogs. These options might be beneficial for blind dogs that are prone to bumping into objects. The Optivisor and Novaguard come in a variety of face shapes (7 sizes for dogs with short snouts, three sizes for dogs with long snouts, and 6 sizes for normal snouts).

The Optivsor and Novaguard seem to be somewhat uncomfortable for the pet, but may be a great option for certain, specific cases.

Photo via: Amazon.com

Photo via: Amazon.com

7. TCOA Soft E-Fabric Collar

One reason why the E-collar isn’t always ideal is the clear level of discomfort. The TCOA Soft E-Fabric collar represents the shape and function of the traditional protective cone, but is made of soft, lightweight fabric that allows the animal to have full movement. This water-resistant cone is flexible and should minimize accidents and issues reaching the dog bowl. The collar is tied together with a ribbon made of smooth fabric that requires a double-knot in order to stay on the animal. The TCOA Soft-E Collar comes in 5 sizes that are suitable for both cats and dogs.

Because of the flexibility with this product, the cone collar can sometimes flip over. This could allow the dog full access to any injured area. Supervision might be a smart idea to prevent the pet from reaching the area if the cone flips over. The Soft E-Fabric Collar would be most effective on a relaxed dog that has an injury on the back or upper extremities.

Sometimes an alternative to the cone can be made at home. Bandages, boxer shorts, booties, and baby onesies can help keep injured areas protected. These alternatives should be consulted with your veterinarian before using them.

All of these options have their benefits for specific cases. Each one differs from the E-cone in their own way. Which protective devices have worked best for your pet?

cone alternative chart

Click to view full-sized chart

About Rachel @Trupanion

Rachel is an animal lover and although she doesn't currently own a pet, she "babysits" Smalls, a year-old English Mastiff. She recently graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Advertising. In her free time, she enjoys photography, traveling, and watching WSU football games.

20 Responses to 7 Alternatives to the “Cone of Shame”

  1. Katherine says:

    8. Sock of solitaire. For small cats or dogs. Take tube sock, cut hole for head and front limbs. Carefully place on pet. Very effective on tiny female himilayan mix that has an overgrooming habit!

  2. Tonua says:

    Surgi Snuggly is an incredible E Collar Alternative!

    It’s a soft body suit, it covers wounds and eases anxiety!

  3. Gina says:

    I had great luck with the Pro-Collar – and Petco promised that if it didn’t function right they’d replace it. It worked fine. As Shiloh healed, I could deflate it a bit to make his sleeping more comfy. He used it as a pillow. 🙂 He never upset his urethrostomy healing. My vet was impressed. I just felt bad he would try to go out the cat door and it totally stopped him (we have an enclosed cat garden). He needed the people door.

  4. Laurel says:

    I’m surprised no one had come out with a style made from memory foam type material instead of inflatable. It would need a cover so the pet doesn’t chew it to pieces but seems lik it would be more durable that inflatable.

  5. Pam Beck says:

    We spay and neuter approx. 200 cats and dogs in a weekend and cones are not an option for our tiny budget. We recommend rolling a towel (hand towel for a cat) wrapping it around the neck and securing with a large safety pin. It is just enough that the pet can not get its head to the surgical site.

  6. Kathy peery says:

    We use a long sleeve boys shirt
    Puts the cone and all of the other tricks we tried to shame and she loves it

  7. Alexander says:

    Theres a new cone coming out this week. By Comfurt Collar. It has a soft pillow like inside that is water resistant & a outside covering that can be taken off and machine washed ! It comes in 2 different colors and 4 different sizes.

    Not only does it provide great comfurt 😉 it has 2 adjustment features giving it a perfect fit!

    You can check them out on Instagram. @comfurtcollar

  8. Kathy Peery, How do you use a boy’s shirt as a means to stop a dog from licking an area. I have a mini dachshund with front paw issues and is soon to be neutered. He loves to lick any sites on his body that are irritated.

  9. Need a cone that not only lasts but works? Check out http://www.puppupkitty.com ! We improved upon the plastic cone and the donut as well as created a kit that gives the parents the peace of mind they not only need but deserve in order to leave their pet unattended!

  10. Broni says:

    I use the stocking or sock method but make sure you make holes for the back legs as well so they can’t pull the stocking back up over the site, this works very well. I’m part of a rescue that started this year and I have used it on over 100 kittens/cats and none have touched their stitches

  11. Dani says:

    I have a cat with an injury on her head, just above her eye and leading up to her ear. It’ll heal just fine, only problem is, she keeps scratching it and when she does, the wound reopens, bleeds, and gets bigger. Do any of these options keep the ever-so-flexible cat from reaching up and scratching her head?

  12. Jo says:

    Help. 70 pound pit bull has an infection on two of her nail beds on her back paw. After two weeks of soaking, antibiotic powder and oral antibiotics, it looked like it was healed. Now it’s red and raw again. I’ve tried the cone collar. Lasted five minutes and she had it off. Any suggestions?

  13. Jo says:

    Already did that. We were there two days ago. She said I should get a different cone collar. Problem is I don’t know which to get. This dog is very stubborn and determined. I tried making a kind of bandage with a sock, but she had it off in less than a minute.

    The reason it’s red is because she licks it. It’s not infected anymore, but the skin needs time to heal. She’s had two laser treatments which helped, but again she started licking it. I need to get something that she’s not going to take off, chew off or shake off. Anyone had experience with the Kong inflatable collar for a large dog?

  14. Pup Pup Kitty says:

    Jo, 1st I would get the area treated. 2nd why & how is she getting it off? Is it not attached to the collar? Do they have her in a larger size than necessary because the correct size for her neck is not long enough? Once I know that I can try to help!

  15. Dani have you tried a cone? I know there are multiple issues with the cones (can’t keep it on, folds in on animals head, etc.) that are sold at vets & the big box stores but the only thing I am looking for is to see if with a cone on can she still reach the problem area? If not I would look for a comfortable long-lasting cone (Premium Protective Cone) but if she can you will
    Most likely need our Collar Kit. I specifically created this kit for animals that have long legs, long bodies and/or long noses, easily accessible problem areas as well as certain surgery (TPLO, Mast Cell, etc.). I do not feel like one of the donuts would work because it sounds like she’s very flexible.

  16. Kris Douglas says:

    Got the same problem with 3 year old kitty who gets itchy ears initially from ear wax, then from the healing sores. Cone works whilst someone is at home to supervise, but would not recommend leaving kitty unattended with this. I have just tried cutting a clean new sock to size to fit like a cap. I cut two holes for her ears to fit through and so far all is good. I use a medical grade Manuka honey on the wounds and found this keeps infection away and heals quickly.

  17. Shirley rusk says:

    I have a frenchie who has had ear surgery. The hard cone is aweful! What is a good alternative ? Something softer and not so uncooperative ???!

  18. Pat McKay says:

    My havanese is obsessed licking his front paws. He only does it when we are home! How can I stop it?

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