Jokingly dubbed “cones of shame,” protective dog cones are worth far more than a few sight gags. These devices are the most humane way to prevent a pet from aggravating a healing wound or injury, making them especially necessary in the days to weeks following an operation. Just like not every pup is the same, the same can be said of a protective cone. Thankfully, there are plenty of dog cones on the market that blend comfort, security, and even aesthetics.
Why buy a dog cone?
Dog cones were made to help protect our dogs from themselves. Their natural instinct is to lick their wounds clean. However, when a dog undergoes some sort of invasive surgery, especially if they wind up getting stitches, licking can make things worse. Some dogs also chew or nibble at stitches or surgery that itch or bother them. Any of these actions can lead to the wound or surgical site becoming irritated or infected or stitches getting pulled out. Wearing a dog cone makes it impossible for a dog’s mouth, tongue, and teeth to reach a wound or surgical site and risk disturbing it, while not limiting your dog’s daily activities and routine. (Minus a few comical bumps here and there.)
These specialty cones are most widely used in puppies and young dogs who have recently been spayed or neutered. If you have a young pup who isn’t fixed yet, you’ll want to get a dog cone in preparation. However, dogs of any age, shape, breed, or size may need to wear a dog cone at another point in their life; broken bones and accidents happen, and it’s not always possible to predict what kind of treatments or surgeries your dog will need to undergo in their lifetime. Thus even if your dog was already spayed or neutered before you brought them home, you might still want to invest in a dog cone for them, just to be prepared.
What should you look for in a dog cone?
- Protection: Naturally, you want your protective cone to provide the utmost safety for your pet. You’ll want a cone or collar that’s strong: one that your pet won’t be able to rip off if they’re feeling extra nosy. The pinnacle of these options would be a classic, hard-wearing plastic cone that’s tough but flexible enough for a pet to carry throughout their day. Also consider how durable the cone is, especially if you have a particularly active animal; a water-resistant cone is generally a good choice for water-loving dog breeds like labs and golden retrievers, for instance.
- Comfort: It’s also important that your pet still feels comfortable during this time. There’s a delicate balance between ensuring they can’t lick, bite, or scratch their tender, healing wound and limiting them altogether. Seek out an option that is built to keep your pup’s teeth at bay, but one that isn’t too restricting when they’re trying to eat or drink. Plush collar cones and those that feature soft linings around the neck area are a perfect way to ease your pet into their momentary post-surgery life. They’re also much more comfortable for sleeping.
- Convenience: As an added benefit, you should consider options that make your job caring for your pet easy, too. Cones that are transportable, easy to clean, and easy to adjust between a tight or loose fit are the best, especially if your pet isn’t fully grown. Some models are collapsible, which makes them easier to store or transport. Softer, more flexible cones can also help prevent your furry friend from getting stuck between or under furniture or other inconvenient places.
Do dog cones come in different colors and designs?
There are plenty of cute, colorful dog cones that are still durable and practical. Both classic plastic dog cones and more modern cloth ones can come in different solid colors, multiple colors, or with fitting patterns or designs like polka dots, stripes, dog bones, and more. If you want to get even more creative, there are dog cones that resemble different shapes or objects; round foods like donuts and fruit slices or various types of flowers are among the most popular options. You can even make a dog collar part of a costume. Lion’s manes, shark heads, cows, frogs, UFOs—if you want to get colorful and creative with your dog’s cone, the possibilities are numerous.
Supet Adjustable Dog Cone
You can't go wrong with this strong, convenient dog cone that's available in a wide range of sizes to fit as many different breeds as possible.
Pros: This dog cone is available in an excellent variety of sizes, from extra-small to extra-large. Additionally, its button closure can be tightened or loosened as needed, should you want to give your dog a little extra breathing room or keep the cone from slipping off. At the base and opening of each cone is a soft fabric lining that provides additional comfort for the duration of its use to prevent rubbing or abrasions against your dog’s neck. The PVC material is not only waterproof but see-through, so your pet will be able to get around without their peripheral vision being impaired.
Cons: While the size variety offered by this dog cone is great, it may be too short to be effective for certain breeds with longer snouts. And while the Velcro closure is very handy for taking the cone on and off with ease, it’s quite loud when opened. The noise may scare or startle skittish dogs.
Bottom Line: Providing great protection from nosy pups who may aggravate a healing injury, this recovery pet cone is a traditional option that is both adjustable and available in several accommodating sizes. No matter how large or small your dog is, you shouldn’t have an issue finding and fitting a cone to their exact size.
IN HAND Adjustable Pet Recovery Collar
This protective collar features soft padded edges and a clear body that doesn't impede a pet's vision.
Pros: You won’t have to worry about your pet’s comfort while they’re wearing this dog cone. Several factors combine to make it easier for them to wear; the lightweight body won’t weigh your dog down or make their head more cumbersome, the padded lining is velvety soft against their neck, and the see-through material won’t hinder vision at all. Your dog will even be able to eat and drink without taking it off. And the softness of the material ensures it won’t scratch your furniture should they bump into it by mistake. Despite its lighter, softer make, this cone is plenty secure; it features Velcro and a snap closure together instead of just one or the other. And the cone is long enough to prevent even longer-snouted breeds from reaching their wounds.
Cons: While the longer length of this dog cone is great for its intended task, it does mean this cone is more likely to get dragged on the ground and get dirty that much easier. Dirt and food stains show up much more due to the cone’s soft, flexible material. Keep in mind that you can’t really adjust the size of this cone to better fit your dog; it’s not as adjustable as some other similar models.
Bottom Line: Seeking optimal comfort for your pet in their post-surgery days? Thanks to its lightweight body and extremely soft lining, this dog cone is about as comfortable an option as you’ll be able to find without sacrificing protection for your pup and your furniture.
Alfie Pet Recovery Collar for Dogs and Cats
This protective cone features an adorable costume design that's sure to draw attention and pick up a pup's spirit during their confinement.
Pros: Available in six different sizes, every kind of dog can have the chance to be the king of the jungle with this adorably ferocious cone. The lion costume design is warm and soft without adding unnecessary weight to a pet’s neck. It can also be tightened or loosened to better adjust to your pet’s neck size and comfort level. This collar can also function long after a pet’s wounds have healed, as it doubles as a costume that you and passersby can enjoy.
Cons: The solid fabric design will hinder your dog’s vision some since it’s not see-through, unlike plastic cones. The bendiness is handy for your dog’s mobility and nap times but also means it doesn’t hold its shape as well as stiffer models. And since it’s made of fabric, this dog cone isn’t waterproof and takes much longer to dry than plastic cones.
Bottom Line: It doesn’t hurt to bring your pup’s spirit up during their temporary confinement. If your furry friend thrives on love and pats from other people on their walks, they’ll love all the extra attention they’ll get while wearing this costume-style dog cone.
Alfie Pet Cobalt Recovery Collar
Flexible, adjustable, and lightweight, this fabric dog cone allows your dog to rest more comfortably than classic plastic models.
Pros: This fabric collar is an ideal choice for ensuring your pet can still sleep in their preferred position and nap spots. The fabric is very bendy and pliable and moves with your dog. Plus, it won’t make noise if it bumps or brushes against the wall or furniture and has a much lower risk of knocking over your belongings than a plastic cone. The unique drawstring allows for greater size adjustment compared to most. And as an added bonus, this cone is easy to clean; you should be able to run it through the washing machine on a gentle cycle without issue.
Cons: As nice as the pliable fabric make of this cone might be, it does come with the risk of getting ripped or torn if caught on a sharp edge somewhere. It’s also not transparent at all, so your dog’s vision will be more limited. And while it’s washing machine friendly, you can’t put it in the dryer.
Bottom Line: Available in five sizes and a lovely cobalt blue color, this recovery dog cone is a welcomingly lightweight fabric that allows pets to eat, drink, and sleep as they would have normally done prior to sustaining an injury or undergoing surgery.
WZ PET Soft Recovery Dog Cone
This cone is made of soft, pliable fabric for a wider range of movement and great protection.
Pros: It’s packed with padded cotton that’s soft inside and outside, with a bonus padded inner lining for extra cushioning. In addition to providing enough of a blockade between a pup’s teeth and their recovering wound, this cone also features a water-resistant surface that allows you to wipe it clean after a messy meal. If it ever gets more seriously dirty, you can throw this collar into the washer and dryer on gentle settings for easy cleaning. Plus, it’s comfortable for your pup’s naptime or bedtime as they don’t have to awkwardly arrange their head on stiff plastic; the fabric even flips up or down as needed. And you have two different color options to choose from.
Cons: This dog cone is only available in small and medium sizes, so it’s only suitable for smaller dogs. A pup bigger than 20 pounds or so will likely be too large for this cone. And while the flexibility is great for your pet’s comfort, when flipped downward, your pet may be able to access their wound, depending on where it’s located. The fabric isn’t clear or see-through either, so it will limit your dog’s vision more than a plastic cone does.
Bottom Line: A multifaceted doggie cone that knows how to protect without sacrificing luxury, this dog cone provides post-surgery safety on every front. Made specifically for small- and medium-sized dogs, it also works great for your feline friends as well.
Dog cones are straightforward yet incredibly useful pet supplies that help protect your pup and ensure the healing process goes smoothly. Whether your canine companion already has surgery scheduled or you just want to be prepared for the possibility, a comfortable yet sturdy dog cone is near must-have for many dog owners.