Most pet owners have had an Elizabethan collar sent home from the vet for their pet at some point in their life. You know, the satellite dish or the cone of shame? It has many names. This may seem more humiliating for pets than helpful, but the Elizabethan collar or e-collar is a very useful and helpful device that will expedite healing time. Whether your pet has had some type of surgery or is dealing with a painful lick granuloma (also called a hot spot), licking and chewing at the sutures or affected area will only delay healing time. Licking the area does not keep it clean, it actually makes the skin raw and opens up the opportunity for a host of infections such as staphyloccos. Replacing sutures or combating infection will only make recovery more uncomfortable, lengthy and difficult for your pet. It will also cost more money. With that said, it is safe to say that an e-collar should be considered a money saving, infection preventing, health promoting device. (Not just a pain in the…)
Using an e-collar is not a fun or easy thing but it is really important to try to use it if your vet sends it home. Even though your big dog rams you in the calf with it when he walks by, and even though your small dog pouts and acts like he can’t move, use it. He will not hate you or have hard feelings about it. Take a walk and encourage your dog to keep his or her head up while walking. Stay calm and try not to get frustrated. Dogs wearing an e-collar have a tendency to drop their head down and look at the ground. Doing this will make the cone drag and make it really difficult for them to get around, so gently encouraging your dog to lift their head while they walk can help. You can use a treat to keep their attention up and to offer some positive reinforcement. If you are worried that your dog cannot eat from his bowl while wearing the e-collar, try hand feeding. If you hand feed twice a day then you know your dog is eating well. Always make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water. A large bowl placed in the corner will be helpful to a dog wearing an e- collar. Placing it in the corner means the collar will not be pushing the bowl around on the floor.
If it makes you feel better, go get some treats or something to spoil your pet with. It certainly won’t hurt. As soon as you get the ok to remove it from your vet, your pet will forget it was even there. Always save a used e-collar that is in good condition. Large e-collars can be pricey so saving one will save you money. You can clean most firm plastic e-collars with a damp rag. E-collars that are bent and chewed need to be tossed as they will not be effective. If you are still wondering whether your e-collar should be saved or tossed just check with your Veterinarian.