Friday, January 19, 2024

Can We Talk About Cones?

A cone, also known as a recovery collar and an Elizabethan collar if your are feeling particularly fancy, is a great management tool for a lot of different dog problems. Injuries, surgery, hot spots, any reason you need to keep your dog's face away from the rest of their body, or their feet away from their head. There are lots of different kinds to choose from, I currently own and use three types. This is continues my series of accident-prone dogs having accidents. Mostly border collies. Because border collies. Their giant brains are filled with sheep and problem-solving and there's no room left for self-preservation. But also the cattledog because she got hurt recently and has had me running through my collection of recovery solutions.

IT is a pretty flower.

Option 1: Soft Cone
These come in a variety of designs like flowers and clouds. I own one flower cone and one lion mane cone from Alfie Pet but can't currently find a link.
Pros: Totally adorable. Fits in a crate. Doesn't hurt when your dog runs into the backs of your legs. Works exceptionally well for pointy-eared dogs with ear injuries as it prevents their ear from slapping into their skull when they shake their head. 
Cons: Easy to get out of. There's no way to attach the ones I have to a collar, they just velcro around the neck and the dog can slip it off if they want to. Flexible so a clever dog can scrunch it out of the way if they want to. Not going to deter a very determined dog.

Option 2: Donut Cone
Sis is much happier in the donut.

These inflatable rings also come in a variety of designs including rainbows and the obvious donut. I own two of these, a Large and an XXL. 
Pros: Also totally adorable. I mean look at this. Also fits in a crate and doesn't hurt or break things when your dog is catapulting around the house in it. Works for restricting access to the dog's body. Can be sized up for more protection. Very secure as it has loops to run through a snug collar. Easy to store when not in use.
Cons: Protection is only as good as its ability to remain inflated. A determined dog would be able to pop it. Also scares the bejeezus out of certain other dogs in the house.

Maximum cone:dog ratio.

Option 3: MegaCone
The good old classic you come home from the vet with. Cheap and effective.
Pros: Maximum protection for your dog's entire body plus everything else if the cone is big enough. That mouth isn't getting near anything. I might try this for nail trims. Very secure, this one is zip-tied to a snug collar and could be zip-tied to a harness for a noodledog that slips collars. Maximum cone:dog ratio.
Cons: Does not fit into a crate, or my house, or anywhere else. The world is not big enough for this cone. Your house is definitely not big enough for this cone if you have a dog that runs around with reckless abandon. Prone to cracking and breaking with too many impacts. A lower cone:dog ratio may not provide adequate protection for a dog determined to reach their tail or paws. 

Of course there are lots of other options out there these days. DIY options with pool noodles. Cones that are more secure than my pink flower cone but made from nylon fabric and buckram so more flexible than the basic plastic cone. Face shields that sit in front of the ears and are narrower than a basic cone. Neck braces that limit flexibility. There are new companies producing new sizes and styles all the time!

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