There comes the point in almost every dog owner’s life when they must expose their dogs to the torturous cone of shame. These seemingly medieval devices serve a great purpose as they can expedite the healing process by protecting your dog from himself. Dogs are notorious for licking wounds as it can help soothe pain and discomfort to a small degree, but their saliva can introduce bacteria into the wound and cause an infection.
The good news is that uncomfortable cones of shame are a thing of the past. There are plenty of dog cone alternatives that are comfortable, comforting, and effective. Keep reading to find our reviews of the best options on the market this year.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Suitical Recovery Suit for Dogs||
|Best Value||Calm Paws Basic Inflatable Dog Collar||
|Premium Choice||Medipaw Rugged Dog Protective Boot||
|Best for Puppies||SunGrow Dog Recovery Collar||
|KONG Cloud Collar for Dogs||
The 10 Best Dog Cone Alternatives
1. Suitical Recovery Suit for Dogs – Best Overall
|Breed Size:||XXX-Small to XX-Large|
The best overall dog cone alternative is this Suitical Recovery Suit for Dogs. It comes in sizes that will fit any pup, no matter the breed. The XXX-small size is designed to fit extra small and toy breeds, while the XX-large is great for those with giant breed dogs.
This suit is a great alternative to a traditional cone as it won’t restrict your dog’s movement. He won’t be running into walls, and hard plastic won’t dig into his neck as he tries to bite at his sore spots. The suit is designed to fit snugly and act as a second skin. It doesn’t fit too tightly that your dog’s wound wouldn’t be able to heal. The suit is made with a breathable 4-way stretch fabric that keeps bacteria and dirt out but allows air to circulate around the wound for optimal healing.
2. Calm Paws Basic Inflatable Dog Collar – Best Value
|Breed Size:||X-Small to X-Large|
If your emergency fund is already tapped out from your dog’s injury or surgery, you might not have enough money to spend on a cone. The Calm Paws Basic Inflatable Dog Collar is the best dog cone alternative for the money, so even those on a tight budget can afford it.
This inflatable velvet ring comes in several size options to fit toy breeds and giant breeds with ease. Since it’s inflatable, it deflates easily and can be kept flat for compact storage.
Since it’s made of velvet, this item will feel more comfortable for your dog to wear. It straps quickly around his neck with fuzzy fasteners, and the included chest strap will help keep it in place.
The manufacturer also includes a Calming Disk infused with essential oils to help reduce cone-related anxiety.
3. Medipaw Rugged Dog Protective Boot – Premium Choice
|Breed Size:||X-Small to X-Large|
|Material:||Velcro, Rubber, Polyurethane|
If your dog has an injury to his foot or recently had surgery there, you need to protect that area from his scratching and biting. The Medipaw Rugged Dog Protective Boot is designed to do just that. While this product did take our Premium Choice spot as it is fairly expensive, it is a great option for people whose dogs need just foot protection.
This product comes in sizes to fit dog breeds anywhere between extra small and giant. The boot has a molded rubber bottom which adds stability and allows for extended wearing. It’s waterproof and breathable so your dog’s wound can stay dry, and the air can circulate around it to expedite healing time.
It has drawstring closure on the upper portion and Velcro straps, allowing you to find the fit that works best for your dog’s leg.
4. SunGrow Dog Recovery Collar – Best for Puppies
|Life Stage:||Puppy, Adult|
|Breed Size:||Small, Medium|
This soft SunGrow Dog Recovery Collar is a great comfortable cone alternative. Its soft edges allow your pup to go about his day without as much disruption as a traditional cone. His vision and head movements won’t be limited thanks to the soft design of this product. He can still eat, sleep, and walk just as he would without the cone, and it won’t impede his ability to sleep in his favorite position like a more rigid one would.
This item is made with a soft foam material so it’s very light and durable. It can be tossed in your washing machine if it gets dirty but should be air-dried to maintain its shape and integrity.
The collar is designed to fit puppies with a neck circumference of 9 to 10 inches.
5. KONG Cloud Collar for Dogs
|Breed Size:||X-Small to X-Large|
KONG’s Cloud Collar is soft and comfortable unlike traditional plastic cones of shame. It is designed not to impede your dog’s ability to eat or drink and it doesn’t affect their peripheral vision at all. The strong cotton material is scratch- and bite-resistant so your dog won’t hurt himself further while wearing it. The fabric is machine washable so it’s simple to clean, too.
The hook and loop strap provides room for adjustments so you can find the snuggest and most comfortable fit for your healing pooch. The collar comes in sizes to fit toy breeds to giant breeds.
6. Surgi Snuggly Wonder Suit
|Breed Size:||All sizes|
This Surgi Snuggly Wonder Suit is designed to protect your pet during his time of healing. Not only does the tight and snug fit help dogs suffering from anxiety after their surgery, but it can help reduce the likelihood that your pup will experience uncomfortable rubbing.
The sizing system ensures that you and your dog will find a proper fit depending on his weight, spine measurements, and girth. It is made with an antimicrobial material that will keep germs and fungus at bay so your dog can heal without any further complications. This onesie can also keep diapers on your pet if they need them.
7. Comfy Cone E-Collar for Dogs
|Breed Size:||X-Small to XX-Large|
The Comfy Cone E-Collar for Dogs attaches to your dog’s collar to provide a secure and comfortable fit. It looks a bit like the cone of shame except it’s made with nylon instead of hard plastic. The cone is reversible so it can cover your dog’s neck and upper chest. Since it’s made with a soft material, your pup can wear it going through doorways or pet doors without running into walls or door frames.
The collar is water-resistant and simple to clean (though it is not recommended to put it in the wash). It has removable plastic stays that will let you adjust how rigid the cone is depending on your pup’s specific needs.
8. Suitical Recovery Sleeve for Dogs
|Breed Size:||XXX-Small to XX-Large|
This Suitical Recovery Sleeve for Dogs is a comfortable alternative that can keep sensitive areas clean and dry. It closes around the chest which adds some pressure to that area, potentially reducing your dog’s stress levels. It’s made from a non-toxic cotton material that’s both breathable and machine washable.
This sleeve is great for covering salves and protecting hot spots and wounds. Some people like to use the sleeve in place of a bandage. The sleeve is symmetrical in design which allows for use on both the left and right front legs.
9. ccypet Adjustable Recovery Collar
|Breed Size:||X-Small to Large|
|Material:||Recycled polystyrene beads|
There’s no reason why your dog has to have a plain black cone alternative. This adorable rainbow ccypet Adjustable Recovery Collar is a great option for pet owners who like to add a little pizzazz to their dog’s day.
This cone has a very soft outside so it won’t irritate your dog’s skin. It fits snugly around their neck and unlike a traditional plastic cone, it won’t impede their vision. In fact, your pup should be able to eat, sleep, play, and drink normally while wearing this. The collar is filled with polystyrene beads to make it lightweight, soft, and breathable.
It is important to note that this collar will only be beneficial for dogs who are recovering from wounds on the upper part of their body. This is because he will still be able to access his front and back paws while wearing this collar.
10. ARRR Comfy UFO Pet Collar
|Breed Size:||Small to XX-Large|
The ARRR Comfy UFO Pet Collar is a unique-looking cone alternative. It has recently been upgraded to allow for three different angle and shape conformations depending on your dog’s condition. Changing the shape and angle of the cone will prevent your dog from licking, biting, scratching, or itching at his surgical or injury site.
This collar won’t block your dog’s vision and allows him to eat, drink, and play as usual. It’s made with a water-resistant fabric that’s easy to remove pet hair and dust from, though the collar is not machine washable.
There is an adjustable drawstring in the center of the cone that allows you to tighten or loosen it depending on your dog’s needs.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Cone Alternative
Before you buy your dog a cone alternative, there are some things you should consider first. Keep reading to find all you need to know before making your buying decision.
As you may have noticed, there are several different types of cones of shame alternatives.
First, we have the recovery suit. These are great for dogs who are also prone to anxiety as the compression from the suits can provide some level of comfort and stress relief. Some dogs might be able to chew through the fabric, however, so you need to take that into consideration if your dog is a chewer.
Next, we have inflatable neck pillows. These look a lot like the travel pillows you see airplane passengers carrying around at the airport. These circular pillows come in many different sizes and are usually easy to put on. They are very lightweight but are susceptible to punctures. Again, if your dog is a biter or a chewer, you might want to steer clear of inflatable options.
Finally, soft cones are the fabric version of the cone of shame. They are designed to retain the same size and shape of a typical cone, but their soft fabric design allows for some give. Your dog will not further hurt himself while wearing a fabric cone as he might be able to in a hard plastic one. They’re simple to clean and can be adjustable to fit a wide range of neck sizes.
Perhaps the biggest thing to take into consideration is the size of the cone. Your dog will not be comfortable in a cone that’s too big or too small for his neck. This is why every manufacturer on our list has included a thorough measurement chart so you can ensure your dog is getting the right fit.
Another important factor to consider is where your dog’s wound is or where their surgery site is. The collar you choose will ultimately need to cover or keep your dog away from the site to keep him safe during his recovery period.
If the wound is on his front paw, you’re not going to want to buy him a collar that provides access to that area.
You know your dog’s personality best. Are there certain sounds or experiences he’s afraid of?
Does the sound of Velcro petrify him? If so, avoid cone options that have Velcro closures, or else he will be terrified every time you go to put his cone on or take it off.
Does he have anxiety? Though most of the cones on our list are designed not to impede vision, it’s still important to consider as you shop. If the cone you choose will cause your dog to shut down if his vision becomes blocked, it’s going to do more harm than good.
Is he a chewer? Has he been known to destroy fabrics in the past? It might be best to avoid inflatable cone options unless they explicitly say that they’re puncture-proof. You might also want to bypass fabric bodysuits if he can tear through fabric.
What’s Wrong with a Traditional Cone?
The e-collar (short for Elizabethan collar) is a protective medical device that’s designed to keep pets from licking or biting at their bodies while wounds heal. Using e-collars can shorten recovery times and help wounds heal faster.
However, recent studies show that wearing an e-collar has a negative impact on an animal’s quality of life, however. Researchers asked pet owners about their animals’ experience with an e-collar and how it affected their eating, drinking, sleep, playtime, and interactions with other animals. A whopping 77.4% of owners reported worse quality of life scores when their pets were wearing an e-collar. Owners said that the cone affected their pet’s ability to drink and play and that it could cause injuries to themselves and damage to their property.
That said, some vets prefer using an e-collar over other alternatives, saying that the inconvenience of the plastic cone is only temporary and they provide excellent protection from interfering with wounds.
Ultimately, using an e-collar or one of the above alternatives is up to you and your dog. Some might tolerate a traditional cone without any issues, while others will want absolutely nothing to do with the plastic varieties.
When it comes to keeping your dog safe and expediting healing times, a cone is a must. We hope our reviews of the ten best cone of shame alternatives have helped make the buying process a little simpler for you.
In review, the Suitical Recovery Suit is the best overall dog cone alternative as it doesn’t restrict your dog’s movement and the compression provides comfort while they’re stressed. The most budget-friendly alternative is Calm Paws’ Basic inflatable collar which is great as it is simple to store and comes with an anxiety-reducing calming disk.
Featured Image Credit: Micah, Pexels