DIY Dog Cone: Homemade E-Collar For Your Canine in Recovery!
Dogs have a pretty universal reaction to wounds, itches, and assorted types of skin irritation: They lick or chew the area to “clean” it and make it feel better.
These are natural behaviors that often give wild canines the best chance to heal, but they can also make things worse. Sometimes, dogs who lick or chew their wounds may cause further tissue damage or introduce bacteria into the wound, which may trigger a serious infection.
Mother Nature has clearly determined that wound-licking behavior is a net positive for wild canines (and other wild animals), but your family pet is an entirely different matter. Your pet not only lives in a cleaner environment than wild canines do, he also benefits from the first aid and veterinary care you can provide.
Accordingly, it is wise to prevent your pet from mouthing wounds or irritated areas. And the very best way to do this is through the use of an E-cone (also known as an Elizabethan collar, a dog cone, or the dreaded “cone of shame”).
You can buy an E-cone if you like (we discuss some of the very best options here), but you can also construct one of your own if you can’t find a commercial model you like or you’d just like to save a few bucks. We’ll run down seven of the coolest DIY E-cone projects below and talk about some of the most helpful tips and tricks for maximizing their value.
1. Cardboard Cone Collar from PetDIY.com
Cardboard is an obvious material to consider for just about any DIY project (speaking as a former 8-year old, I can assure you that a vast array of sibling-battling weaponry can be fashioned from a few pieces of cardboard), and it works quite well for making your own E-cone in this cardboard cone sollar project from PetDIY.com.
Skill Level: Moderate
- Pencil or marker
- Measuring tape
- A big piece of cardboard
- Vinyl strips or duct tape
- Zip ties or a shoelace
This is a pretty simple project, which shouldn’t take you long to put together. It won’t be the prettiest E cone ever created, but it’ll get the job done.
2. Towel Collar from DogTrainingNation.com
A protective collar doesn’t have to be rigid to prevent your dog from chewing or licking his body. In fact, there are a number of soft and comfortable cone collars on the market. But, if you’d rather make your own soft collar, just grab an old towel and check out this quick-and-easy towel-style collar from DogTrainingNation.com.
Skill Level: Easy
- Soft, thick towel
- Duct tape
- A plate of peanut butter (to keep your pup busy while fitting the collar)
This is a super easy soft collar to make, and chances are you’ll find everything you need laying around the house. I think the cleverest part of the whole project is the way they use the plate of peanut butter to keep their dog’s attention focused away from the collar.
3. Pliable E-Collar from Cuteness.com
These plans will show you how to make an easy, yet effective, E-collar out of a number of possible materials. The Pliable E-Collar Plans from Cuteness.com appear to use foam rubber, but you could also use anything from flexible plastic to poster board. Just grab your material of choice and get to work.
Note that these plans actually discuss making an E-collar for a cat, but it’ll work the same way for a dog.
Skill Level: Moderate
- Tape measure
- Pencil or marker
- Compass (you can use a piece of string to rig up a make-shift compass if you like)
- Hole punch
- A large piece of pliable material
- Ribbon, string, shoelace, or some other type of cordage
We couldn’t find a great video demonstrating how to make one of these collars, but the instructions provided by Cuteness.com are pretty easy to follow.
4. Bucket Cone Collar from Cuteness.com
The second project published by Cuteness.com on our DIY list, this Bucket Cone Collar DIY Design uses a bucket or pail to make a protective collar for your pup. You’ll need to plan carefully and get the right size bucket for your pet, but it’ll provide more resilient protection than most other DIY versions will.
Skill Level: Moderate
- Tape measure
- Sturdy knife
The trickiest part of this project is cutting a hole in the bottom of the bucket. This will take a bit of force and plenty of care, so be sure to use a sharp knife and take your time when constructing this project.
We can’t find a good YouTube video that describes how to make a bucket collar, but the instructions provided by Cuteness.com are pretty easy to follow. In fact, the whole project is rather simple; we only rate it as “moderate” because it can be challenging to cut through the bottom of a bucket.
5. Pool Noodle E-Collar from PuppyTrainingTeacher.info
We came across an image of the noodle-inspired e-collar seen below, which seemed like a really neat idea. Unfortunately, it appears that the hosting site has changed the page up. While we can’t share exact instructions for this type of cone, it looks like a 3rd grader could probably figure out how to rig one up.
Skill Level: Easy
- Scissors or a knife
- Tape measure
- Pool noodle
- Rope, string, belt, or an extra collar
This is a remarkably clever solution if you ask me. I’d probably make this type of DIY E-cone for my pup if the need arose. You’ll have to adjust the design a bit to suit your dog, but most owners should be able to engineer one of these E-collars in 10 minutes or so.
Note that some owners find it helpful to cut the pool noodle into small sections, while others use a longer length of noodle. Whichever way works for your dog is fine.
6. Butter Tub Collar from Mia Rose
Here’s another cool idea we saw on Pinterest, but like the pool noodle E-collar mentioned above, we couldn’t find any DIY plans for it.
However, if you just look at it, there’s not much explanation required: Find the right size butter container or Tupperware in your kitchen, cut a hole in it, and put it on your pet’s neck. Because it’ll weigh much less than a bucket or pail, it probably won’t need any straps to secure it.
Skill Level: Easy
- Scissors or a sharp knife
- Marker to draw a circle (optional)
- Compass to draw an even circle (optional)
- Butter container or Tupperware
- Tape to cover inside edge of the hole
The hardest part of this project is finding the right size container. Once you do that, the rest should be pretty straight-forward. This is likely the simplest DIY E-cone you can make for your dog.
7. Egg Crate Soft Collar from Dogsaholic.com
This is somewhat similar to the towel collar discussed earlier, but this Soft Egg Crate Collar from Dogsaholic uses soft foam egg crate instead of a towel. In some situations, this would be the better option than using one of your towels, and it’d probably be cheaper to construct too.
Skill Level: Moderate
- Tape measure
- Needle and thread
- Egg crate material
- Velcro strips
These plans are a bit more elaborate than some others, as you’ll need to sew Velcro strips onto the fabric. However, this will make the collar very easy to put on and take off, and, if you are moderately handy with a needle and thread, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to pull off.
We can’t find any good videos that walk you through the project, but it should be fairly easy to figure out: Cut a length of egg crate to the right length, cut a similar sized piece of felt to cover the egg crate, sew on a few strips of Velcro and you’re done!
When Do Dogs Need E Cones?
E cones are helpful in a wide variety of situations and circumstances, but a few of the most common times in which they’re used include:
Anytime your dog has surgery, he’s going to come home with an incision, which will typically elicit licking and chewing behaviors.
It’s important to put a stop to this natural response because your dog could quickly rip out the stitches, allowing the wound to pop open and exposing your dog to very serious (potentially life-threatening) danger. So, you simply must keep his mouth away from the incision while it heals.
After Being Spayed or Neutered
Spaying and neutering fall under the surgery umbrella, but they deserve special mention because they are such common procedures. Also, each of these procedures will leave an incision in a place that dogs can easily reach, so once again, it is very important to use a dog cone to protect your dog’s wound while he heals.
When Battling Yeast Infections or Other Skin Conditions
Various types of skin infections are pretty common among dogs, and they almost always trigger a bunch of licking and chewing behavior (such infections are often quite itchy). And although they’re usually relatively easy to treat with your vet’s help, you’ll need to keep your dog’s mouth away from the afflicted area while the medication does its thing.
Dogs Who Exhibit Problematic Chewing Behaviors
Some dogs develop emotional or behavioral problems that cause obsessive skin licking or chewing. This can cause wounds to form and encourage the development of secondary bacterial infections, so you’ll want to use an E-cone while addressing your dog’s issues with an animal behaviorist, reliable dog trainer, or vet.
Dogs Suffering from Flea Infestations or Allergies
Even a low-level flea infestation can cause your dog to be quite itchy, but some dogs actually develop an allergy to flea bites, which takes the itchiness to an entirely new level. This can trigger the kind of constant skin chewing that often results in skin wounds and infections.
You’ll obviously have to address your dog’s flea problem, but while you do, you’ll probably want to use an E-cone to prevent the problem from worsening.
E-Collar Tips and Tricks For Your Canine’s Convalescence
Whether you make your dog’s E-collar yourself or you buy one off the shelf, you’ll want to employ a few easy tips and tricks to help ensure it works as desired and gives your dog the best chance to heal. Among other things, this means doing the following:
Be Strict About the E-Cone
Dogs rarely enjoy wearing an E-cone, and they’re usually pretty good at guilting mom or dad into taking it off. But this is a very bad idea, as they’ll typically use the opportunity to start chewing at their incision or injury. In fact, it’ll also slow down the adjustment process, which will make things harder on your pet in the long run.
Just commit to the cone and refuse to take it off unless absolutely necessary. Your dog will forgive you, and he’ll be better off if you provide a little tough love while he heals.
Help Guide Your Dog Around the House
If you put a rigid E-cone on your dog, you may notice that he has a problem bumping into doorways, furniture, and other things in the house. Most dogs will (slowly) learn to get around without bumping into things, but you can speed up the process a bit by helping guide your dog for the first few days he’s wearing the collar, or keeping him gated in a smaller area while he recovers.
Remove at Mealtime If Necessary
Most properly fitted E-cones will allow a dog to eat normally, but some models can cause problems for dogs (particularly dogs with short faces or necks). Ideally, you’ll just hand feed your dog during this time, but if you don’t want to do this, you can take the E-cone off while your dog eats. Just be sure to monitor your dog carefully and put the cone right back on when he’s done eating.
Periodically Check for Abrasions
If your dog’s E-cone fits properly, it’ll be unlikely to cause abrasions, but it’s always a good idea to take the collar off so you can inspect his neck once every other day or so. Add extra padding or adjust the fit of the collar if need be to keep the cone from cause these types of injuries.
Have you ever made a custom E-cone for your dog? We’d love to hear about it! Tell us the basic materials you used and how you put the contraption together. We’d also be curious to know if you’d use the same type of cone again in the future if need be, or if you’d just buy a commercial model.
Want to work on more dog DIY projects? Check out our guides on:
DIY Comfy Alternative To The Cone Of Shame
Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. One day, your dog will need to wear the dreaded cone of shame. Honestly, I think an Elizabethan collar (plastic dog cone, cone of shame, e-collar, etc.) has earned a bad reputation. It’s all about perspective, right? In our home, we call dog cones “party hats” because we make them fun to wear. If your dog absolutely hates wearing a plastic dog cone, give this homemade dog cone alternative a try.
Disclaimer: Hands down, a plastic Elizabethan collar works best. There’s no comparison. Always follow your veterinarian’s advice. If you decide to try a towel dog cone alternative, partner with your vet first.
Meet the Towel Dog Collar
Last year, my Rottweiler chewed a couple of hot spots between both front paw pads. As part of our vet’s recommended treatment plan, we were told to focus on preventing my dog from licking the area. He’s pretty happy wearing a plastic dog cone, but I wanted to try a dog cone alternative—something that would be more comfortable while sleeping. I call this DIY dog cone alternative a towel collar and it works really well.
When designing this homemade dog cone alternative, I used the Bite Not Collar as inspiration. This dog collar resembles a human neck brace. It prevents dogs from turning their necks from side to side or downward, but this collar wasn’t perfect. The bottom edges would dig into my dog’s shoulders—ouch! Hmm, I thought maybe I could make something a bit better.
Using the Bite Not Collar design, I rolled up a thick towel and taped it into place. It took several days of trial and error, but I finally figured out how to keep the towel securely in place without putting too much pressure around Sobek’s neck, head and shoulders. Also, since the dog cone is a soft towel, no edges dug into my dog’s shoulders!
How to Create a Towel Dog Collar
You’ll need a thick towel, duct tape, smeared plate of peanut butter, friend to hold the peanut butter in front of your dog’s face and, of course, your dog. When picking peanut butter, make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol. If your dog is unable to stand still while you wrap the dog cone towel around his neck, check out these easy tips that will keep your dog happily standing still.
Step One: Choose a Towel Size
Depending on the size of your dog, choose a thick towel that can easily be folded into thirds and covers your dog’s neck area only. For my large Rottie, I used a super thick full-sized towel (a beach towel was too long). Several friends tried this method successfully using a kitchen towel for smaller dogs and a washcloth for very tiny dogs (under 10 pounds).
Step Two: Fold Towel
Fold the towel into thirds lengthwise. This way you can wrap the towel around your dog’s neck slowly.
Step Three: Don’t Wrap Too Tightly
Have your friend hold a smeared plate of peanut butter in front of your dog’s mouth, as you start wrapping the towel around your dog’s neck. When wrapping, make sure the towel isn’t too tight. Otherwise, your dog may choke or experience neck pain or breathing issues. Once wrapped, make sure your arm can easily fit between the wrapped towel cone and your dog’s neck.
For smaller dogs, make sure your hand or at least two fingers can easily slide all the way down between your dog’s neck and towel. If it’s too tight, rewrap until it’s just right.
Don’t worry. It will take a few tries to make sure the towel fits correctly, and hence the benefits of a smeared plate of peanut butter to keep your dog busy while you experiment.
Step Four: Tape in Place
Mimicking the Bite Not Collar straps, cut three pieces of duct tapeto wrap 2/3 around the towel. Place one tape strip at the top edge of the towel, place the second strip at the bottom edge and, lastly, wrap the third strip around the middle of the towel collar. Stick your hand between your dog’s neck and the towel to ensure the towel dog cone wasn’t pulled too tightly while taping.
Was My Dog OK Wearing This Dog Cone Alternative?
Thankfully, my Rottie, did well with his homemade dog cone alternative; and it stopped him from chewing on his front feet. He was able to sleep, eat, drink and potty comfortably, and he looked adorable wearing it too. 🙂
Every day, I would remove the towel dog cone and rewrap it. If you don’t rewrap it each day, the towel will lose its fluffy thickness and your dog will be able to turn his neck around. Throughout the day, make sure the towel doesn’t twist and tighten. If the towel gets dirty, take it off and wrap a new towel in its place; it’s super easy.
If you decide to give this DIY dog cone alternative a try, supervise your dog for the first few days of him wearing it and always partner with your veterinarian first. If your dog has neck pain during or after wearing his towel collar, remove it and contact your vet immediately.
WATCH: How to DIY Dog Cone Alternative
Filed Under: Equipment, Health, ResourcesTagged With: alternatives to a dog cone, cone of shame, diy dog cone, dog cone collar, dog cone ideas, dog cone neck, homemade dog cone, my dog hates his cone, soft dog coneSours: https://www.dogtrainingnation.com/equipment/homemade-dog-cone-alternative/
13 Simple DIY Dog E-Cones Everyone Could Make
E-cones or Elizabethan collars are not very common in the dog world, but they certainly serve a vital purpose. Very often, they are referred to as ‘cones’ simply because they are designed in the shape of a cone and are crafted in such a way that allows a dog to eat and drink quite easily. But what are they used for? Typically, E-cones are fitted around a dog’s neck to prevent the licking of wounds or interference with surgical incisions. This way, your dog is able to recuperate quickly and without disturbance. If you are after an E-cone but would rather not splash the cash, the below list offers some easy DIY homemade dog collars that are perfect for both dogs and cats:
A simple way of making an E-cone for your dog is by using cardboard. To do this, grab a piece of cardboard and place it on a table. Then take away your dog’s traditional collar and fold it to form a stencil for your dog’s new E-collar. Next, place your dog’s regular collar in the center of the cardboard and mark it out using a dark marker. Then cut the marked circle using a hole puncher and slip the cone-shaped cardboard through your dog’s head. Lastly, hold the edges of the E-cone with a masking tape, so it won’t easily pull off when your dog tries to wriggle its way out of the device.
For easy removal, you can punch little holes in the cardboard dog collar and attach a string or shoelace. Due to the flexible nature of cardboards, your dog can eat, drink, sleep and do anything while wearing the e-cone.
Check out our guides on Flea Collar for Dogs and Leather Dog Collars.
Plastic is another great product for constructing an E-cone for your dog. You simply have to dip a plastic flower pot in warm water filled with soap. Then scrub it very well to ensure you get rid of any soil or chemical that might cause allergic reactions on the skin of your pup. Next, create a hole that’s just about the size of your dog’s head on the bottom of the pot and squeeze the flower pot through the head, down to the neck of your dog. Lastly, cut smaller openings around the big one and tie the pot with a string. That’s all! The only thing you need to be aware of is that if your pup is allergic to plastics, it’s best to opt for other e-cone alternatives made with soft fabrics.
Paper Plate Dog E-cones
E-cones are not only designed for grown dogs but also for puppies. And to create an E-collar for your puppy, simply grab paper plate and cut a small hole in the center that’s wide enough to fit your pup’s head. Then, pass it through its head; and voila. The great thing about this method is that your pup won’t be able to reach any wounds that are healing.
The next method might sound crazy but certainly works. You can use a bucket to make a simple E-cone, which is a suitable method for all dog head sizes. However, you will first have to determine the size of the hole by using your dog’s collar. But remember to give a little allowance, so its ears can pass through the hole; then slip your dog’s head through.
In order not to hurt your dog with the somewhat sharp edges of the bucket, it’s vital to sand it down. And preferably, wear the bucket in such a way that the sharp corners are facing out.
When travelling in a coach or plane, you’ve probably made use of a neck pillow a couple of times. But you might not be aware that this same sleeping aid can be used to craft out the perfect dog E-cone. This is because the air content found in such pillows help tremendously to support the neck to prevent any strain when sleeping or resting. And the same principle applies to your dog to prevent the access to various parts of its body.
Another great thing about using neck pillows is that they are easy to construct and pose less threat to your carpet, furniture and other interior decorations. If you mistakenly run into your dog wearing a bucket collar, the result might be very painful, unlike using a soft pillow. In addition, neck pillows are easy to detach and insert, unlike other methods where you have to be very careful not to hurt your dog in the process. What’s more, your dog’s view is not obstructed by this device, unlike bucket and plastic E-cones. It can also eat and drink quite normally when worn a neck pillow.
Soft Neck Restrictor
For dogs with short legs, a soft neck dog collar is perfect. This homemade collar allows your dog to move, eat and drink freely. To make a soft neck restrictor right in your living room, the first thing to do is to take the measurements of your dog’s head, ears and neck. This will give you an idea of how wide the E-cone you are creating will be. As a guide, ensure you take the measurement at least twice to obtain a good average. And remember, due to the thickness of the foam you are using, you will have to give a little allowance to accommodate (say five to six inches.) So it won’t cause any discomfort to your dog.
The next step is to sew the edges. But remember to leave a little opening where you will insert the foam. Then use a Velcro to fasten the foam to the flaps, so it can pass through your dog’s neck. It is important to use a wide Velcro to make the restrictor stronger and firm. After this, pass the device through the head of your dog and turn it until it fits properly.
Due to the somewhat ugly nature of E-cones, you can try to construct one that has the same color as your dog. This way, your dog will feel less like a prisoner and more confident. However, we must quickly state that this E-cone is not ideal for dogs that are fond of licking their front legs. Instead, it helps to stop dogs from tilting their heads to touch their bellies and back.
Related Posts: Dog Knee Braces and Liquid Bandage for Dogs
Towel Dog Collar
Another affordable way of creating an E-cone for your dog is by using a towel. You will only have to sacrifice one of your towels lying around your house. Towel collars are quite similar to soft neck e-cones; hence, they are not recommended for stopping your dog from reaching its front paws. The only downside is that even though towel collars are quite helpful in preventing your dog from reaching wounds on its body, your dog can still chew its way out of it. Nevertheless, towel collars can be a quick way of preventing your dog from interfering with its injuries while you take it to a veterinarian immediately.
What’s more, if you have had a dog for quite some time now, you must have realized that dogs can be quite adaptive to things. Hence, it’s important you place the towel collar away from your dog’s reach, so it won’t wear it when you are not around.
Butter Tub Collar
Another way you can create an E-cone is by using a butter tub. The tools you will need to construct a butter tub collar for your dog include: a pair of scissors or knife, a marker for calibration, butter container and tape.
As with most homemade household items, butter tubs are very easy to transform into a dog collar. To do this, you will first need a butter tub that will fit through your dog’s head. Then bulge a hole in the container and fit it into your dog’s neck. Since a butter tub normally weighs less than a bucket, you might not need to protect it with straps.
Soft Egg Crate E-cones
Egg crate E-cones are quite similar to towel E-cones, but instead of using a towel, you will use an egg crate to construct a collar for your dog. This method will last longer than using towels because your dog won’t chew it off easily. But the construction process might be a bit difficult for first-timers to understand. To make an egg crate E-cone for your dog, you will need to have the following accessories: tape measure, needle, thread, scissors, felt, Velcro strip and egg crate.
To start the construction process, sew the Velcro strips to the material using a needle and thread. This way, the collar will be easy to wear and remove. Then cut a piece of felt measuring the same length as the egg crate, and cover it with the felt.
You can make a pliable e-cone using foam rubber or flexible plastic material. Simply grab the following tools and get to work: a pair of scissors, tape, marker, hole punch and shoelace.
The good thing about this method is that it works great for cats as well. And because you can easily lay your hands on the aforementioned materials, you can quickly make a dog collar for your pet before it worsens the injury on its skin.
Just like towels, you can use a piece of cloth to fashion an e-cone for your dog. Although cloth collars are not very strong, they can still serve your dog for a while; if you use them properly.
The major advantage that you get from using a cloth collar for your dog is comfort. Unlike using plastics, egg crates and buckets, clothes are more comfortable and cannot hurt your dog in any way. However, the drawback of using clothes is that they can collapse at the slightest touch. So, if you have a dog that’s an avid licker, this method may not be effective. Except you can go through the stress of monitoring every move of your dog when using this type of e-cone.
Pool Noodle E-Collar
A pool noodle dog collar is not very common in the dog world, but it is just as effective as other dog e-cones. What’s more, it is very easy to construct. The household tools you need to make a pool noodle collar for your dog include: pool noodle, rope, measuring tape and a pair of scissors.
This unique idea will put an end to your dog collar search because it can be created in less than 10 minutes. And since you will be the one making it from scratch, you can customize it to suit your dog. For instance, if you have a brown dog, you can make a pool noodle collar that’s brown. This way, it matches your dog and does not look too weird like most dog collars. And whether you choose to cut the pool noodle into smaller fragments or use a lengthy pool noodle, the result will still be the same – a long-lasting, comfortable and dog-friendly device.
Related Posts: Wheelchairs For Dogs and Dog First Aid Kits
Nylon and Foam Dog Collar
Last but not least, a nylon and foam can be used to forge a dog cone alternative for your pet within a few minutes. The good thing about this type of DIY dog cone is that it can be detached easily, so, your dog can freely eat, drink and sleep. This homemade dog cone restricts your pet from licking sores and wounds on its body. But to make sure it is secure and firm, you will have to attach loops to the dog collar.
However, it’s vital to always monitor your dog, so it doesn’t chew off the nylon when it gets furious and wants to free itself from the dog cone. Because if that happens; nylon, being a polymer, might cause even more harm to your pup – which will ultimately require treatment. Another drawback is that your dog might not be able to ascertain when the DIY Elizabethan collar is on. Hence, you have to make sure it does not run around blindly and hurt itself in the process of trying to lick its wounds.
- Alternatives to the Cone of Shame – PetMD
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