How Long Does My Dog Have to Wear a Cone?

Here’s a breakdown of dog cones after surgery, how long to use them, and alternatives:

Purpose of the Cone

  • “Cone of Shame” is Misleading: Cones prevent a dog from licking or chewing sutures and wounds, crucial for proper healing.
  • Licking is Instinctual: Dogs lick for comfort, but it can disrupt stitches, introduce bacteria, and worsen the injury.

How Long to Wear the Cone

  • Typically 10-14 Days: Most vets recommend this timeframe for sutures to heal and be removed.
  • Depends on Surgery: Some procedures (eye, knee) may require longer cone use.
  • Vet Check-Up is Essential: Don’t remove the cone without your vet’s assessment of the healed site.

Challenges of Wearing a Cone

  • Interferes with Daily Life: Eating, drinking, playing, and even navigating can be difficult.
  • Can Cause Discomfort: The cone can rub against the neck or create irritation.

Alternatives to the Cone

While cones are highly effective, here are some options if your dog really struggles:

  • Bandages: Can cover small wounds and deter licking.
  • Surgical Recovery Suit: A soft, comfortable garment that restricts access to the wound site.
  • Inflatable Collars: Less cumbersome, but may not be as effective in preventing licking.

Key Takeaways

  • Protect the Wound: Preventing licking is key to successful healing and preventing complications.
  • Follow Vet’s Instructions: They’ll determine the best duration of cone use based on your dog’s specific surgery.
  • Prioritize Healing: Short-term discomfort with the cone is better than prolonged problems from interrupted healing.
  • Alternatives Exist: If your dog is severely distressed, talk to your vet about other options that suit their needs.

Why Do Dogs Need to Wear Cones after Surgery?

The cones, also known as Elizabethan collars, are a barrier inserted into the neck of the canine friend just after the surgery is done.

This is because dogs possess a habit of licking their wounds as this is a natural process by which they treat the unusual scratches on their body.

Yes, the saliva of dogs has some antibacterial properties by which it is capable of healing normal wounds on the body of dogs.

But the case of surgery is different, as there are stitches in the body at that time, and the canine might try to put the threads if he was given access to the stitch, thus causing severe infections at the affected site.

So by the above-discussed information, we can say that dogs need to wear a cone to avoid licking the affected site.

How Can You Put a Cone on a Dog?

When it comes to putting the cone on a dog, it should be done with utmost accuracy as a little bit of mistake can cause severe pain to the canine friend who has just come up from the surgery. A dog owner can follow the steps for putting a cone on a dog accurately are discussed below.

Release the Strings

The first step to follow while putting a cone on a dog’s neck is to release the strings of the cone. This can be simply done by holding the threads flaunting at the upper side with the fingers and pulling it.

Placement of the Cone

Here comes the most important step of the entire procedure. The putting of the cone in the neck should be done very carefully as in this step, the chances of your pet getting hurt becomes very high.

The owner is suggested to put on the cone over the neck in the same way in which we used to put on a shirt over the neck. Never forget to check if the ears of the dog are above the cone or not.

Tighten the Cone

Here comes the last step of putting a cone on the dog’s neck. It is also one of the steps that should be done carefully as it will decide the dog’s comfort zone with the cone.

The owner is suggested to maintain a gap of around two to three fingers between the rim and the dog’s neck, and the cone should be tight enough so that the pet can’t remove it on its own but should not cause any kind of discomfort the canine friend.

All the above-discussed steps are based on the trips followed by vets to put a cone on a dog’s neck. So if a dog owner is looking for steps to put a cone on their dog’s neck, they can completely rely upon the steps mentioned above.

How Long Does My Dog Have to Wear a Cone?

As the veterinarians suggest, the number of days that the cone has to be on the dog’s neck mostly depends on what type of surgery it has gone through and what time the stitches and the wounds will require to heal.

It can vary depending upon the type of methods the vets use for performing the surgery and the type of medicines prescribed.

 If the owner removes the collar from the dog’s neck before the stitch gets fully healed and without discussing with the vet the condition of the wound, then it will result in several problems.

This is because when the dog is given access to the affected site, the pet will try to put on the threads of the stitches, which can result in a delay in the recovery process, prolonged treatment, and many other issues.

Hence we can clearly say from the above-discussed information that a cone should remain on the dog’s neck until the wound gets fully healed and until the threads of the stitches are removed, as this will also prevent the dog from getting affected some other issues.

As per the research, almost all the wounds and stitches of dog surgery require a week to get healed properly, after which the cone can be removed.

Now the fact is most of the sutures used in the surgery are left by the vet for about 10 – 14 days, due to which the vets suggest that the cone should be removed after 10 – 14 days after having a proper vet check-up.

In contrast, lesions take less than 14 days to get healed properly, so the time to heal depends mainly on the types of suture material used, the surgical procedure, the suture absorption time, and many others.

Now we are going to show you a table that represents some of the common conditions in which the dog has to wear a cone and the period by which the cone should be placed on the dog’s neck.

Surgery Condition Days in Which the Cone Should be Placed in the Neck
Surgical stitches 10 – 14 days after the operation
Dissolvable stitches 7 – 14 days after the operation
Normal surgery 7 – 10 days after the operation
Eye surgery 20 – 28 days after the operation
Neutered 10 – 14 days after the operation
Laser neuter 14 – 20 days after the operation
Spayed 15 – 20 days after the operation
TPLO surgery 30 days after the operation
Entropion surgery 14 – 18 days after the operation
ACL surgery 12 – 16 weeks after the operation
Knee surgery 4 – 5 weeks after the operation
Ear cropping 2 – 3 weeks after the operation

Important Note: Always consult your veterinarian for specific post-surgical instructions, including cone usage, as recovery times can vary.

By going through the above-discussed table, you can get an exact idea of how long a dog has to wear a cone after its surgery.

What are the Drawbacks of Wearing a Cone?

As the cone remains surrounding the neck of the dog for twenty to thirty days, it can cause many difficulties to the pet, due to which the owners urge for tips to prevent a dog from licking without using the cone. A dog’s difficulties after having a cone on its neck are discussed below.

Difficulty in Drinking Water

As the cone covers almost the entire mouth of the dog thus, it causes difficulty for the canine friend to drink water and eat food. The use of straw or feeding with a spoon can be really helpful in this case.

Difficulty in Playing

As the entire neck of the dog remains surrounded by the cone, the dog feels uncomfortable and finds it difficult to play while having the cone on its collar.

Collar-Related Issues

As the cone surrounds the whole neck of the pet and it was also tightened to avoid a certain slip out of it, the place of the collar where the cone is tied up got some scratches and rashes, thus causing some discomfort to the pet.

How to Keep a Dog from Licking Stitches Without a Cone?

As discussed, a dog faces some difficulties while having a cone on its collar. Some dog owners might want to prevent their dogs from licking the stitches without the use of a cone, so the methods to use instead of the cone are discussed below.

Use of a Bandage

It is the best way to prevent the dog from licking the wounds on its body. The use of a body will ensure the safety of the wound from the dog and provide a bacterial-free environment for the wound for a fast healing procedure.

Use of a Surgical Recovery Suit

Instead of discomforting your pet by putting a cone on its neck, you can prevent the wound from licking the pet by simply covering it.

Using a surgical recovery suit can be the best choice in this case, as it was designed in a way to prevent the licking of the dog and prolong the healing process. Also, it is very comfortable as it is made up of soft fabric.

The above two are the most used products instead of an Elizabethan cone to prevent the dog from licking the wound.

So, here we are done with the entire article, and have discussed all the information that can help you in completing your search regarding how long does my dog have to wear a cone.

We hope that the article has helped you and has cleared all your doubts regarding the matter. Thanks for staying till the end with us and reading the whole article.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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