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Cone Alternatives for Dogs After Amputation Surgery

Was your Tripawd’s amputation incision bandaged? Did she come home wearing the Cone of Shame?

In our 2010 Tripawds Amputation and Cancer Care Survey, we learned that most Tripawds came home without a bandage on the incision.

And while nearly all Tripawds come home with a dreaded Cone of Shame, realistically, not all dogs will tolerate the traditional plastic Cone. They’re big and bulky and it’s hard enough learning how to walk again without wearing one of these devices.

Although you need to do your best to ensure that your dog wears it continuously while the incision heals (generally for two weeks), if you find that your dog melts down while wearing one, there are alternatives you can try:

Cone of Shame Alternatives

Bite Not Collar is great for rear-leg amputees since it protects the back, rump, base of tail, flanks, chest, abdomen and genitals.

It also stops small and medium dogs from licking their feet. Wraps snugly around the animal’s neck and should be wide enough to extend from behind the ear to the top of the shoulder.

ProCollar Premium Inflatable Protective Collar, a donut-shaped, inflatable collar that goes around your dog’s neck but doesn’t block your Tripawd’s peripheral vision. Tripawds have reported that rear-leg amputees can still reach the incision when wearing one, however.

Comfy Cone Pet E-Collar, which is made of foam-backed nylon and has Velcro closures that adjusts to many different sizes.

cone alternative for dogs
The Comfy Cone, a cone alternative for dogs

It’s water resistant and repellent and easy to wipe clean. The cone can be folded back for added freedom while eating and drinking or when checking wounds and irratations.

Clear Collars: Try one of these nifty Transparent E-Collars that Spirit Jake wore.

Because the collars are clear, technically a dog’s peripheral vision won’t be impacted. However they are still rigid so keep that in mind.

More Wound Management Tips

  • Modify a Muzzle: Put the upper part of pantyhose over the cage part and secure it with tape
  • Use a Bath Towel: Get a large towel, roll it, then wrap around your dog’s neck (loosely but not too loose that she can slip away). The thick towel can serve as a barrier between her neck/chin and the incision.
  • Booties like PAWZ or Ruff Wear’s Grip Trex can be used to keep your dog’s paws from scratching at the site, but dogs with other degenerative mobility issues should not use them.

dermacoolEven with a cone or cone alternative, remember that stitches will become dry and your dog will want to scratch at them. If you see this starting to happen you can try:

An Anti-Inflammatory SprayZymox Pet Spray with Hydrocortisone is one. You can also try other over the counter  human medicines to relieve itching, such as Benadryl and Chlorpheniramine. Be sure to check with your vet about proper dosage for yoru dog.

Pet Licking Deterrent: Many Tripawds members have reported success using a Bitter Apple Spray to help prevent licking and chewing.

Do you have a no-bite solution not mentioned here? If so, be sure to comment and let us know what it is!

Visit our Discussion Forums for other tips that pawrents have tried.

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10 thoughts on “Cone Alternatives for Dogs After Amputation Surgery”

  1. My dog had her right hind leg amputated. She came home with a huge bandage and a cone of shame. Somehow, she managed to get her bandage off even while wearing the cone!

    So, I put a pair of little boy boxer shorts on her. Her tail came out the flap in the crotch. The shorts were easily removed when she went out to “do her business”. And she left her bandages alone!

  2. I don’t really recommend the comfy cone. Cody, my 6yr/old cattle dog figured out how to bend it and got to his paw and literally chewed completely through one of his digits and started on the second. I got it because he was going to be in the cone for over a month with other injuries and I wanted him to be some what comfortable.

  3. He goes in for surgery tomorrow. Not all dogs are going to do what Cody did, but sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry. It isn’t Comfy Cone’s fault. I just wanted let people know that it can be gotten around if your dog is stubborn enough.

  4. when my best friend had to have her kitty’s front leg amputated, she was sent home with the cone. well, kitty learned how to remove it. She was then instructed to use a baby onesie, which is an option. I don’t think kitty tolerated that too well either, but she left the staples alone after that without wearing anything.


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