dog wearing a cone of shame

The Best Dog Cone Options Australia - Protecting Your Pooch

Our #1 Pick

The Best Value for Money

Zen Pet Zen Cone

  • Adjustable collar
  • Flexible but durable
  • Machine-washable
  • Comfortable

There comes a time in the life of most dogs when they need to wear the cone of shame. These cones are used to prevent your pet from scratching and gnawing on wounds or other injuries - and they really are necessary.

This guide is here to help you find a dog cone for your canine companion.


Dog Cone Collar Buying Guide

Dog cones are most commonly recommended after spaying or neutering operations, but they can be used to help dogs recover from all sorts of injuries. A dog neck cone can be terribly uncomfortable, though, and today there are many innovative solutions to help keep your dog more comfortable and the wounds healing. Below is a list of all the available options:

E-Collars

E-collar is the name veterinarians use for a standard dog neck cone. It is a rigid piece of thin plastic, usually transparent, going over your dog's head exactly like a cone. E-collars are often recommended as the only solution that is completely safe (1). There is not much philosophy to an e-collar. They are uncomfortable, they drive some dogs crazy, and they are effective. Most e-collars designed in this way work just fine, but it is important to get the right size.

Soft Cones

Soft cones are an attempt to make the recovery period more comfortable for dogs. These cones are usually made of fabric, sometimes with padding. They also come in a variety of colours, so at least your dog looks a bit less depressing. In all seriousness, soft cones can be a good solution, as long as they do not collapse too easily.

Inflatable Collars

Inflatable collars are another attempt at creating something easier to wear than the dreaded cone. An inflatable collar looks like a thick pillow going around your dog's neck. The fact that it’s inflated ensures the collar is lightweight enough despite the bulky shape. Although not as foolproof as cones, these collars tend to look well. If you decide to get one, look for wider models since they are safer.

Recovery Shirts

A final alternative to the cone is recovery clothes. A recovery shirt will fit tightly and cover your dog’s whole abdomen. In theory, this should prevent the dog from scratching. Recovery clothes can be much easier for dogs to adapt to, which makes them very appealing. Your dog can move normally, see everything, and eat without issues.

However, there are some issues that make recovery shirts a questionable alternative to cones. Consider, for example, what an experienced vet says about covering incisions after surgery:

"Covering an incision when the patient goes outside will help keep it clean, but avoid keeping a bandage on at all times, unless directed to by your veterinarian. While bandaging can be helpful in some situations, it can potentially slow down healing if used inappropriately and can cause other sores or lesions” - Dr Chelsea Sykes, DVM, for PetMD

A shirt will, of course, cover the sensitive area you are trying to protect. While protecting the spot, it also reduces the airflow, thus potentially slowing the healing process. For this reason, it is probably not the best idea to keep a recovery shirt on all the time. But in combination with a cone or a collar, it can be great for providing some comfort and relief to your dog.


The Best Dog Head Cones 2021 Reviewed

#1: Best Overall: Zen Pet Zen Cone

What sets this product apart from the rest?

  • Adjustable collar
  • Flexible but durable
  • Machine-washable
  • Comfortable

The Zen Cone from Zen Pet is a great solution when your dog needs a recovery collar. It is as effective as the standard “cone of shame” (called an E-collar by veterinarians), but it is much more comfortable.

While standard E-collars tend to be very rigid and tend to dig into your dog’s gentle skin, the Zen Cone wraps around your canine companion’s neck as gently as possible. At the base of the cone there is an adjustable collar so you can easily get the perfect fit. The Whole one is actually adjustable, and the mechanism is super simple, but effective since it uses velcro tape.

Instead of plastic, this cone is made of canvas. We think this choice of material works great: canvas is not as rigid, there are no sharp ages, but it’s still not too floppy either.

Finally, this cone has a slightly wider angle than standard E-collars. It is made just right: it prevents the dog from gnawing at sensitive areas, while still giving them an open view of the surroundings (as much as possible). The main reason we recommend this cone is that dogs tend to get used to it much more easily than to standard plastic cones.

Verified Review - 10/04/2021
Zen Cone Excellent
"I got this last minute as my diabetic blind dog was having cataract surgery which was successful. The Zen cone was awesome and more comfortable than plastic worth every cent."

Pros

Cons

  • Adjustable collar
  • Could be too heavy for small dogs
  • Flexible but durable
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  • Machine-washable
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  • Comfortable
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  • Lightweight
  • Completely adjustable
  • Designed for comfort and safety
  • Reflective edge for safety

This soft dog cone from All Four Paws is another great alternative to rigid plastic e-collars. This cone was designed to function exactly like a classic e-collar but provide more comfort to your dog.

This cone is soft and flexible but stays in place at the same time. How is this possible? Well, first of all, the cone is made of nylon fabric padded with foam. This way, the cone keeps its shape throughout the day, but also bends slightly when your dog is going through the door or other tight spaces. The cone itself is quite soft, but it is supported by plastic stays which are also removable. The “stays” are basically plastic sticks that go inside the cone. It's recommended to keep them in order for the cone to keep its shape, but they can be removed when needed to create a softer cone. The material the cone is made from is also water-resistant, which makes it easy to wipe off any dirt when needed (simply use a damp cloth).

The inside of this cone is black, and to some pet parents this could seem daunting. However, the black colour was used to create an opaque surface which prevents light reflections. This, in turn, keeps the dog calm. At the same time, the dog will not be able to see much except straight ahead. For most dogs, this design does indeed have a calming effect, but sometimes it can also cause a bit of anxiety.

Finally, the All Four Paws Comfy Cone is completely adjustable. You can set the size using velcro strips, and a hook-and-loop system keeps the cone securely in place. In addition to this, there are also elastic loops at the base of the cone so you can weave your dog’s collar through.

Pros

Cons

  • Lightweight
  • Not transparent
  • Completely adjustable
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  • Designed for comfort and safety
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  • Reflective edge for safety
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#3: Budget Pick: S-Lifeeling Recovery Cone

  • Transparent e-collar
  • Soft base for comfort
  • Secure button-closure
  • Comes in a variety of sizes

This recovery con from S-Lifeeling is basically an upgraded e-collar. For the most part, the cone is made from a thin sheet of plastic, just like the standard cones you can get from the vet. However, this cone also features a soft, padded part around the neck.

The soft padding makes the cone much more comfortable, and this, in turn, leads dogs to accept the cone much more easily. The plastic outer part is completely transparent thus enabling the dog to see the surroundings clearly and function as normal as possible.

The closure system of this cone features a set of tight-locking buttons. It’s as easy to set up as possible - just place it around the dog’s neck and snap the buttons in place.

If you choose this cone, keep in mind it’s important to choose the right size. The cone is adjustable, but not as much as a soft cone, so getting the sizing right is really important. Luckily, the cone comes in a variety of sizes. Just measure your dog’s neck girth and check the sizing chart when ordering.

Pros

Cons

  • Transparent e-collar
  • Not the most durable 
  • Soft base for comfort
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  • Secure button-closure
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  • Comes in a variety of sizes
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Dog Cone Alternatives

#4: Best Soft Dog Cone: SunGrow Soft Donut Collar

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Wide angle creates a wider field of sight
  • Machine-washable
  • Cute design

This collar from SunGrow is essentially a very soft and wide recovery cone. The cone is made of soft fabric with padding on the inside. It is soft all-around, including the part around the neck which is quite important. Putting this collar on is quite easy. You just put it around your pet’s neck and stick the velcro strip in place. The one is shaped a bit like a flower, and it comes in an adorable pink colour. At least your pet can look cute!

As mentioned, this collar is extremely soft and flexible. This also means that, although it has reinforced quality stitching, it could be ripped apart by a determined dog. The collar is also set at a wider angle than standard cones. This creates a more natural feeling for the dog, leading them to accept the recovery collar more easily. However, it can also mean that the dog might be able to reach the sensitive spot you are trying to protect. That being said, many pet parents have found this collar effective, so it’s definitely worth trying out. Just make sure to supervise the pet, especially in the beginning.

Verified Review - 24/02/2021
It’s okay
"It was a bit easier for him to eat and drink water. However, there were several times he would take it off. I didn’t want to put it tighter bc it doesn’t stretch. I switch it back to his ‘original cone’ that I got him."

Pros

Cons

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Not as secure as an e-collar
  • Wide angle creates a wider field of sight
  • Not available in large sizes
  • Machine-washable
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  • Cute design
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#5: Best Inflatable Dog Cone: ZenPet PRO Collar

  • Super lightweight
  • Easy storage
  • Multi-layered for durability
  • Outer cover is machine-washable

This collar from ZenPet is an innovative product trying to offer a much more comfortable alternative to classic e-collars. But does it work?

Let’s start with the features of this collar. The collar is inflatable, which is the basis of its effectiveness. When you want to put this collar on pet, you inflate it using a two-way valve, just like a beach ball. However, the collar is much tougher than a beach ball, which is, of course, necessary. The inflatable part is actually just the inner cushion. On the outside of it, you’ll find a tough cover designed to prevent your pet from puncturing it. Punctures are still possible, but much less likely thanks to the cover. The collar attaches to your dog’s collar with loops in order to keep it in place.

Now, about the effectiveness of an inflatable collar… The truth is, it will work for many dogs. Especially if the wound is on the belly (after neutering, for example), most dogs will not be able to reach it. However, sometimes there are other injuries your pet needs to wear a cone for. For example, if they hurt their leg, this collar would not be effective because the dog could easily reach the wound and start licking and gnawing.

Verified Review - 23/03/2021
Labrador Review
"So far so good. Large size for 24kg labrador he doesn't seem too phased. Let's hope it lasts"

Pros

Cons

  • Super lightweight
  • Possibility of puncturing
  • Easy storage
  • Not as effective as a cone
  • Multi-layered for durability
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  • Outer cover is machine-washable
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#6: Best Recovery Cushion: Kong Cushion

  • Ensures freedom of movement for your pet
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Adjustable
  • Easy to clean

This inflatable cushion from Kong is somewhere in between an inflatable collar and a cone. It is inflatable, and it also has a larger circumference than most competitors. In essence, it looks like a large inflatable saucer around your dog's neck.

The shape of this cushion-collar offers quite a few benefits. It is much more comfortable than a standard e-collar. It also allows your dog to move freely and doesn’t interfere with their vision. The dog can even eat with the cushion on! Overall, it’s a much more comfortable experience than rigid e-collars. But is it as effective? Well, most of the time it is. There is really no way a dog could reach their belly, for example. However, Kong says this cushion is not recommendable for eye or paw injuries, since it would be possible for the dog to reach the spot even with the inflatable collar on.

The collar is made of a material that is lightweight but strong. However, there is still the possibility of it getting punctured, especially if you have multiple pets. For this reason, Kong will also send you a repair patch to fix the collar if it does get punctured.

Pros

Cons

  • Ensures freedom of movement for your pet
  • Not for eye or paw injuries
  • Comfortable to wear
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  • Adjustable
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  • Easy to clean
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#7: Best Recovery Shirt for Dogs: MAXX Dog Recovery Shirt

  • Comfortable to wear
  • Made of cotton
  • Impossible to wiggle out of

Another alternative to the cone of shame is a recovery shirt (or maybe the better term would be onesie). This recovery shirt from MAXX is made of the best possible material for the purpose it serves. It’s made mostly out of pure cotton, with 4% spandex that makes it stretchy. Cotton is non-irritating and breathable, which is very important considering the shirt will cover surgery scars or other injuries. The stretch the spandex gives to this shirt, on the other hand,  is very important for comfort, since the garment does fit very tight.

The MAXX Dog Recovery Shirt is designed in such a way that it covers all of your dog’s body, except the legs and the head. It wraps around the tail, and buttons up at the back. This kind of design is necessary, since otherwise the dog would be able to wiggle out of the shirt and start scratching right away. However, it also means you will have to unbutton and roll back the onesie when your dog needs to go potty - which can be a bit complicated.

Verified Review - 12/04/2021
Great Product
"This fit out dog perfect based off the measurements from the site. The only issue is that the leg holes in the front were not lined up to fit the chest of our puppy. He wasn’t able to move his front legs well and ended up having the front of the shirt rub sores on his legs due to the seams of the shirt constantly rubbing on him. Overall though a great product. It converse all of the necessary areas and it wasn’t too thick."

Pros

Cons

  • Comfortable to wear
  • It can be hard to find the right fit
  • Made of cotton
  • Covering wounds can slow the healing
  • Impossible to wiggle out of
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Cone of Shame: Final Thoughts

When it comes to recovery aids, there is no perfect solution. No matter if it’s a cone, an inflatable collar, or a shirt, it will be slightly uncomfortable for your dog. But these things are necessary for a speedy recovery!

If you are looking for a modern, softener dog cone, Zen Pet Zen Cone is a good solution. If you think your dog might do better with an inflatable collar, then go with the Kong Cushion or the ZenPet PRO Collar. In any case, we hope this guide has helped you help your dog be healthy again.

FAQ

What size cone or recovery collar should I get?

The most important thing for getting the right size of cone or recovery collar is measuring your dog's neck circumference. Most manufacturers will have a size chart relying on this measurement. When it comes to cones, you also want the cone to be not too long and not too short. Too long and the dog will not be able to eat and drink, too short and the cone will not be effective.

Can my dog sleep with a cone on?

Yes, and, in fact, they should. While it can feel cruel, a dog left alone at night can have a lot of time for scratching and licking. The cone should stay on.

Can you leave a dog alone with a cone?

It is recommended for dogs wearing cones to be under constant supervision. This doesn’t mean you have to literally watch the dog every minute of the day but leaving the dog completely alone for long periods with a cone (or other protection) on is definitely not a good idea.

References
  1. “Alternatives to the Cone of Shame”. May 06, 2016. PetMD. Retrieved January 18, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/alternatives-cone-shame
  2. “How to Care for Your Pet After Surgery”. December 29, 2016. PetMD. Retrieved January 18, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/how-care-your-pet-after-surgery
Vedrana Nikolic

Vedrana Nikolić is a professional writer, anthropologist & dog lover with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying the communication between animals and humans. Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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