The 8 Best Dog Cones Australia: Tested & Evaluated 2023
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 as much as they might not like it - they really are necessary.
This guide is here to help you find a dog cone for your canine companion. We teamed up with veterinarians, canine behaviour experts, and pet parents alike and put several dozen dog cones to the test. After months of research and much conjecture, we were finally able to agree on this list of the best dog cone options Australia offers. Let's check them out!
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
KONG Cloud Cone Collar
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Chew resistant
- Easy to fit, remove, and store
- Machine washable
Runner Up -
Zen Pet Zen Cone
- Adjustable collar
- Flexible but durable
- Machine washable
Third Choice -
All Four Paws Comfy Cone
- Completely adjustable
- Designed for comfort and safety
- Reflective edge for safety
Australia's Best Dog Cones Reviewed
What sets this product apart from the rest?
"Simple yet effective. The Kong Cloud Cone Collar has long been a fan favourite of dogs (at least compared to the more classical dog cones). They are lightweight and much more comfortable. We see a lot less dogs getting frustrated with this option."
The first dog cone on our list is actually more of a doughnut and resembles more of a travel neck pillow than a cone of shame. During our testing phase, I discovered that this inflatable recovery collar performs the same function as a dog cone, but it’s less cumbersome and more comfortable.
The principle is simple. When inflated, this collar will fit around your dog’s neck. The Cloud Cone Collar is very bulky, so it will prevent the dog from liking any part of its body. At the same time, it’s still quite comfy and allows the dog enough freedom of movement to eat and drink easily. It's also more lightweight than our second option, which dogs of all sizes will appreciate.
The KONG Cloud Cone Collar being tested by our independent expert team.
The KONG Cloud is our research panel's favourite inflatable recovery collar due to its toughness. Unlike some other similar products like our number four choice, the material this collar is made of is not easy to chew through, which should give you some peace of mind. And if the collar gets dirty, you can simply deflate it and wash it in the washing machine.
What sets this product apart from the rest?
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 cone 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. Every member of our independent expert team 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: I prevented my dog from gnawing at sensitive areas, while still giving him 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.
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" (insertable strips) which are also removable. However, our team of experts recommend you keep them in, 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 on our research team thought 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, similar to our number two choice, and the 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.
This recovery cone 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 that our independent expert panel appreciated when testing it with our doggos.
The soft padding makes the cone much more comfortable, and this, in turn, generally makes this an acceptable cone for most dogs to adapt to. Unlike our number three choice, the plastic outer part is completely transparent thus enabling the dog to see the surroundings clearly and function as normal as possible.
The S-Lifeeling Recovery Cone being tested by our independent expert team.
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. I was able to nab the correct one for my pup by measuring my dog’s neck girth and checking the sizing chart when ordering.
Dog Cone Alternatives
This collar from SunGrow is essentially a very soft and wide recovery cone, setting it apart from other options on our list. 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.
I really liked how putting this collar on is quite easy. I just put it around my dog's neck and stuck the velcro strip in place. For added cuteness, this one is shaped a bit like a flower, and it comes in an adorable pink colour.
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 on our independent team of experts found this collar effective, so it’s definitely worth trying out. Just make sure to supervise the pet, especially in the beginning, to ensure this design will be the right choice during their recovery.
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, similar to our Kong choices on this list, 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, our independent research panel liked how it has 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 our research team notcied their dogs could easily reach their leg and start licking and gnawing.
This inflatable cushion from Kong is somewhere in between an inflatable collar and a cone. It is inflatable, like our number one and number six choices. and it also has a larger circumference than most competitors. In essence, it looks like a large inflatable saucer around your dog's neck.
Our panel of independent experts note that 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.
Another alternative to the cone of shame is a recovery shirt (or maybe the better term would be onesie). All members of our research team loved how this recovery shirt from MAXX comprises 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.
Unlike the cone and collars on this list, 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, as some of our research team members discovered firsthand.
The Different Types of Dog Collars
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 as much as we want to make them as comfortable as possible (especially after a big surgery), our team of independent vets warn against taking it off as it can lead to premature stitch removal and surgical site infection and create more problems for your pet (1).
Thankfully, today there are many innovative solutions to help keep your dog more comfortable while their wounds are healing. Below is a list of all the available options we tested:
E-collar (short for Elizabethan 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 (2).
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 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, our independent experts think that soft cones can be a good solution, as long as they do not collapse too easily and defeat the purpose of preventing your pooch from reaching their wound.
Inflatable collars are another attempt at creating something easier to wear than the dreaded cone of shame. An inflatable collar looks like a thick neck pillow for your dog. 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, we suggest you look for wider models since they are safer.
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.
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.
My 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, softer dog cone, then our team of independent experts think the Kong Cloud Cone is the top product. If you think your dog might do better with a more traditional cone, then we suggest that you go with the Zen Pet Zen Cone. In any case, we hope this guide has helped you help your dog be healthy again.
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.
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.
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.
- Fernandez, C. April 28, 2021. “Dog Surgery Aftercare FAQs”. PetMD. Retrieved April 29, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/dog/dog-surgery-aftercare-faqs
- Fivecoat-Campell, K. May 6, 2016. “Alternatives to the Cone of Shame”. PetMD. Retrieved April 29, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/alternatives-cone-shame
- Osborne, C. "How to Care for Your Pet After Surgery" Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center and Pet Clinic. Retrieved April 29, 2023. https://www.chagrinfallspetclinic.com/2017/01/09/care-pet-surgery/