Dog depressed wearing cone (5 reasons Why+ tips)

In this post, “ Dog depressed wearing cones” will be discussed in detail with information about dog cones, the uses of dog cones, how long should the dog cone be used, the consequences of using dog cones on the dog and some FAQs associated concerning the topic.

Why are dogs depressed when wearing cones?

Your Dog may be depressed wearing a cone because:

  • It disturbs their movement
  • Difficulty in eating, drinking and sleeping
  • Impairment in their social interaction
  • Make them lazy and lethargic
  • It make them restricted and controlled
  • Results in injuries and problem around collar region


Cone is solid with a circular base with a single vertex. When the vertex is over the base’s centre, it is called the right cone while if it is not, then it is called Oblique cone. Cone is also defined as a three-dimensional shape with a flat base and smooth tappers on the top. 

Dog cone/ Pet cone

It is also called Elizabethan collar, E collar, Pet cone or Buster Collar. It is a protective device worn by the animal mostly, dog and cats. The shape of it is similar to that of a truncated cone and serves the purpose of preventing the pet from licking or biting another animal as well as their own body. 

The device is attached to the collar of a pet using tabs or string through a hole that is punched on the plastic of the cone. 

It can be purchased from a vet or any pet stores. The material is made up of plastic, cardboard or using plastic flower pots. However, in recent years, it is also made up of soft fabric to make it comfortable and convenient for the pet. 

Pet cones are also called “Dog cones of shame”.

Reasons for wearing a dog cone

Despite the accessory looking very different and weird on the pet, it is very important and serves a different purpose. And at some point in their lives, the pet has to wear one plastic cone.

  • It acts as a protective barrier for the dog or the pet, in general, to stop them from accessing their wound.
  • To protect them from licking their wound and injury obsessively 
  • For the purpose of the speedy recovery process
  • Heal the wound faster and recover from their surgery sooner
  • Act as a barrier to tear their wound

These are the different purposes dog cones serve, primarily for the purpose of speedy recovery from surgery and quick healing process of their wound by acting as a physical barrier. And it is imperative to wear it on the vet’s recommendation and advice so that there is no interference to their healing process. 

Alternatives to Dog cone

Although the plastic cones itself provide a great shield and defence for the pet, it is often not comfortable and adjustable to the dog and the pet to wear. Many wear it however, these are a few who actually refuse to wear it.

Some of the alternatives to plastic dog cones are:

Soft collar

They have the same design and shape like the dog con except that it is made up of fabric which is comfortable for the dog and is less likely to result in skin irritation especially for those dogs having skin sensitivity. This type of cone design is suitable for those dogs which are less active and remain lazy. 

Inflatable Collar

This collar is structured and designed similar to a neck pillow. It is fluffy and padded thus, a preferred replacement to a plastic cone, however, it is not ideal to wear constantly. 

Since the mobility of the dog even wearing this will allow them to access their wound, it is preferable for the dog with upper-body injuries. An ideal way of deciding whether to use an inflatable collar is to examine the level of mobility of the dog and then decide on it.

Neck Collar

It is made up of flexible plastics and foam that allows the dog to move and be flexible than restrictions and feeling choking. It is better suited for those dogs who are nervous since it won’t let them feel tight and congested.

Surgical Recovery Kit

Those dogs that tend to refuse any kind of device or accessory around their neck, an alternative is a surgical recovery kit. The wound and the stitches they have on the body can be wrapped or covered with the soft fabric suit. There are varied material types and sizes.

How long should the dog wear a dog cone?

Ideally, a week is preferable for the pet to wear its pet cone for the healing process. And during the entire timespan of healing and recovery, it should stay on a dog cone.

However, in between, it can be removed especially when going for a walk. During the time of cone wear, care and cleaning should also be done periodically to avoid any kind of odd smell.

Difficulties of wearing a dog cone

Despite the purpose a dog cone serves in the process of recovery and healing from wound and post-surgery, dog cones can be stressful for the dog to wear for a long time. 

Some of the difficulties faced by the pet when wearing the dog cone are:

Difficulty in eating food 

With the cone, it makes the pet difficult to eat their meal. It can be an underlying result of distress caused by wearing a cone.

Complications in drinking water 

Dogs also find it difficult in drinking water just like eating since they are protected with the cone.

Hampers their vision 

The cone and its space surrounding their collar impair their vision since sides of their eye are blocked by the cone shield.

Impairment in hearing

Hearing of the pet is also impaired with the dog cone on. It makes it difficult to hear since the area of the shield takes over their ear side.

Increased difficulty in movement 

Movement is hampered with the dog cone on and often they find it hard to move around with the cone thus making them lazy and slack off.

Getting their head stuck in the dog cone

When the dog cone seems too tight and fitting for the dog, they often find themself choke and stuck in the cone finding it difficult to get out of it and move around.

Unable to touch other parts of their body

Dog cones impairs movement and their ability to touch other parts of the body. They feel tight around the neck region and are controlled thus making it difficult for them to look around and even to touch their own body parts.

Impacts their interaction with other pets

Dog cones make the pet lazy and distressed resulting in a gloomy state. And consequently, they don’t interact and deal with the other pets much.

Causes injury and irritation to the pet, to their owner as well as their property

Since the dog cone has to be put on for the entire time span of recovery and healing, there are cases of injuries and skin irritation caused around the neck region. It indeed is a problem and burden for the pet itself and its owner.

Smashing into furniture like bed, chair and door

Since the dog cone restricts and covers their eye and area around eyes, it results in the pet to bump into other furniture around the room such as bed, door and chair.

  • Collar related injuries in most of the pet
  • Difficulty in toileting and grooming 
  • Inability to play and stay active
  • Potential discomfort and injury to the pet

These are difficulties faced by the pet, especially dogs, when the dog cone is put on them for a long time. Thus, it is always advisable to use the alternatives of dog cone or cone of shame for the prevention of associated negative effects on the pet itself and also to the owner and their property.  Even if the dog cone is put on, owners have to ensure that all the activities of the pet are monitored and guided.

Strategies for making the dog cone more comfortable

Since wearing a dog cone or cone of shame is associated with a lot of difficulties for the pet itself and for the owner, there are ways to prevent all these unnecessary side effects and make the dog cone comfortable for the pet.

Some of the strategies are:

Keeping the cone on and adjusting with it

Although it is tempting for the dog to remove the cone, it is necessary to be strict with wearing it and training the pet to adjust to wearing it. Removing it unnecessarily hampers the recovery process of the pet and makes the treatment longer.

Teaching eating, drinking and sleeping with the cone on

Since the major difficulties faced by the pet when wearing the cone is eating, drinking and sleeping, the owner should deal with these problems. Getting a proper dog cone size so that the dog can easily manage these tasks is the key. Other than that, resorting to other techniques like getting a bowl for feeding of their size solves these problems.

Making extra space

Wearing a dog cone reduces their space and the dog can be bumped into everything around the home. It is ideal to help them adjust with the new space by removing unnecessary barriers in home and then let the dog wander around the space so that they can adjust with the new space. 

Spending enough time for exercise and training them

Practising and spending a lot of time training the dog under supervision helps the dog recover better and learn to adjust with the new accessory. 

Making sure that the dog cone is not tight

Tight dog cones result in problems such as injury around the neck collar area, difficulty in their movement, eating, sleeping and drinking, thus making sure that the dog cone is of perfect size for the dog and pet helps in eliminating all other side effects of it.

Praising and reinforcing the pet when a good behaviour is demonstrated

Being consistent with the reinforcements for good behaviour displayed by the pet can help the pet become accustomed with the dog cone. 

Helping the pet to navigate when on dog cone

In home and in outdoor, it is advisable to navigate the dog when on a dog cone so that the pet can learn to adjust with the dog cone and learn to survive with the dog cone on.

While training the pet with their dog cone on, things that should be avoided are not to leave the dog alone, not to remove the dog cone without necessity and not to let the dog feel guilty.

FAQs: Dog depressed wearing cone

How do you cheer up a dog with a cone?

To cheer up the dog with a dog cone, it is best to reward or treat the dog whenever the dog shows interest in the cone. 

Do cones make dogs sad?

Yes, since dog cones make the dog more depressed and low, owners of most of the dogs are reluctant to put dog cones on the pet. The problem associated with dog cones is difficulty in drinking, inability to play and etc.

Can my dog sleep with a cone on?

Yes, the dog can sleep, drink, eat and pee with the cone on, however, they do experience difficulty with the cone on.

What if my dog hates the cone?

It is better to train the dog to live with the cone on and if they can tolerate it, it is ideal to keep it on.

Can a dog be left alone with a cone on?

No, dogs can’t be left alone with their dog cone on.


In this post, “ Dog depressed wearing cone” was discussed in detail with information about dog cones, the uses of dog cones, how long should the dog cone be used, the consequences of using dog cones on the dog and some FAQs associated concerning the topic.

Internal link for further information

How to Make a Dog Cone More Comfortable


Horwitz, D. (n.d.). Dog Behavior Problems – Elizabethan Collars. vca.

Purina. (n.d.). Why Do Dogs Wear Cones? Your pet, your passion.,incision%20or%20any%20other%20irritation.&text=These%20dog%20cones%20extend%20a,protection%20while%20the%20wound%20h

Traverse, T. K. (2020). What You Should Know If Your Dog Needs to Wear a Cone. Daily paws.

University of Sydney. (2020). The Cone of Shame makes pets miserable. The university of sydney.

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