We have all come across a clumsy dog in the street, decked out in a huge ruff. Perhaps you even shared this experience with your companion when you returned from the veterinary clinic. The collar, otherwise called the cone, straitjacket, funnel or more flowery Elizabethan collar is generally plastic, rigid and translucent. It is removable and adjustable. It attaches to your animal’s neck, resting on its collar or with a link threaded through the loops. Your vet will choose the size of the collar, depending on your dog’s build and the length of his muzzle. It will project from the neck to the end of the muzzle and even a little beyond. It potentially can be very bulky. There are different types of dog collars.
Remember that the collar is not just a piece of plastic, it is an integral part of the treatment! We have all seen a clumsy dog in the street with a huge collar. Perhaps you even shared this experience with your companion when you returned from the veterinary clinic. The collar, otherwise called the cone, straitjacket, funnel or more flowery Elizabethan collar is generally plastic, rigid and translucent. It is removable and adjustable. It attaches to your animal’s neck, resting on its collar or with a link threaded through the loops. Your vet will choose the size of the collar, depending on your dog’s build and the length of his muzzle. It will project from the neck to the end of the muzzle and even a little beyond. It potentially can be very bulky.
What functions to this collar?
The collar prevents your animal from coming to tear off a bandage, to lick or even bite a sensitive area during healing. The collar therefore protects, but while allowing it to see and eat easily, after a fairly short adaptation time, of the order of 2 days. By sensitive area to be protected is meant two categories of body area:
- an area on the body outside the head, which should protect from licking and biting; for example a surgical wound during sterilization or an itchy area on the flanks, or
- an area located on the head of your companion, which we will protect from scratching by the paws or rubbing on surfaces such as floors, walls or furniture edges; for example affections of the ears or eyes.
Your veterinarian will prescribe a collar because it is often difficult to speak only to your pet’s desire to explore the sensitive area. By exploring it with its mouth or its paws, more or less delicately, your animal will exert an abnormal mechanical tension, even contaminate the area undergoing healing with germs. These two factors will contribute to delay his recovery. Wearing the collar will therefore reduce the impact of these two factors. The collar is therefore an essential component of treatment and to be effective, must be continuously worn by your animal, day and night, during the period recommended by your veterinarian.
The collar is often poorly supported the first few days, what can I do to relieve my animal?
Your animal bumps into everything, looks sad, doesn’t play like before, doesn’t eat with so much appetite. It is normal to observe this during the compulsory adaptation phase that your dog requires vis-à-vis the collar. This phase should not last more than 2 days. There is a reason for wearing this so-called object of torture, and most often it is this reason (illness, surgery) and the associated stress that tires your companion, more than the collar itself. Let’s demonize the collar! Let us have confidence in the resilience of our 4-legged companions, very often they are examples of courage and self-sacrifice!
However, you are the most likely to detect at home (back in a familiar environment) your dog’s discomfort with this collar that is too great. It is essential to discuss this with your veterinarian. He has treated your animal, knows it intimately and above all knows the relationship you have with your companion. Only his judgment will provide the right answer to these uncomfortable situations for your companion, for you and your interior at the same time.
Some general advice can formulate. Give her attention, even more than usual during her convalescence phase. Be careful, this does not mean that you have to give in to your every whim! And above all, do not remove the collar! Caressing the place of friction between the rim of the collar and its neck is an abnormally stressed area with the collar. Be careful not to explore your body too much, especially the sensitive area to protect, the frustration associated with wearing the collar can lead your companion to reactions that are not customary. Anticipate your pet’s return home by storing the porcelain vases, and if he is of imposing size, arrange for him a larger space so that he can lie down and rest with a collar without bumping into anything.
Bowl side, you can weight it down to facilitate its food intake, and be sure to regularly clean the rim of the collar with a damp sponge, often soiled with food remains. After discussions with your veterinarian, you may in certain situations opt for a temporary removal of the collar when your animal is under your strict supervision. Be careful, however, do not assume that your dog will be able to do without the collar outside your supervision, at night for example. A few minutes of inattention during which your dog through discomfort can ruin the efforts that you will have mobilized for several weeks, hang in there. Finally, we cannot rule on a minimum duration of wearing the collar, this duration depends on the underlying cause, in two words: look at the prescription.
Are there alternatives to the collar?
The collar, as we will have understood, is a necessary little evil. After the adaptation phase, your animal will live as if nothing had happened. Pain management is an essential complement to wearing a collar and one of your veterinarian’s priorities. Combined, therefore, the drugs and the collar will ensure optimal healing. If the discomfort with the collar is too great and the adhesive from the dressing is causing the irritation, other types of dressings can be used. If the sensitive area is located on the body (sides, stomach, back), there are now medical pet shirts. These are combinations specially designed for dogs, cats and rabbits, the fabric of which allows scars to breathe. However, some animals do not like this plan B either.
What’s new on the collar side?
There are other types of collar, for example flexible collars or moon collars, that is to say inflatable tubes (also called inflatable collar) also placed around the neck of your companion. These items, more expensive than conventional rigid collars, seem to be less effective in the field. The goal is to improve the comfort of your animal. But, also to limit the noise associated with your animal’s movements around the house. In short, talk freely with your veterinarian, the recovery and the well-being of your dog are his two priorities.