How to Get your Dog Used to an Elizabethan Collar

Written by stevie donald
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An Elizabethan collar or E-collar looks like a lampshade that fits around your dog's head and keeps him from self-injury by licking or chewing after surgery. It's commonly used after spaying and neutering, or if the dog is healing from an eye injury to prevent him from rubbing the eye. Here are some tips to help your dog adjust to wearing the Elizabethan collar.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Raised water and food bowls

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    How to Get your Dog Used to an Elizabethan Collar

  1. 1

    Elizabethan collars some in several styles. The most common type looks like a rigid plastic lampshade that fits around your dog's neck and is often attached with loops to her regular collar. There is a soft style, which is not as protective but easier for the dog to get used to. There is also an inflatable "donut" type collar that prevents the dog from reaching his rear end. Most types are adjustable. If your vet supplied the collar, it probably fits well. If you buy your own, choose the size suitable for your dog and make sure it's not too tight around his neck.

  2. 2

    Some dogs will be so discombobulated by this big cumbersome thing they will refuse to walk, or refuse to go through doorways. Encourage your dog. Show her that she can walk and get through doorways and down the hall. She'll quickly understand that she can manoeuvre with the E-collar by backing up and taking better aim. Don't make a big fuss. Keep to her normal routine. Dogs quickly get used to an Elizabethan collar and will eat, drink, play and even sleep with it on.

    How to Get your Dog Used to an Elizabethan Collar
  3. 3

    You may have to give him food and water in raised bowls or buckets because the E-collar can prevent him reaching his regular bowls. Move his food and water bowls away from the wall so he doesn't bump the E-collar while eating and drinking. No matter what style of Elizabethan collar he has, they are all flexible enough to allow the dog to lie down, sleep or chew on a bone or chew toy. Get him a new chew toy to help him settle down when he needs to.

  4. 4

    Depending on your vet's instructions, you may be able to remove the E-collar for short periods of time to let her eat and drink more comfortably. If the instructions are to leave it on all the time, do not take it off. If she has to wear it 24/7, you may have to clean it off occasionally. Don't use any strong smelling or harsh cleaners.

  5. 5

    If your dog has long hair, run your fingers around the neck of the E-collar daily to check for tangles or places where his fur may be getting caught and pulling.

Tips and warnings

  • If your dog's condition allows for her to exercise, take her for her regular walks.
  • Don't be surprised if he doesn't respond to your voice as quickly as usual. The Elizabethan collar makes it harder for him to hear, especially if you are behind him or some distance away.
  • Unless your vet says it's all right to remove the collar for short periods of time, do NOT take it off until instructed to.

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