Elizabethan collars look like giant cones, and have been likened on more than one occasion to radar or satellite dishes. However comical, these cones serve a very real purpose--they prevent your dog from pulling out or chewing on stitches after surgery. Putting an Elizabethan collar, or E-collar, on your dog post-surgery is an easy task that requires less than five minutes of time and prevents a world of pain, suffering and recurrent vet bills.
Enlist the help of a friend to restrain or distract your dog if he is incapable of or unwilling to sit still as you put the Elizabethan collar on.
Examine the Elizabethan collar. Some collars have slots or tabs in which to thread your dog's normal collar through.
Remove your dog's normal collar if the Elizabethan collar has slots or tabs.
Slide your dog's collar through the slots or tabs on the Elizabethan collar, if applicable.
Fasten your dog's regular collar around his neck. If your Elizabethan collar does not have slots or tabs, fasten the Elizabethan collar around your dog's neck over his regular collar.
Close the side seam on the Elizabethan collar. Many E-collars snap or lock shut. This ensures that the collar encircles your dog's head so he cannot possibly lick or pull at his sutures.
Some owners may find that an Elizabethan collar does not stay on their dog, or that their dog becomes too uncomfortable with the Elizabethan collar in place. An alternative to using an E-collar is bitter apple spray, which is applied to the area that you don't want your dog chewing on. This spray tastes awful and discourages chewing.
Some dogs become highly agitated when faced with the prospect of an E-collar. Dogs who use an Elizabethan collar need to adjust the way they walk, eat, sleep and play. Make sure your dog is able to do all of these things easily. Elizabethan collars are made from hard plastic. Make sure your dog is not able to chew on the E-collar, as pieces could break off and harm her. Elizabethan collars are subject to a lot of wear and tear. If the Elizabethan collar becomes cracked or broken, replace it with a new one. Cracked Elizabethan collars pinch, poke and scratch skin, increasing the potential for injury.