How to Make a Dog Cone? DIY Solutions


Dog wearing a plastic dog cone

Dogs instinctively lick themself as a way of grooming and soothing. However, doing that on a lesion or doing it excessively can lead to infection and inflammation. That’s why dog cones, also known as Elizabeth cone, were designed to prevent your dog from licking, biting, or chewing stitches, hot spots, or wounds that are healing. 

The problem with the original plastic cones is that they limit your dog’s visibility, and prevent them from eating, and drinking normally. Your dog won’t be able to see the ground, which is a problem when he needs to climb the stairs, for example. He may also accidentally bump into walls, chairs, desks, or other objects because he can’t see on the sides. It can be frustrating to your dog and may affect his ability to move freely. 🙁

Luckily there are alternatives to plastic cones, and some of these are easy to make at home. In this article, we review DIY dog cones and other alternatives on the market. 

Tales from the tails 🐕

I have two stories to share about my boarding dogs wearing plastic cones. Mickey, who is 14 years old, sometimes wears his cone of shame when he has allergy flare-ups. Without it, he would chew his paws uncontrollably and you could see him struggling afterward. The problem is that Mickey lives in a two-story house and he likes to follow people around, but with the cone, he needs help to move up and down. 

Dido, who is 15 years old, is losing his eyesight due to his age so we try to be extra careful with him to avoid eye infections. But sometimes he likes to rub his eyes on his bed, blankets, my pants, and his paws, and that causes irritations. When he is being bad about it, we have to put on the cone. It makes him sad and it is sad to see 😢 but better be safe than sorry. We don’t want him to go completely blind.  

“I am going to sleep to forget I am wearing this dumb cone”, Mickey
“This is BS!!😤”, Dido

4 DIY Dog Cone Solutions

1. Towel

You will need:

  • A towel (shower or beach towel for larger dogs, and kitchen or face towel for smaller dogs) 
  • Duct tape
  • A peanut butter plate for luring 😉   

To make this DIY dog cone, fold a towel lengthwise into three sections. Ask someone’s help to hold a peanut butter plate above your dog’s head to lure them to stand still and look up. Then, place the folded towel above their shoulders but under their ears and secure it with tape. Check with your hand to ensure there is enough space to insert it inside the towel and around their neck.

This method may not work if you are preventing your dog from licking the front paws.

2. Pool noodle

You will need:

  • Pool noodle
  • String
  • Serrated knife
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape

To make a pool noodle collar for your dog, start by measuring the circumference of your dog’s neck using a string. Cut the string, leaving some extra inches. Next, use a knife to cut the pool noodle into small pieces. String the sections together like you are making a giant necklace, but don’t tie the string yet. Measure the collar on your dog’s neck and adjust the length if needed. Make sure there is enough room between the collar and your dog’s neck. You should be able to slide a finger easily between the two.

3. Neck pillow

You will need:

  • A neck pillow, one of those you use for traveling. 

Place the neck pillow around your pup’s neck and that’s it. Problem solved! 

This solution may not work for extra small dogs

4. Cardboard

You will need: 

  • A cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Ruler 
  • Duct tape.

To make a cardboard cone for your dog, start by measuring your dog’s neck circumference. Find the center of the cardboard piece and make a mark at half of the neck circumference measurement. Make additional marks around the cardboard to create a circle that will go around your dog’s neck.

Next, measure the distance from behind your dog’s ears to the bridge of his nose and mark it on the cardboard. Draw a new circle starting from the center mark to the new measurement. 

Cut the cardboard along the marks you made. Fit the cardboard around your dog’s neck to ensure the right fit. Finally, bend the cardboard into a cone shape and secure it using tape. 

This method is not waterproof so it may not be suitable for rainy or snowy days

What Can You Use Instead of a Dog Cone? Top 3 Alternatives

1. Soft e-collars

These are cones made of softer materials, that can easily shape and be more comfortable for your dog’s neck. They are also more flexible and designed to let the dog drink and eat normally. The only downside is that some of these are way too soft and lose shape which prevents them from reaching the affected areas. 

2. Inflatable e-collars

These have a similar shape to travel pillows and can easily be inflated using the air valve. They are adjustable and comfy. Also, they don’t obstruct visibility and allow the dog to eat and drink normally. The problem is that they can puncture easily, so you will have to monitor them closely. 

inflatable e-collar

3. Surgical suits

These are like baby onesies that protect the dog’s torso and are made using breathable and comfy materials. These are probably the best options for surgical procedures around the stomach area like spay and neuter surgery because they protect the wound while not obstructing visibility or mobility. 

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, cones are necessary to prevent your dog from licking or chewing on an injury, but you don’t have to torture your dog with the classic “cone of shame”. There are plenty of alternatives that are both cozy and cute and do the work. The choice is ultimately up to your budget and creativity. 

Which one do you think would be your dog’s pick?

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Katherine Ortega

Blogger and pet lover. I've been around dogs my whole life and have experience caring for all types, sizes and ages of pups. Senior dogs hold a special place in my heart 💗

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