How Long to Keep E-Collar on Dog After Spaying or Neutering?

How Long to Keep E-Collar on Dog After Spaying or Neutering?

Last Updated on September, 2022

Most pet owners have a first-world problem after spaying their fur buddies! We will discuss it right here with you! 

These days spaying is extremely common among pets. However, this article is not limited to spaying but is also relevant to neuter surgery. 

I will quickly distinguish between the two types of surgeries performed on dogs. First, spaying is done on female cats or dogs. Simply put, spaying removes the female pet’s ovaries from its body. 

Neuter surgery, on the other hand, is performed on male pets. The surgical procedure is done by removing the male dog’s testicles. Although this surgery is less invasive than spaying, both types of incisions require the same amount of care.

The pet’s incision will initially be a covered wound. The next few steps you take as a pet owner can decide whether your pet will go back to its everyday life or whether your pet will lose its life. I am stressing this point to make you understand how crucial it is to know what you are doing after spaying.

Most importantly, there are very easy steps that pet owners can take to make the incision heal faster.

If their dog wears a normal collar already, one might think about how to place an Elizabethan collar on top of it. 

At the end of this article, I assure you that you will know exactly what to do and what not to do, and how to make your pet’s incisions heal faster and more effectively. 

Here are the 3 key points from this article:

  1. Most pet owners have a first-world problem after spaying their fur buddies.
  2. The pet’s incision will initially be a covered wound.
  3. There are very easy steps that pet owners can take to make the incision heal faster.

TLDR: The most important thing to do after spaying your pet is to prevent them from licking or biting their surgical wound. This can be done by using an Elizabethan collar, also called an E collar. There are three different types of E collars: rigid, flexible, and inflatable. 

What is An E-Collar? 

Dog wearing a collar

Here is the most important part of this article. I mean it! This is the solution to at least 98% of the problem. 

E-Collar is the term used by many, but the actual name of the collar is Elizabethan Collar. This is made of shaded plastic for a clear view or from clear soft plastic cloth. The collar is top-rated dog wear around the world. 

People use more interesting names to describe this collar, such as a dog’s cone, a dog lampshade, and a pet radar dish! (lol) Do not confuse this type of collar with a shock collar which is also called an e collar . 

This will go around the neck of the dog, making it almost impossible for your pup to reach the rest of the body. This aims to stop the cat or dog from licking the incision site. 

It is normal for animals to lick their wounds as natural healing. However, natural healing methods will not be the best when the wound results from a surgical procedure. Therefore, it is always advisable to prevent licking or biting the surgical wound. 

Once the wound is fully healed, you can take it off. This is not an animal’s regular collar that you use to take on an evening stroll. Instead, this is used for the wound to heal completely. 

After eye surgery or head lesions, these collars are recommended by doctors to prevent the dogs from scratching the sutures or wounds. This article will focus mainly on using Elizabethan collars for spay neuter surgical procedures. 

Here we rated the best dog training e-collars for dogs.

Types of E-Collars

There are three different types. Namely, rigid, flexible, and inflatable.

Rigid 

A rigid collar is the oldest type of cone. This dates back many years and was the first-ever. This type is also called the lampshade collar. Rigid collars are made of semi-flexible plastic. Your dog cannot even think of reaching the incision area. 

The downside of this is that it makes the dog feel very uncomfortable, and they really, really hate it. Also, don’t tell your dog that it looks utterly ridiculous in this collar! 

Flexible

As the name suggests, flexible collars are more flexible. It is a thin plastic or cardboard with padded fabric, making it comfortable. A flexy collar allows your dog to walk through doors or tiny spaces. 

However, the efficacy of this might not be the best as it leaves room for your smart pup or cat to lick the wound. 

Related: How to Stop Dog Licking Wound Without Collar?

Inflatable 

Inflatable collars are the most comfortable out of the three types. An inflatable collar around its head covers the dog’s incision. The key benefit of this type is that the collar does not block the dog’s peripheral vision. In addition, the collar prevents the dog from reaching any other part of the body. 

Why Does My Dog Need An E-Collar After Surgery?

Your dog needs an e-collar to help with the healing process. It takes about a month for the wound to be healed completely. However, it can get better within short periods too. Undesired licking of the wound will only aggravate the wound. Continuous licking around the incision site will be immediately stopped with the help of the cone. 

I will quickly tell you what will happen if your dog licks the incision area. Out of the many things that could happen, an infection is the most likely thing. Therefore, the wound needs to be covered completely. However, even if the wound is covered, the likelihood of your dog removing the wound dressing is very high if the cat or dog does not wear a dog cone. This is why wearing a cone is important.

Cats and dogs are pros in escaping dog cones, so you might want to consider more secure fastening of the dog cone. It is also important to keep in mind that there is enough space to get one or two fingers through the collar after putting it on the dog. 

The other most common reason is the biting of the spay incision, causing the sutures to come off. Even though the wound is covered with a gauze bandage, your fur friend will remove the gauze bandage and remove the sutures despite the pain. 

Veterinary advice is only to remove the cone when the dog heals. However, in extremely stubborn cases, you could remove the cone during meals under the direct supervision of the dog.

Direct supervision means direct vision of your dog until you put the cone back on.

When Can I Take My Dog Cone Off? 

It is hard to tell when to take the dog’s cone off without physically examining the dog or cat. But I can tell you a few things to keep in mind. Generally, the wound heals with zero fuss if adequate post-surgery care is given. 

Usually, in a perfect world, I would say the wound should heal within fourteen days. But this is subject to many conditions. So before taking the dog’s cone off, it is always better to get your vet’s opinion. 

You are good to go if you can see a completely healed wound after about two weeks. But if the sutures have come out or the incision area looks pink or bloody, it is always advisable to give it some time. 

It can be sad to see your dog in a dog cone, but your dog must have it until the wound is healed. 

Related article: What is the Best Age to Neuter a Male Dog?

How to Put An E-Collar? 

wearing a collar on a dog

The collar must be fitted correctly, not too loose, not too tight. The cone will be fitted around the neck. First, take the regular collar out of your dog’s neck and put the dog cone around. Secondly, place the regular collar around the dog’s neck as usual. Ensure no hard edges are set against the dog’s neck. This must be worn after the dog’s surgery. 

Keep in mind that the dog’s cone should not cover its peripheral vision or not; your dog will feel very uneasy. Keep the cone tight enough because your furry friend is more intelligent than you think. I must also say that sometimes dogs get depressed wearing dog cones. Cats and dogs will use passive measures like house smashing to overcome the uneasiness. 

It is not recommended to send your dog outdoors while on the dog cone. Even with feeding, it is advisable not to remove it until the wound is healed. Maybe you can opt to give dry dog food for at least ten days. Another option is hand feeding the cat or dog. 

If this information is not enough, here’s a full guide on wearing a e-collar on a dog.

Benefits of a Dog’s Cone

There are many benefits of using a cone on your dog. Using a cone will help you to:

  • Stop your dog from irritating the wound. 
  • It helps by restricting access to hotspot areas of your dog. 
  • It allows the wound to heal better. 

All these together will save you from an extra trip to the vet for replacements. 

Do’s and Don’ts After a Pet’s Surgery!

Spaying and neuter surgeries are surgeries performed to prevent pregnancy and infections in ovaries. I am trying to say that these types of surgeries are no joke. But unfortunately, it can be life-threatening as well. Therefore it is always wise to know do’s and don’ts after performing the surgery. 

  • The pet must rest well after surgery, especially if the dog is a female dog. The female dog incision is much more invasive than the neuter surgery. Most importantly, allow your pet to get an undisturbed, uninterrupted sleep. 
  • Do not let the family members annoy the furry friend. They get groggy and moody after the surgery because of the anesthesia dose. Researchers even suggest that dogs could be excessively aggressive post-surgery for a few hours. 
  • Do keep dogs confined to smaller spaces. This will stop them from walking excessively. Let the dog sleep in peace until it gets back to normal. Watch out for steps. Cats and dogs should not climb up or down any stairs. 
  • Provide the dog with a child menu meal instead of providing heavy meals. Keep adequate food and water bowls in the room. 
  • Always inspect the dog’s incision site and look out for infections. Please get the necessary veterinary guidance if any swelling or bloody discharge is oozing out of the wound. 
  • The most crucial thing is never letting your furry friend go anywhere closer to the incision area. Make sure the dog wears a dog cone at all times. Any attempt of reaching the dog’s incision could cause the sutures to open up in which you should call the closest vet immediately. 

DIY Substitutions for E-Collars

Dog after surgery

As much as a cone helps heal your furry friend, there are DIY substitutions that you could do at home to help your dog recover. These are creative ways of making a cone at home without having to buy it. 

DIY #1- Bucket Cone

This is one of the most convenient methods of making a collar to avoid reaching the dog’s incision. First, you need to cut a hole in a bucket and insert it through your dog’s face. 

It is essential to rough down any pointy edges before putting them on your furry friend. 

DIY #2-Towel Cone

This is probably the most cost-effective method of making an e-collar at home. You need an old towel folded to make the cone around the neck. However, this type of towel cone is only recommended for very obedient animals. A pup who does not stay in one place or play around will not mingle a lot with this DIY project. 

DIY #3- Cardboard Cone

These cardboard cones are not the most fashionable and long-lasting because they are made out of cardboard. You must take cardboard, cut it to the correct size and make a cardboard cone. Follow this video for step-by-step guidance in creating a cardboard cone:

DIY #4- Paper Plate Barrier 

As its name suggests, a paper plate barrier is made of a paper plate. It is simple, cutting a hole in the middle of a paper plate and putting it around the neck. This is not a very common DIY substitution, but watch this video to see how it works:

DIY #5- Protective Clothing 

This is slightly different from the general ways of preventing the licks around the incision. The protective clothing method deals with covering the wound with adequate or appropriate pieces of cloth. If the wound is associated around the top part of the animal, then it is wise to dress it in a t-shirt. If the wound is in the bottom part of the animal, I would suggest dressing with a short or pants. 

If the problem area is somewhere between limbs, you could cover it with a gauze bandage or any appropriate cloth. You could even buy some post-surgical garments, be creative in your way, and find a solution to cover the wound.

Frequently Asked Questions! 

Final Thoughts…

Here are my final remarks to you, My dear friend; if you are stressed about this type of surgery, the first and most important thing is not to feel guilty about performing the surgery. Secondly, your pet heals with time, and there is no doubt about it. However, the article covers many important facts and to-do lists you might want to consider doing for your pet to heal better. 

E-collars are popular worldwide; many animal behaviorists and surgical officials who perform the surgery recommend an e-collar to be worn. But, always keep in mind that just having the collar fitted will not solve your problem. Constant care and emotional support are as critical as medications. 

These surgeries are mainly performed on cats and dogs, but it does not mean that the surgery cannot be performed on other animals. If the surgery is performed, e-collars are universal, and it can be worn by any animal provided that it fits well. 

Just one golden rule, “DO NOT REMOVE THE CONE UNTIL THE PET IS FULLY HEALED” make this your mantra, and your life will be good! I wish you and your pet a piece of very good luck! 

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Thomas
Thomas Villalpando is the main author of IPet Guides. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. You can find more about him here.

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