August 2010 Issue
Table of Contents
Comfortable Dog Cone Alternatives
Rickey seemed to be most comfortable wearing a product that his owners guessed he’d hate; so much for being able to tell what might work best while in the store. You really should take your dog to the store and try various models on him.
The doughnut-shaped ProCollar, distributed by G&B Marketing, of Vista, California, features an inflatable core with a durable cover. (The cover feels like vinyl – not our favorite material – but doesn’t have the distinctive “stink” of vinyl. The package doesn’t say what the material is.) A Velcro strap secures the outer perimeter of the collar; the dog’s collar is run through loops on the inside ring of the product. (One must have a collar that can be unsnapped or unbuckled; collars that slip over the dog’s head won’t work with this design.)
The ProCollar is available in five sizes (X Small to X Large). That sounds like plenty, maybe, except that 25-pound Rickey required the “large” size. Truly large dogs would not be able to use this product.
Rickey was easily able to navigate his home while wearing the ProCollar. He seemed to understand his limitations and cope with them without getting upset. Unlike his peeved response to crashing into the furniture with the stiff vet-supplied cone, Rickey barely seemed to notice when the cushioned ProCollar knocked into something. He also seemed to appreciate that when he lay down, the cushion provided him with a little pillow. Seriously! His owner thought he missed sleeping with his chin on something after his need for the ProCollar was past.
We were able to find the ProCollar in a number of chain pet supply stores (Petco and Petsmart) and catalogs, from $15 to $25, depending on size.
Jorgensen Laboratories, Inc., of Loveland, Colorado, offers the Soft-E-collar. It’s another cushioned collar, but this product is shaped more like a life-saving ring than a doughnut: wider and flatter. The outer material appears to be a nylon blend. A flap of material on the inner perimeter of the product is tightened by tying a cord (which runs through some grommets on the material flap) to secure the collar on the dog’s neck (see photo below).
The width (and perhaps weight) of this product made navigation a bit more difficult for Rickey; lying down was also more difficult in this collar. A larger dog may not find it as difficult as Rickey did.
The Soft-E-Collar comes in nine sizes (yay!), from XX Small (0 to 5 pounds) to XX Large (95 pounds and up). (Rickey wore a Medium, for dogs 30 to 55 pounds.) We found this product in an independent pet supply store; we also found it offered in many pet supply catalogs. As but one example: we found it for $19 to $49 (depending on its size) from BellasPainRelief.com.(By the way; this site is a great source for products for disabled dogs of all types.)
Here’s a product with a very different design. The BiteNot collar, distributed by Bite Not Products, Inc., of San Francisco, California, resembles a neck brace for humans – the kind people have to wear after they get whiplash. The interior surface is a thinly padded foam rubber material; the outer surface is a stiff plastic shell. Velcro fasteners – and a nylon strap that wraps around the dog’s shoulders and under his armpits – hold the product very securely in place.
The BiteNot collar is available in seven sizes. In this case, the required size is determined by the length of the dog’s neck, from the back of his ears to the top of his shoulder. (It’s meant to prevent him from bending his neck enough to lick himself.) The smallest size is 3.5 inches wide; the largest is 8 inches wide.
This would be my top choice for a dog who had succeeded in removing all other products; as long as the dog has a discernible neck, it fits really securely. What if the dog is one of the (nearly) neckless breeds, like a Pug? Probably not the best pick. This worked fine on Rickey (although fastening the Velcro with all his ruff hair was a challenge), but dogs with extraordinarily long necks or wounds on their front feet might not benefit at all from the collar.
This product ranges in price from about $20 (smallest size) to $45 (largest).
More information about the product, as well as a list of retailers, can be obtained at bitenot.com or by calling (800) 424-8366.
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