t’s all nice and dandy until your pooch needs an e-collar. Even though it doesn’t hurt them in any way, most dogs behave like the cone is some medieval torture instrument. Like post-op care and stress are not enough for you. To give your pooch (and yourself) a break, it’s good to know how to make a DIY e collar for dog form what you can find around the house.
Howling, sulking, and depression are known ways to demonstrate protest. Why is this so? Why do some dogs hate this simple piece of plastic so much? Well, first of all, it significantly narrows their field of vision. A dog that is already in distress due to injury feels a lot more endangered when he feels cornered.
Secondly, the shape of the cone distorts the sound, making everything the dog hears sounds weird. And lastly, it doesn’t feel comfy at all. Of course, some dogs don’t take it nearly as tragic as this and accept their situation with dignity. Even so, the commercial e-collars can be a bit expensive (for reasons known only to pet shops), or you might have to improvise quickly in a difficult situation.
We’re here to give you ideas for a DIY e-collar to keep your pooch comfy and away from stitches. In this article, we will show you different methods for making an e-collar at home. As there are six different methods to choose from, it might be a bit hard to know which one to go for, but we will help you choose. It all depends on the type of injury. You will definitely find a solution for your situation somewhere in this article.
How to Make a DIY E-Collar for Your Dog
In this section, we will present you with six ways of making an e-collar. Some of them are much cozier than the classic cone of shame—others are variations of it. Which one you use really depends on the nature of the injury and the location on the dog’s body. We will discuss more on that topic in the next section.
#1: Method 1 — The Cozy Scarf
This method is the most comfortable and easy to make. It requires a couple of minutes and just a few things you already have lying around. Here is how to do it:
You will need:
A soft towel (the size depends on the size of your dog)
Time: Well, it depends on the willingness of your dog to cooperate. If you can find a pair of extra hands, perfect.
Steps to follow:
First cut 3-5 pieces of duct tape, around one foot long, and place them somewhere where you can reach them easily. If you have a helper, tell them to pet your dog or redirect his attention with a plate of peanut butter.
Roll the towel in a long tube, or fold it lengthwise to make a long, thick roll.
Place one end of the towel above the shoulder and under the ear.
Bring it in and wrap it up around your dog’s neck.
Hold the outer end firmly and bring it all together with duct tape.
You should be careful about how tight you make the collar—it should definitely be tight enough to stop your dog from biting/scratching it off, but loose enough to enable normal breathing. If you can put three fingers between your dog’s neck and the towel, you’re good.
You might have to reinforce the towel collar with extra duct tape if your dog’s hind legs are strong enough to rip through the whole thing. Oh, and cut his nails, just to be sure.
#2: Method 2 — The Pooch Noodle
You will need:
An extra collar or a thick cord
One pool noodle
Time: 15 minutes for making the e-collar and extra 15 for chasing your dog around.
Steps to follow:
Take the pool noodle and wrap it around your dog’s neck. This will give you a general idea of the total length you need. If you have a big dog, you may use the noodle as it is, but for smaller dogs, we recommend that you cut the noodle into 2-3 inches parts, so it doesn’t break around the neck in a weird way.
Cut the noodle to the desired length (just an inch shy of the total measured circumference) and divide it into equal parts if needed.
Pull the collar or the cord through the noodle and tie it around your dog’s neck. You’re done!
This method is amazing because it gives you a lot of flexibility. You can use noodles of different thickness depending on your dog’s size, and you can wrap it around multiple times if needed.
The only downside of this method is that some dogs, especially those with strong hind legs, can rip the whole thing in no time.
#3: Method 3 — The Blow-Up Collar
You will need:
An inflatable travel pillow
Time: 5 minutes tops.
If you travel frequently, you probably have an inflatable neck pillow lying around. Just inflate it and tie it around your dog’s neck. If it doesn’t have those little strings for tying, use duct tape.
This method is very cozy and nice, but just as the previous ones, doesn’t work on destructive pooches.
#4: Method 4 — Full Metal Jacket
You will need:
A baby onesie or an old T-shirt
Time: As much as you need to dress up your dog.
This method is all about dressing your pooch up. It’s intended to stop your dog from licking a certain area. Baby onesies are your best option if you have a small to medium dog.
If you can find a cheap, second-hand onesie that matches your dog’s size, perfect. If not, you can use an old T-shirt to dress up your dog and cover the target area.
To secure it from moving and slipping, use duct tape (just make sure not to duct tape the dog’s fur, too). Your pooch won’t be happy, but at least he won’t be licking.
#5: Method 5 — The Egg Neck
You will need:
Foam egg crate
Velcro strips (2 pieces, about 3 inches long)
Thread, needle, and scissors
Felt material or other fabric of your choice.
Time: 20 minutes.
This is an excellent method for those who know how to sew. At least a bit. Another pro is that this one can be reusable if you put in a bit more effort into making it. It works great on small to medium sized dogs.
Steps to follow:
Measure the circumference and length of your dog’s neck.
Cut the egg crate foam according to your measurements and try it out on your dog, just to see how it fits.
Snug and tight? Good, now cut the felt fabric (or some other type—you might want a firm fabric like a cover coat if you think your dog might destroy felt) so that you can wrap it around the egg crate core.
Stitch the ends together, making what essentially looks like a pillow (with egg crate filling).
Sew the velcro strips to both ends, and there you go!
Now you have an adjustable, reusable, and easily removable e-collar for whenever you need it.
#6: Method 6 — Cardboard Lamp Shade
Nothing new to this method. It’s the standard cone, but made by your own hands. It’s a great alternative if you have a growing doggo—no need to invest in a cone if the dog is going to outgrow it in a month.
You will need:
A big piece of cardboard
A ruler and a measuring tape
A pencil or a sharpie
Thick cord or an old collar
Time: 20 — 30 minutes.
Steps to follow:
Measure the circumference and length of your dog’s neck. Divide the circumference in half and write down that number.
On your piece of cardboard, roughly mid-length, mark that number as the height, beginning on the bottom edge of the cardboard.
Using that length as a radius, make a semicircle (try to be as precise as possible, but it really doesn’t have to be perfect). Now you have the part that’s going around the dog’s neck.
Now measure from behind your dog’s ears to the bridge of his nose. This is going to be added to the previous circumference to make another semicircle.
You’ve made the outer part of the cone. Cut the marked area and fold it. It should overlap for about 3 — 5 inches.
If you have an old collar, perfect. If not, use a piece of thick cord for the next step. Make loops out of duct tape (or anything else that comes in handy) and attach them to the cardboard.
Pull the collar or the cord through the loops and put the whole thing on your dog’s neck. Make sure to secure the overlap with duct tape.
Always make sure that the width of the collar allows your dog to drink and eat freely. If it’s too wide, shorten it a bit.
A few tips regarding the material: cardboard is cheap and easy to get by. On the other hand, if you live in a wet climate, it will become useless after just one walk. Also, destructive dogs will have it in pieces in no time.
If you need something more sturdy, think about getting polyester or plastic material from Home Depot.
Dog E-Collar Applications Depending on the Type of Injury/Medical Condition
As you see, we have six methods of creating a DIY dog collar for you to choose from. The problem is, which one should you go for? It depends on the type of injury or medical condition your dog has. We’ll help you choose below.
#1: Head Injuries
Whether it’s mechanical injuries or infections, head injuries can get complicated very easily. Especially because dogs love to scratch it with those mighty hind leg claws. This can easily lead to infections and even more injuries, so make sure to take it seriously.
Unfortunately, Methods 1 — 5 won’t help you in this scenario. You can use Method 6. If your dog is an escape artist and knows how to destroy a cardboard collar, you will probably have to go with Method 6, but made of a more durable material. For smaller but stubborn pooches, we recommend Method 3.
#2: Leg Injuries
The problem with leg injuries is that they can be very exposed to variables you can’t control. Especially if the injury is located on the paw. The good news is, you can use Methods 1, 2, 3, and 5.
Try to combine the e-collar with some kind of leg protection. A firmly placed bandage around the injury will prevent the wound from getting infected, while allowing the tissue to “breathe” and heal quickly. It’s important to check and sterilize the wound every day and change the bandages when needed.
You should also make sure to keep away from any terrain that can prolong the recovery period, such as sand, water, and mud. Unfortunately, your dog will have to keep away from the dog park for some time just to be on the safe side.
See Also: A Dog’s Broken Leg
#3: Body Injuries
The method you’ll have to use depends on where the injury is located. If it’s a wound from an operation, you will have to follow instructions given to you by the vet. If the injury is an infection, it’s very important to keep your dog from scratching and licking the affected area, so you might have to use a combination of e-collar and bandages.
Some ointments that are used for treating mange and similar skin infections are very aggressive, and dogs shouldn’t ingest them. Depending on the infected place, the cone of shame might be inevitable. On the positive side, Method 6 will show you how to make them quickly and cheaply.
#4: Spay/Neuter Stitches and Other Injuries on the Stomach
The e-collar used in this case depends on your dog’s size and build. Some dogs can reach the problematic area more easily than others (yes, we’re talking about your chubby buddy!), so the approach is very different from pooch to pooch.
It’s important to stop your dog from reaching the area because severing the stitches can open the wound and make serious complications. We recommend that you try Methods 1 — 5 first, and keep a close eye on your dog. If it proves to be inefficient, you’ll have to go with Method 6.
The good news is, it’s only for a couple of days.
#5: Tail Injuries
Although this type of injury seems more benign than others, remember that a dog’s tail is like a fifth limb. They use it for balance and social signalization. Furthermore, the tail is an extension of the spine, meaning that injuries in the tail can have severe consequences if not taken seriously.
It has also been proven that nerves and muscle tissue in the tail are connected to bowel movement and digestive tract functions. An injured tail can cause a lot more trouble than you might think. Docking is also connected to higher pain sensitivity and chronic pain.
So, what to do when your dog hurts his tail? Methods 1 — 5 described in the previous section is the best option, combined with bandaging the tail itself.
No matter how much it hurts, your dog will still try his best to greet you with a tail wag, so you should try to prevent further injuries. Methods 1-5 will also stop your dog from biting or licking the injury and removing the bandages.
You can also cut a pool noodle lengthwise and wrap it up around the tail, securing it with duct tape. This way the wound is protected; tail wagging is still present but not doing any damage.
In this article, we gave you a comprehensive list of commercial e-collar alternatives. It’s good to have an extra choice for many reasons. Firstly, accidents may happen anywhere and anytime. You might not have the opportunity to go buy the cone, or you might need to act quickly. This is why it’s essential to be resourceful.
Secondly, if you have a growing dog, you know how often puppies get into trouble, and buying a cone that will be useless in a couple of weeks seems excessive. Whatever other reasons you have, a DIY e-collar is an easy and cheap alternative and probably more comfortable than the commercial options.
Which of the mentioned we mentioned on how to make a DIY e-collar for dogs would you like to try your hands on? Let us know how it goes in the comments section below! You might also want to check out our next article on DIY dog car seat. Stay safe and healthy, plus enjoy the ride!