My Dog Has to Wear a Post-Surgery Cone, Can I Leave Them Alone?

My Dog Has to Wear a Post-Surgery Cone, Can I Leave Them Alone?

Did your dog just get out of surgery? Then, the chances are that they will have to wear a cone. And there will be equally high chances of your furry friend spending every minute trying to take it off. So, is it a good idea to leave your dog alone with a cone?

What is a Dog Cone?

The Elizabethan cone, commonly referred to as the cone of shame, is a small post-surgery cone that goes around a dog’s neck. After surgery, this is a standard veterinarian prescription to prevent the dog from licking or scratching surgical wounds. The cone minimizes the risk of the stitches opening or getting infected.

Can I Leave My Dog Alone with a Post-surgery Cone On?

In one word, no. At least, not for the first few days. While a perfectly fitted cone may not be uncomfortable or painful, your pup will take some time to get used to it. If your dog has had the cone before, they probably will settle into it quickly, but those using it for the first time will not like it.

Some issues your dog may face with the cone include:

  • Hurting themselves while navigating the house by colliding or bumping into things
  • Unable to eat or drink with the usual ease
  • Getting stuck in tight spaces
  • Injuring themselves if they try to take the cone off in your absence

It is recommended that you don’t leave the dog unsupervised when they have the cone on. If you have to step out, take the dog with you or request a friend, family member, or dog sitter to watch them.

After a few days, the dog may get used to the cone and can navigate the living spaces without hurting themselves and eating comfortably. If that’s the case, you can consider stepping out for some time, but don’t leave them alone for hours on end.

Should My Dog Sleep with A Post-surgery Cone On?

Since you cannot take out the cone till the wound is healed, your dog will have to sleep with the cone on. It can be difficult for the dog to find a comfortable position to sleep in, but do not take the cone off. They can end up licking or scratching the wound through the night without you knowing.

Instead, make the sleeping area cosy and comfortable. Add soft cushions to rest their head and put their favourite toys on their bed to comfort them. If the neck area seems irritated, use an ice pack or a vet-recommended topical cream to soothe the area.

This is also when your dog may be at risk of infections, so consider switching their regular bed to a copper dog bed. Thanks to the anti-odour and anti-microbial properties of copper, it will destroy viruses and bacteria on contact. It deters pests like fleas and ticks and also prevents unwanted odour that can be caused due to sweat or microbes. A copper bed will support the fast healing of the dog while keeping them comfortable.

What Can I Do to Keep My Dog Comfortable?

Elizabethan cones are made of hard plastic, which can be uncomfortable for dogs as the hard edges can dig into their fur and neck.

To make your furry friend comfortable, see to it that the cone fits appropriately. When the cone is secure, it won’t move much or dig into the skin. If the cone digs into their fur, wrap soft fabric around the dog’s neck and put the cone over it.

If the dog cannot sleep at all, make a DIY cone by folding a large and firm towel and wrapping it around the neck. You will need some strong tape or string to keep the towel in place.

Do not hesitate to reach out to your vet if the dog feels irritable, uncomfortable, or in pain. They can suggest comfortable alternatives.

How Long Will My Dog Have to Wear the Post-surgery Cone?

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of answer for this question. The duration that a dog needs to wear the cone depends on two factors:

  • The procedure the dog underwent
  • Personal recovery time of the dog

Since these two factors are unique to each dog, the duration to wear the cone will vary.

It is recommended that the cone is only taken off after the surgical wound has completely healed. Until then, there is a risk of the dog scratching, licking, or biting the wound, which will cause infections or injury.

Follow the timelines recommended by your vet. If you think the stitches haven’t healed after the recommended duration, let the vet know, and they can guide you further.  

Stay Close to Your Pup

To summarise, do not leave your dog alone with a cone, especially if it’s their first time. They need to be under supervision until they get used to the cone. Keep an eye on their behaviour and take them to a vet immediately if you notice something unusual.

It may be challenging to see your pooch uncomfortable but remember it’s for their safety. The more you stick to the vet instructions for the cone, the sooner they will recover and go back to being their active selves.

Author Bio

Rory is the R&D Director and passionate entrepreneur, fascinated by the workings of the human body and natural solutions for common health problems. He’s single-minded in his aim to make Copper Defence a brand that’s recognized across the globe, by partnering with global brands to make these high-tech materials easily accessible for everyone. If you’d like to get in touch, email Rory at or visit for copper-infused clothing, pet accessories and more.

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