Monday, February 22, 2010

E-collar alternatives

The owner of Maddie, a 5-year-old Yorkie/Silky mix, e-mailed me after my last blog with this photo of her darling dog sporting an inflatable collar.
“This isn’t the answer for all issues, depending on where the injury is, but for my small dogs it works well,” writes Debbi Lowry, owner of Maddie.
As the recipient of a couple different pet product catalogs, I have seen a variety of alternatives to e-collars that are on the market.
In addition to this inflatable type, there are also “comfy cones” where the cones are made out of a soft material and other alternatives. Another e-collar alternative, called the Bite Not collar, isn’t a cone at all, but rather a wide, stiff collar that extends from the dog’s shoulders to head, limiting the movement of the head.
A quick google search for “e-collar alternatives” turns up a variety of options, articles about them, and links to where they can be purchased.
While I only spent a cursory amount of time searching the web, I did not find any alternatives that would work for my dog’s situation, though.
Here’s the deal: The collar Maddie is wearing in the picture to the left, as well as the other collars I mentioned, are perfect for after spay/neuter procedures or any other time that you need to prevent your dog from turning around and reaching areas like their stomach, legs, tail, etc., with their mouths.
When the situation is reversed, though, these collars don’t work as well.
For instance, I am not trying to stop my dog from using his mouth to lick a wound on his back leg, but rather am trying to stop him from using his back leg to itch his ear.
Just about any time you have a facial injury, my initial thought is that the plastic e-collar is going to be necessary.
Small dogs may be an exception to this, though it probably depends heavily on the individual dog and type of collar used.
For Debbi, however, I think the inflatable collar will probably work in just about any situation. She’d know better than I would, but it looks to me like Maddie’s little legs might not be able reach beyond that inflatable ring.
The moral of the story?
There are options other than the e-collar out there — many of which are far more comfortable for the dog, but not all the options may work for preventing a dog from scratching his head or facial area.
But the most important thing to remember is that no matter what collar you use, introduce it to your dog in advance of any surgical procedures so he or she can get used to it.
Debbie — thanks for the e-mail and great photo!

Sensi update
He got his bandage off on Saturday and has been doing very well. We left the e-collar off for the bulk of Sunday while we were home and he didn’t mess with his ear at all.
Of course, we’re not taking any chances — the e-collar still goes on for each potty run, during the night and during the day while we’re gone.
The ear appears to be healing really nicely, though it’s not the most appealing sight with all those stitches. The stitches will probably come out this Saturday and I’m sure I wouldn’t be wrong to say that Sensi can’t wait!

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