How to Comfort Dog Depressed Wearing Cone of Shame

How to Comfort Dog Depressed Wearing Cone of Shame

Even though there’s nothing shameful about it, you could find your dog depressed wearing cone of shame—it makes your fur friend feel miserable. Of course, dogs need it to enhance their healing process. That’s completely okay.

But wearing this lampshade around their neck could make them feel depressed. Their easy way of eating, drinking, playing, or sleeping has been altered—it’s not fun.

As a dog owner, you may have noticed this new sad demeanor in your dog and wondering how you can help. Not to worry. This article, amongst other tips, will teach you what you can do to help your dog feel more comfortable, and sleep better wearing a cone.

Dog depressed wearing cone

Dog depressed wearing cone

Some dogs do not need to wear a cone at all unless it’s highly recommended by your vet. As a dog owner, we advise that you leave the cone for at least 7-10 days, and at most 10-14 days, for your dog to heal properly. It is okay to take the cone off if it’s preventing your dog from eating or drinking conveniently. But put it back on as soon as it is through with food. It is not a good idea to take the cone off before bedtime as your dog could tamper with the sutures or staples, which could further complicate things. We’re sure you do not want.

If your dog starts licking a lot, the cone needs to be put back on. It is a misconception that dogs’ saliva are somehow antibacterial and would enhance the healing of a wound. If your dog licks or chews excessively, there is the danger of getting the stitches ripped and introducing infection to the fresh wound. This can also lead to evisceration (internal organs coming out). You are better off enduring a few days more with the cone on your dog than dealing with these more complex situations

How to Make Dog Cone More Comfortable

Your dog is depressed wearing a cone because it can’t carry out its usual activity such as eating, drinking, or playing without the cone getting in its way. It can maneuver its way around a transparent cone, but an opaque one is certainly a barrier to a lot of activities. Sadly, many dog cones are not transparent. How can you make your dog feel comfortable in a cone?

1. Keep Routes Clear

Keep things out of the pathway your dog usually takes. It will take a few days for your dog to adjust to the new dimension of its headpiece. And until then, it will keep bumping into things. But if you keep things out of their way, it’ll reduce the frustration.

2. Snug Beds

Your dog is already frustrated wearing a cone. Setting up a low-level comfy bed in the house will certainly help it settle down better. You can set up this bed in multiple regions around the house to encourage resting. Be sure to keep things away from it as much as possible. 

3. Reward Your Dog

Does your dog seem collected and calm against its initial pissed demeanor? Great. Reward it with treats, praise, and affection. It makes it believe it is doing things correctly, and that you are impressed with what it’s doing. Your dog will surely continue with good behavior if you reward it.

However, although food rewards is important in dog training, pet parents should gradually wean their treat usage as their dog starts to understand the basic lessons (see PetMD).

4. Show Affection

If your dog could talk, it’ll probably ask you why it needs to wear a lampshade. Your show of affection sends a direct message to it that you both are in this together. That you understand how it feels, but it’ll be over soon. Physical touch is powerful and can soothe the body and mind. Patting your dog on its head or stroking its fur will go a long way in calming it.

5. Don’t Wear Your Emotions

It is probably a trying time for you just as it is for your dog, but don’t show that you’re stressed, anxious, or uneasy over the cone. Dogs know when their owner is feeling a type of way and may begin to feel that way too. You need to be strong to keep your dog comfortable.

6. Engage its Mind

Your dog will almost not remember that it is wearing a cone when it is busy solving puzzles or kicking a stuffed toy.

Engaging them with game puzzles helps them feel comfortable wearing a cone. However, be careful to not bombard it with too much physical play due to its injury.

You can ask your vet what kind of activity is okay to engage your dog with. 

How to Help Dog Sleep with Cone

Dogs are resilient and would find their way around sleep wearing the cone after 24 hours. But some dogs may still find the cone disruptive to their sleep no matter how much they try to sleep with it. If this is the case with your dog, let’s find out how you can help your dog sleep with a cone.

1. Make the Cone Flexible

Your dog may be finding it difficult to sleep because the cone is stiff. Try rolling it and bending it for a while before putting it back on it. This should help make it flexible for your dog to enjoy a good sleep.

2. Check for Tightness

Another reason why your dog can’t sleep is that the cone may be too tight around its neck. Use the two-finger rule to check if it’s too tight. You can do this by sliding two fingers under the cone.

If your fingers can’t penetrate, then it’s too tight. Consider losing it up a bit until your two fingers can penetrate the ring around your dog’s neck.

3. Provide a Comfy Bed

Your dog is still healing and may require a great deal of comfort—one of which is a comfortable bed—to sleep well. You can position the bed in a warm area of the house to keep them snug. 

In addition, provide it with a pillow or a ledge to rest its head. It’s okay to set up its bed anywhere around the house until it has fully recovered, then you can go back to tuck it in its former bed.

4. Let your Dog Sleep with You

If all of the above are not yielding the desired result, consider letting your dog sleep with you on your bed. It’ll feel more secure around you even with the cone on.

However, your dog might develop a likeness for your bed and would prefer to sleep on your bed rather than go back to its bed when the cone is off.

What Can I Put on my Dog Instead of a Cone?

If your dog still feels miserable with the cone, you can try out alternatives. You can contact your vet to suggest what alternative you can try. But if your vet’s suggestion isn’t working you can visit the store to buy any of the following alternatives:

  • Soft collars
  • Flexible fabric E-collars
  • Inflatable E-collars
  • Onesies or Clothing

Each one has its pros and cons, so you can do a trial and error to determine which one is best for your dog before purchasing. In addition, you should speak to your vet before you select the one you think suits your dog best.

How Long is Too Long for a Dog to Wear a Cone?

Usually, your dog will take about 7 – 10 days to heal (primary healing), so it is okay to take the cone off in 10 days. But experts advise that you leave the cone for 10 – 14 days before taking it off. This is to enable your dog to heal completely.

However, in all 14 days (or 10 days, as the case may be), you should keep the cone on your dog at all times, especially if you won’t be around to supervise it.

Keeping the cone on after 14 days is considered too long, except in the case of a slow healing process. Some healing may take longer time. Healing time depends on factors such as type of surgery, lesion, suture material, suture absorption time, wound type, or the age of your dog.

You may only leave the cone on if the incision site has not healed completely otherwise you’re taking too long to take the cone off.


Truth is, the cone is a nuisance to your dog. Even you as a dog owner can’t stand to see your dog suffer with the cone sometimes. But it needs it to completely recover from surgery.

Rather than contemplate taking the cone off your dog before it’s due, endeavor to make it more comfortable in it by following the tips above. This way, the constant urge to remove it reduces for both of you, and your dog will be on its way to fully recover.

Dr. Rebecca Black

Dr. Rebecca Black is an absolute gem of a Veterinarian. She brings decades of experience to Handy Pets Guide and has overflowing talent and passion for breeding and caring for pets, their people, and the team around her. Dr. Sophia was born and raised in Columbiana, Ohio. She completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After earning her DVM from The Ohio State University in 1980. She has experience of over 3 decades and is very happy to share them. Her goal is to give pets all over the world a better life and to recommend the best tips, advice, and also recommend the best product for every pet owner.

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