Often called the “cones of shame,” Elizabethan collars are a far cry from the royal adornments of the Renaissance Era. The thin plastic cone clasps around a pet’s neck in order to remove their ability to reach parts of their bodies with their mouths. When a dog or cat wears the plastic cone around their necks, it is an indication that there is a behavioral issue that needs correcting, or a wound that needs to heal. Though there may be numerous speculations as to why a pet may be required to don the Elizabethan necklace, here are the primary occasions wherein an animal would benefit from this unusual tool.

Using Elizabethan Collars

When a wound is healing. If a dog or cat has a cut, scrape, or wound that is in the process of recovering, it is imperative that the sensitive area is protected from any licking that could occur. Hot spots are one such example of swollen and irritated skin that is further damaged by licking, and would need to be secured. Putting an Elizabethan collar on a pet would allow the agitated space to heal, and hair on the bald spot to grow back.

If a behavior is being corrected. Some cats and dogs have nervous behaviors that are based on an emotional state of mind rather than a physical ailment. If a dog bites his paws, chews on table legs, or rubs his ears with his feet whenever he is anxious or left alone, then an Elizabethan collar would disable him from continuing this practice. A successful habit-breaking method that some trainers use, is to remove the opportunity for a cat or dog to continue the bad behavior by clipping on one of these collars.

If other objects/animals need protection. While there are specific no-bite muzzles and collars that are designed to keep animals from chewing and biting, some pet owners use Elizabethan collars, because of the freedom they create. The dog is able to eat, bark and pant normally without mouth restriction, while being blocked from damaging anything. The elongated plastic collars help keep a safe distance from the pet and their object of interest, while allowing them to communicate and breathe without worrying limitations.

Though it might look “cruel” to insist that your dog or cat wears an Elizabethan collar, it is often a necessary protective measure. Allowing a dog or cat to harm himself with negative behaviors like exacerbating a wound while it is healing, or doing damage to objects around the house or to other animals, is far worse than adorning a pet with an unsightly collar. Responsible pet parenthood means doing what is best for the pet and the other residents involved, even if that means a few weeks of looking rather ridiculous. Your pet’s improved behavior and healed body will be much better for it!