When To Take Cone Off Dog After Neuter? (2023)

If your dog has undergone an intense surgery, whether it was a spay or neuter or any other type of surgery, then chances are that your VET must have already given your dog an E collar or, in other words, known as the dog cone.

The general question that many people ask after their dogs’ surgery is when can they remove the cone and how long do their dogs need to keep wearing it?


To give you a short answer, VETS typically prescribe a dog cone for one to two weeks, depending on the type of operation your dog has gone through.


If the procedure was intense, then you might need to keep it on for the full two weeks, but if the operation was small, like the removal of a benign cyst, then typically, seven to ten days are sufficient.

However, there are other things about dog cones that one must keep in mind, for example, how to remove them quickly, how long to keep them, how to feed your dogs while they have kept their cones on, and most importantly, how to make your dogs feel comfortable with cones.


Pet parents fear the number one problem is how they can make their pets feel comfortable in the cones. Just like the variation between small kids’ personalities, dogs also have distinct personalities.

Some dogs might become aggressive in a new environment or change, and others might become sad or depressed when wearing a cone.

Personally, my dog falls in the first category. My pup roams around the house like a king, and if anything is not to his liking, he makes those complaining puppy eyes that you just cannot deny.


But I’ve come up with a few tricks to make my dog comfortable with literally anything without him creating a fuss, and I would recommend the same to you.

Before my dog’s neuter surgery, I was told that my dog would have to keep wearing the Elizabethan collar for about 11 to 14 days, and this completely freaked me out.

My dog hates new change, so this is what I did during that time:

  • I bought an E collar from the store after measuring the neck circumference of my dog, and I brought it home so that he could become comfortable with it. (Note: At this point, I didn’t put it on him)
  • I initially placed the E collar next to the toys that he frequently plays with, so naturally, when I put the dog cone next to the toys, he was immediately fascinated by it
  • The next thing I did was place it near his sleeping bed. He was naturally intrigued and kept trying to put it on because whenever dogs find something hollow like a box or, in this case, a cone, they immediately try to sniff it and put their head in
  • At this point, it was clear that my dog was comfortable with the cone, and so whenever he would try to wear it, I would give him a treat (his favorite is frozen peanut butter bites)

After adhering to the above rules, my dog practically loved the cone and did not find it irritating because he knew that every time he wore it, I would give him a treat.

This strategy is quite helpful for all kinds of dogs because many dogs automatically presume that they are being made to wear the cone because they did something terrible; hence you might find them more sad or aggressive than usual, which is why following the above steps might make them more comfortable to the idea of wearing a cone.

Another fellow pet parent told me that since she owned two dogs, she made the other one wear it, and automatically the first one was tempted to wear it as well, making the process far more manageable.


Many people assume that the purpose of cones or E collars is to punish their pets for lousy behavior (At least that’s what I used to think before owning a pet).

When it comes to cartoons or even those dog movies, there was always a scene where sad music would be playing in the background while the dog would be wearing a cone, automatically indicating that wearing an E collar is means of punishment.

It was until I owned a dog that I realized that the true purpose of an Elizabethan collar is to ensure that the dogs do not harm themselves.

Simply put, a dog cone ensures the dog doesn’t remove, scratch, lick or damage the infected area, including stitches, bandages, or any form of topical medication.


To be precise, the benefits of wearing a dog cone are as follows:

  • The dog cones prevent the dogs from licking the surface where the surgical procedure was carried out. Even though the dog’s saliva is said to contain healing properties and can potentially remove a bacteria wall typically created on top of an exposed wound, too much licking is the problem. A healing wound will continuously itch, so if dogs are constantly licking to reduce the itch intensity, they are making the injury moister and remember that moisture attracts more bacteria causing fungal infections and, in turn, making your dog have to eat antibiotics (we don’t want this). Hence, the cone is always convenient.
  • Many dogs are prone to removing their stitches or bandages because it irritates them. Unlike humans, who are able to bear the irritation, dogs cannot, and they immediately want to take anything off of them that is bothering them. The cones prevent that from happening.
  • The cone also makes sure that the dogs don’t scratch their head. For instance, if your dog has eye surgery or received stitches anywhere near their head, then the cone will make sure that their paws aren’t able to come near the wound.
  • Another essential benefit is that dogs are prevented from licking any topical medications. Most pet owners prefer to give oral medications for fleas or ticks, but many choose to put on topical medication as well. That topical medication cannot be consumed because it is straight-up poison to kill the fleas, so imagine if your dog does not wear the cone and ends up licking the ointment you put on their coat, then it would cause further concern for health.
  • The cone also helps with rashes or hotspots. Dogs tend to worsen their rashes by scratching and licking, so a cone will stop that from happening.


If your dog has gone through a neuter surgery, then most likely, your VET must have made your dog wear an E collar, and alongside that, the VET must have given you a tentative date for how long you need to ensure that your dog keeps wearing the cone along with some medications.

If your VET has not given you an estimate, then contacting them would be a better option.

Before completely removing the cone, we recommend that you adhere to the timeline that your VET has prescribed your dog and take your dog to the VET instantly as soon as that time is up.

Only when the VET gives you a head go can you remove the cone; otherwise, it might cause significant issues.

Unlike human wounds, dog wounds take a different amount of time and look different when healed, so a veterinarian is the only one who can tell when would be an excellent time to take off the cone.

However, if you wish to understand what we suggest, the ideal situation would be to keep the cone on for two weeks.

This is just to ensure that the wound has fully healed. If the surgery was minor and the nurse asked you to keep it on for one week, then keeping it on for two weeks will be safer.

Make sure to show the surgical sight to the VET before finalizing about removing the Elizabethan collar. For example, if the VET said to remove the cone after 14 days, then showing the wound to the doctor on the 13th day would be a good option because then you can be entirely sure about it.

Side note: Sometimes, we assume that the constant itching near the wound is terrible; in fact, it is considered good at times as well because when wounds are healing.

They will start to itch because of the dryness spreading around them. This is good; however, if your dog ends up scratching the healing site aggressively, then it might become worse.

The general rule of thumb is one to two weeks, so do not remove the cone before that.


There is a set rule that pet parents must follow after their dogs have gone through surgery.

  • The first thing is that pet owners need to monitor the surgical site constantly, for example, if they see any bleeding or any inflammation. If this is the case, then immediately contact the VET and ask for possible recommendations. (Remember not to panic because it will be fine once inflammation is caught early)
  • The second thing is to ensure that during this time, the environment surrounding your dog’s needs is good; for instance, don’t take your dog outside in crowded places or let the crowd come into your home because someone or something ends up opening the stitches which would end causing more pain to your dog
  • The third thing is that, as mentioned before, moisture attracts bacteria, so try to cover the surgical site with plastic covers to ensure that water doesn’t seep into the wound, causing fungal infections.
  • Lastly, make sure to keep giving medications to your dog on time because not administering timely medicines can make the healing process slow down, in turn increasing the cone time to four weeks instead of three or two.


Some collars come with threads that can become insertion points for the dog’s conventional collars. To understand how to wear a cone, read our article: how to put on a dog cone?

Each cone comes with its insertion points, allowing pet owners to insert the collars into those openings and wrap them around their pet’s neck. This ensures that you can still attach a leash to the collar while ensuring that the Elizabethan collar or dog cone remains intact.

You can also buy a harness and just put on the dog cone and attach the leash to the center of the harness on the back of the dog so that there is no tugging or pulling of the neck or the surgical sight.

Just make sure that the harness is not entirely covering the surgical sight because while dogs are walking, they will sweat like any average mammal, which will cause more damage to the surgical sight.

My recommendation would be that if your dog had surgery, then maybe try to slow down on the walks and those runs until your furry friend has completely healed and has the energy to do so. But, if it is just a case of fleas, then taking them on a walk would be fine.


There are quite a few alternatives to the Elizabethan Collar, and we advise all those pet parents that if their dogs are not comfortable with a traditional dog cone, then try to discuss the following options of dog cones with your VET.

1. Inflatable Protective Collar

These collars look like a donut. Literally. They are inflatable and wrapped around your dog’s neck, which allows them to have a clear vision but also ensures that they don’t end up hurting themselves.

The benefit of these collars is that they don’t let the dog move their head in any direction, so if your dog had a neck injury or a spinal injury, then this would be the perfect alternative to the E collar.

2. Medical Onesie


These are not precisely collars; instead, they act as a protective layer on top of the surgical wound, like a plastic cover.

The most significant benefit of these is that they ensure no bacteria enter the wound and can come in handy while giving a bath to your furry friend because it won’t allow water to seep through.

3. Pillow Cones


An alternative to the plastic E collars is the pillow cones. These are pretty comfortable and can allow your dog to sleep with their pillow cones on as well because of their soft and comfortable material.

They come in the same set of sizes, similar to an E collar, ranging from extra small to extra large so that all dogs can be catered to, whether it’s a poodle or a German shepherd.


Did you know that the Elizabethan Collar got its name from Queen Elizabeth I because, during her time, people would wear round furry ruffles around their necklines? What was the reason? Fashion.

That’s how the traditional cone got its name, the Elizabethan Collar. 

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Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

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