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What types of e-collars or e-collar alternatives really work at keeping dogs from being able to pick at spay stitches?

Our current foster dog is getting spayed next month. She's also getting a mammary tumor removed at the same time, but that's close to her front legs, so it'll be harder for her to get at the stitches for it.

This 50-pound dog is young and agile, and she chews on everything she can that's in contact with her. She has chewed her ID tag that was hanging from her collar, she has chewed on her harness while she was wearing it, she tried to pull off the dog jacket we put on her in cold weather (she would have ripped it if I hadn't taken it off), and she has destroyed a couple of leashes while she was in the back seat of the car. So, she will almost certainly try to chew on the spay stitches, and she will do her utmost to remove an e-collar. If she can get it in her mouth, she will chew on it and/or try to rip it off.

Is a plastic cone of shame the best option for her? New types of collars for this purpose look more comfortable for a dog to wear, but I'm concerned that she'll be able to destroy them, and that even if she can't destroy them, they won't keep her from getting at her spay stitches.

What are your experiences with the various options?

Missy 20210227-1-1.png
 

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Honestly, I've never used an Elizabethan collar on any dog (or cat) I've had spayed or neutered, and have never had an issue. If you think that she will mess with them, a dab of something like Bitter Apple next to the incision would probably be enough to discourage it. Otherwise, I would think about something like a BiteNot Collar https://www.amazon.com/BiteNot-BN3-1-2-Collar-3-5/dp/B01B3DQUF6

Also, the last three dogs I've had spayed didn't have external sutures, but were glued instead.
 
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My only experience with one of those donut things instead of the plastic cone or lampshade style e-collar was an abject failure. I've used the older stiff, white plastic cones on my Rottweilers for years and have several of different sizes in my basement just in case. Sure, they're not fun for the dog, but they get used to them, and one that's long enough to go past the dog's muzzle has been absolutely effective on all of mine. Really determined dogs have occasionally gotten hold of the thing at the point where the edges overlap and so I have a couple with tooth marks that are a little bent, but the dog didn't get to the surgery site, just beat up the cone some. The newer see-through cones aren't as stiff and tough and get more beat up and bent, and have the fasteners broken off more easily. They're not worth saving after a week on a determined dog.

I admit to having a tough attitude towards this. The times I had surgery there were unpleasant restrictions and contraptions afterward. It's necessary; it's life. Ten days or so of a cone isn't going to scar a dog for life, at least not any dog I've ever had. Admittedly I've never had any of the smaller more sensitive types, but then it doesn't look like the dog we're discussing is one of those either.

I have had to yank a just-neutered male out of a foster home that didn't want to be mean and keep a cone on when I got a hysterical call that the surgery site was gaping open. The dog had licked it until it looked as if his innards were showing. (They weren't, but he needed another trip to the vet, more anesthesia, and repair.)
 

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My experience with donut inflatable collars has also been disappointing - they're definitely way less restrictive than cones. Granted, the dog I used them on - a miniature poodle - has anatomy that makes them especially pointless: a long nose, long neck, long back, long legs... and agile enough (especially since this was a few years back) that he could contort himself around to easily get around the donut. To be fair, this was for an issue with his foot or leg, so it was even easier for him to get access (even with a cone he had to get a size over what was recommended to be successful). For abdominal issues they may be more successful, but if you want to try definitely go in with an Elizabethan on stand-by and prepared to keep a close watch on the dog in case it fails to do its job.

There are also post-surgery protective bodysuits, which could work well on an abdominal surgery for a dog who's comfortable wearing jackets/clothes/vest-style harnesses, etc. I haven't had the opportunity to try them myself, but they seem more vulnerable to being chewed off than a traditional collar, so I'd be reluctant to use them unsupervised. They'd definitely be a less humane option for my younger dog, who is highly body sensitive and becomes extremely distressed when he has to wear more than a lightweight harness (a reflective safety vest, for example), but can be decently comfortable in a cone for some reason, so it definitely depends on the dog.
 

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Agree with others here. Lampshade cone misery for a few days until completely healed and monitoring as much as possible IF it is a problem. I have had several dogs spayed over the years and only one had to have the Cone of Shame. I only neutered one male dog and he also was not issue.
 

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Agree with others here. Lampshade cone misery for a few days until completely healed and monitoring as much as possible IF it is a problem. I have had several dogs spayed over the years and only one had to have the Cone of Shame. I only neutered one male dog and he also was not issue.
Question. Vet said 2 weeks. Neutering for both dogs was a week ago today. I feel like one is still trying to lick himself (but obviously can’t). Should I keep cone on or ok to remove and redirect to prevent him from obsessing on the area?
 

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Question. Vet said 2 weeks. Neutering for both dogs was a week ago today. I feel like one is still trying to lick himself (but obviously can’t). Should I keep cone on or ok to remove and redirect to prevent him from obsessing on the area?
Leave the cone on. Vet said two weeks, then two weeks it is.
 
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