DIY Dog Cone Alternatives

dog wearing a cone
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There’s nothing more heart-wrenching than watching your fur baby walk around in a ‘cone of shame’ after a medical procedure or when dealing with a skin irritation. The way your dog gazes at you with those pleading puppy eyes, struggling to navigate through doorways and constantly knocking over their water bowl. If the cumbersome plastic dog cone isn’t cutting it (or if your dog already destroyed it and you need a new option) we’ve got some creative and comfortable alternatives using common household products. 

Remember the purpose of a dog cone, or an Elizabethan collar (E-collar), is to prevent your dog from scratching, licking, or biting their wounds or stitches. Any DIY alternative you attempt should fulfill this primary purpose, and your pet’s safety should always be your top priority. 

1. The Pool Noodle Collar

One of the most comfortable alternatives to the traditional dog cone is the pool noodle collar. It’s soft, lightweight, and doesn’t impede your dog’s peripheral vision. All you need is a pool noodle, a ribbon or shoelace, and a bit of patience.

Firstly, measure the length of your dog’s neck and cut the pool noodle to size, leaving a bit of extra length for overlap. Next, make a slit along the length of the noodle, being careful not to cut all the way through. This will allow you to open the noodle and place it around your dog’s neck. Secure the ends of the noodle together with the ribbon or shoelace, ensuring it’s snug but not too tight.

Alternatively, if you have a regular collar that can be adjusted to a larger size than your dog normally wears, you can also cut smaller rings of the pool noodle and insert them onto the collar. Once you’ve added enough pieces of the noodle to fill out the collar, you can attach it like you would normally. Now you’ve got a DIY dog cone that’s more like a comfy neck pillow!

2. The Poster Board Cone

If you’re after a more traditional cone shape but want to ensure it’s lightweight and comfortable, the poster board cone is your answer. You will need a poster board, scissors, tape, and a ribbon or shoelace.

Start by drawing a large semi-circle on your poster board. The radius of the semi-circle should be roughly the length from your dog’s neck to its nose. Cut out the semi-circle and form it into a cone shape that fits comfortably around your dog’s neck. Tape the edges to secure the shape.

Next, punch two holes near the base of the cone and thread the ribbon or shoelace through, creating a secure fastening. The poster board cone is light, comfortable, and can even be decorated with your dog’s name or some fun patterns.

3. The Paper Plate Shield

For small breeds or puppies, a simple paper plate can act as a perfect makeshift cone. All you need is a sturdy paper plate and a pair of scissors. Begin by cutting a semi-circle out of the center of the plate, making sure the remaining hole is large enough for your dog’s neck.

The paper plate shield might not be as sturdy as other options, but it’s quick, easy, and perfect for minor wounds or irritations that just need a little protection. Plus, it’s so light, your little one will hardly notice it’s there.

4. The Towel Collar

A towel collar is another comfortable DIY dog cone alternative, especially for larger breeds. Simply roll up a towel to the appropriate thickness, then place it around your dog’s neck like a scarf. Use safety pins or a ribbon to secure the ends together.

This collar restricts your dog’s movement enough to prevent them from reaching their wounds, but it’s soft and comfortable for them to wear. Just remember to keep an eye on your dog to ensure they aren’t able to wriggle free.

5. The Egg Carton Foam Collar

Egg carton foam, with its soft texture and flexibility, makes an excellent material for a DIY dog cone. Cut a piece of the foam to fit around your dog’s neck, allowing for overlap. Secure it with a ribbon or shoelace, making sure it’s snug but not too tight.

This collar is lightweight yet sturdy, providing a good level of protection for your dog’s wounds. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle egg carton foam that would otherwise go to waste.

6. The Bucket or Plastic Bowl Collar

For those with a knack for improvisation, a small bucket or sturdy plastic bowl can make an effective dog cone. Make sure to choose a bucket or bowl that’s the right size for your dog, and that the rim isn’t sharp.

Cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket or bowl large enough for your dog’s neck, then secure it with a ribbon or shoelace threaded through small holes drilled around the rim. It may not be the most elegant solution, but it’s effective and readily available in a pinch.

7. The Baby Onesie (Instead of Collar)

Our last DIY dog cone alternative is as simple as it gets – a baby onesie. Yes, you read that right. A onesie can act as an excellent barrier for dogs with wounds on their torso or hind area. It’s also a great option if you’re in a pinch and need something to stop your dog from licking or scratching right away.

This trick works best for small dogs. Depending on their size and shape, you can experiment with putting the onesie on the normal way, or putting it on backwards, with their tail coming out through the neck opening and their legs through the armholes. Ensure that the onesie is not too tight and that your dog can move freely.

Keep an eye on your dog while they’re wearing the onesie, especially when they need to go outside for toilet breaks. You’ll need to remove the onesie or unfasten the snaps to allow them to do their business.


Whether you’re in a pinch to replace a broken cone, or simply looking for a more comfortable option for you pet, these DIY dog cone alternatives can be achieved with a little creativity and effort. The best alternative depends on your dog’s temperament, the location of their wound, and the intensity of their licking or scratching behavior. Always keep a watchful eye on your pet while they’re wearing these DIY alternatives, and consult your vet if you notice any issues.

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