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The Elizabethan Collar

August 1, 2019
Has your pet ever had to wear an Elizabethan collar? These devices—sometimes called E-collars and often referred to as the “cone of shame” or a “lampshade”—are designed to stop a pet from inflicting self-trauma while recovering from a surgical incision, wound, infection, or other bodily harm. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the E-collar in this article from your Pickerington, OH veterinarian.


The Elizabethan collar gets its name from the ruffs worn by wealthy landowners in Elizabethan-era England. It was patented in the United States in the late 1950s, and has remained in use as a protective item for pets ever since. Dogs and cats alike can wear Elizabethan collars. E-collars are most often made of clear plastic, but they can also be made from fabric or other materials. Modern E-collars feature tabs or bands around the neck area to help fasten the device to your pet, or they can fasten with a string or Velcro.

E-Collar Sizing

Elizabethan collars come in different sizes for different pets. The proper size must be given to your pet if they need an E-collar, because collars that are too tight could choke them, and ones that are too loose will simply fall off. If that happens, a pet is free to chew, bite, lick, or scratch at their wound area, further complicating the health issue. It’s also important to consider the length of the collar. The end of the cone should align with the tip of your pet’s nose; this allows your companion to go about their business like normal but restricts them from inflicting self-harm with their mouth or paws.

Care Tips

Does your pet have to wear an E-collar while recovering? Keep a close eye on them throughout this period to make sure they stay safe. It’s possible for pets to get the collar stuck in small spaces, and especially crafty pets might even be able to get the collar into their mouths, potentially chewing off plastic bits or ripping off the collar entirely. You may also have to remove the collar when your pet wants to eat and drink—although E-collars are designed to allow your pet to eat and drink while wearing them, pets don’t always take kindly to this arrangement. Re-fasten the collar once your pet is done. Does your pet need veterinary attention? We’re here to help. Contact your Pickerington, OH vet.