It’s highly likely that at one point or another your precious pooch has to wear a cone. Needless to say, this isn’t exactly a pleasant experience for dogs. And it can certainly make you wonder – can a dog sleep in a crate with a cone? In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the most common questions we get asked from fellow dog owners surrounding this topic. In addition to that, we’ll also be sharing with you some of the best dog cone alternatives that we’ve tried, tested, and loved. To be fair, we didn’t wear them, but our Doods gave us the thumbs paws up! 

Table of Contents

Can A Dog Sleep In A Crate With A Cone: Intro

Ah, the dreaded time when your dog has to wear a cone. They’re likely uncomfortable, confused, and probably experiencing some mild pain due to a recent medical procedure. But, there’s no way around it, cones are for their own safety. 

Of course, it’s not pleasant seeing your four-legged family member not feeling their best. It might be even tempting to take their cone off altogether. However, we’re firm believers in proper, science-based veterinary care, so following your vet’s exact guidelines is crucial. 

In this guide, we’re going to discuss some of the most common reasons why a dog might have to wear a cone, as well as answer your question “can a dog sleep in a crate with a cone?”. And as we said, we also have some wonderful cone alternatives for dogs that just cannot stand wearing one, so keep on reading to learn more. 

When Do Dogs Need To Wear A Cone?

Dogs usually have to wear a cone after they’ve had a surgery. For instance, a spay or neuter surgery, which every dog should undergo anyway. Although a cone is huge and maybe even uncomfortable, limiting your dog’s daily movements and usual routines, it’s there to keep them safe. 

A cone is designed to prevent your dog from licking, scratching, and biting on their healing wounds. This way, the wound has time to properly heal without any excess moisture from the saliva. Moreover, if you let your dog constantly lick and chew their wounds, it’ll only attract bad bacteria that’ll start to spread. This can quickly lead to infections and a whole range of other health issues. 

Additionally, your vet may require your dog to wear a cone if they’re experiencing more serious skin irritations or injuries. Again, the cone is there to prevent your dog from soothing the discomfort by licking and biting the wound.  

Can A Dog Sleep In A Crate With A Cone?

One of the first questions dog owners ask is – can dogs sleep with cones on? That’s a perfectly valid question, as cones are bulky and greatly limit your dog’s usual daily activities. But what about the crate – can my dog sleep in his crate with a cone on?

Yes, a dog can sleep with a cone on. And a dog can sleep in a crate with a cone, too. Remember, a cone is there to keep your pup safe, even if it means some slight discomfort and limited movement. It’ll come off soon enough! 

On the other hand, we can understand why you might be worried about how your dog can sleep with their cone on. It can definitely be uncomfortable and disturb their sleep at first. However, you shouldn’t take your dog’s cone off unless your vet has instructed you to do so. 

Another thing to consider is the crate size. Cones are large and they take up much more space, making it more difficult for your pup to move around in their crate. So, if the crate isn’t spacious enough, a dog bed would be a good alternative in the meantime. 

But how to help a dog sleep with a cone? The goal is to make your dog as comfortable as possible during this confusing time when they have to wear a cone. If your pup is visibly upset and distraught when having to spend time in their crate with a cone on, don’t force them. 

Needless to say, if your dog has never been keen on sleeping inside the crate, this is not the time to do it! If you need to keep your pup safe while you have to leave the house for a bit, here are some great dog crate alternatives you can check out. 

Should You Leave Dogs Alone With A Cone On?

On one hand, you can leave your dog alone with a cone on. On the other hand, it’s not really recommended to leave them alone for long periods of time, as they’re recovering from a medical procedure or a health concern. 

As you know, cones can make your dog confused, so they’ll bump into things or have a difficult time moving, eating, or drinking water. This also puts them at risk of accidental injuries, which you should try to prevent by all means. 

In addition to that, dogs are master escape artists. So, if they’re not feeling comfortable with the cone on, they’ll likely try to get out of it. For this reason, it would be best to be with your dog as much as possible throughout this healing stage. This way, you can ensure that your dog is safe both mentally and physically – having you around and encouraging them will surely make a world of difference! 

4 Reasons Why It Is Not Safe To Leave Dogs Alone With A Cone On

Your Dog Might Remove The Cone

As we said, one of the most important reasons why you shouldn’t leave your dog alone when they’re wearing a cone is that they might remove it when you’re not supervising them. The cone is uncomfortable, the wound is itchy, and the perfect plan goes into action. 

So, if you’ve already seen your dog trying to get out of the cone as soon as you’ve left the room, it’s not really reasonable to leave them home alone. It’s safe to say that this will only encourage your dog to try and get that cone off. 

Your Pet May Bump Into Things And Get Injuries

Since the cone limits your dog’s vision and can confuse them about their surroundings, they might easily bump into things and get injured. Even if it’s a minor bump, you don’t want to cause any excessive pain and discomfort for your pup. Especially if they might bump into things with their healing wounds. 

To be fair, it’s not uncommon for dogs to bump into the furniture at home and even their family members, as they simply can’t see what’s around them. And then all the added confusion and mental distress from wearing the cone – you can only imagine how those accidents are bound to happen! 

They Might Feel Hungry Or Dehydrated

Although the cone is designed so that your dog should be able to eat and drink when wearing it, in real world things don’t often go as smoothly. Whilst wearing a cone, your dog might have difficulty eating and drinking water. However, as they’re healing from a surgery, they need all the nutrients and clean drinking water they can get to heal quickly. 

Therefore, it’s best if you could stay with your dog while they have to wear the cone. This way, you can ensure that they’re eating and drinking enough. And if your dog is really struggling with eating and drinking with their cone, a cone alternative will likely be your best bet.

Your Dog Might Get Anxious Or Depressed

A crucial thing to consider is the mental and emotional aspect of your dog having to wear a cone. Some dogs take it especially hard and get extremely anxious or even depressed with a cone on. And once you leave them alone, you can only imagine the distress that comes upon them.

Indeed, it’s certainly not easy having to spend the majority of the time at home for the next 10 to 14 days when your dog has to wear a cone. But, it’s part of being a dog owner, and it’s your responsibility to be there for your pet. And as you’re the closest person to your dog, you’ll be the best person to soothe them and comfort them when they need it the most. 

Of course, there may be times when you have to leave the house either for work, personal appointments, or simply getting some groceries. If you do have to leave your house for a few hours, you might want to consider asking a family member or friend to look after your pup. You could also hire a pet sitter for the time being. 

How To Help Dog Sleep With A Cone?

As we said, sleeping with a cone can be uncomfortable for our pets, but there are ways you can make your pup still get a good night’s sleep with their cone on. 

First and foremost, you want to make sure the cone fits well and doesn’t cause discomfort or irritation. It should be snug but not too tight, and your dog should be able to breathe, eat, and drink without difficulty.

Secondly, you should set up a cozy sleeping area for your dog, using their favorite bed or blanket. Consider adding extra padding or pillows to provide more support and comfort for your pup. Although your dog can sleep inside their crate, it might not be the best option when they’re wearing a cone. 

Thirdly, make sure that you maintain a quiet and relaxed atmosphere during bedtime. Dim the lights, reduce noise, and consider using calming scents or a white noise machine to help your dog feel at ease. You should also spend some time with your pooch before bedtime, petting them and offering gentle words of reassurance. This will help them feel more secure and relaxed while wearing the cone.

And lastly, we recommend you keep an eye on your dog during the first few nights with the cone to ensure they can sleep comfortably and safely. If you notice any issues, adjust the cone or bedding as needed. In addition to that, pay close attention to how your dog is reacting to the cone after a few days of adjustment – if your pup cannot tolerate the traditional plastic cone, we recommend you try out other options like soft cones, inflatable collars, or recovery suits that still provide protection, but are usually much more comfortable and less rigid around the neck. 

Best Cone Alternatives You Can Buy In 2023

Fortunately, today there are many wonderful alternatives to the traditional e-collar dog cone that your dog has gotten from their vet. However, a different type of collar won’t magically ‘fix’ the issue if your dog isn’t comfortable wearing a cone. You’ll still have to stay persistent and just let your pup get used to wearing one. But over the next couple of days, you’ll likely notice how your pup doesn’t mind their collar that much at all. 

Soft Recovery Collar Or Pet Recovery Collar

The traditional e-collar that we know as the usual dog cone is made from hard and sturdy plastic. You see how this won’t be the most comfortable thing for your dog to wear, right? A great alternative to those vet office dog cones is to use a soft recovery collar instead. These are much more comfortable for our canine pals to wear, as it provides more flexibility without compromising on the function. 

Alfie Pet Noah Sunflower Dog & Cat Recovery Collar

This soft recovery collar is both functional and cute-looking – a win-win combination! Your pup will look like a little sunflower. Plus, they’re most likely going to feel so much better in this one than in that sturdy vet cone. The collar itself is made from lightweight materials that won’t weigh your pup down. It comes in six different sizes – from extra small up to XXL. There’s a soft collar for each pup! 

Alfie Pet Noah Sunflower Dog Recovery Collar

This soft sunflower collar is made from plush fabric that’ll let your pup continue with their normal daily activities like eating, drinking, and sleeping. It has a double fuzzy fastener closure for your pup’s safety and comfort, as you can adjust it according to your dog’s neck size. It’s also machine washable, making it super easy to clean.

Inflatable Collar

Inflatable collars are also great alternatives to plastic collars, as they’re soft and cushy, providing that extra support to your pup’s neck. These types of dog collars look quite similar to our human travel pillows! 

Another great thing about inflatable collars is that they won’t restrict your dog’s vision. This means that you won’t have to worry about your dog bumping into the furniture or your precious belongings that shouldn’t end up on the floor completely shattered. However, they still stop your pup from reaching their wounds and stitches, preventing them from licking and biting them. 

The only downside of these types of collars is that they won’t exactly do their job in case they break or puncture. So, if you notice the collar has deflated, make sure you switch it out for either a new one or consider trying another type of collar instead. 

Calm Paws Basic Inflatable Dog Collar

Although very simple-looking, this inflatable dog collar is very functional, as it’ll keep your pup comfy and away from their healing wounds and stitches. Thanks to its design, this inflatable collar is perfect for dogs who simply can’t stand wearing that hideous plastic cone. Your pup can still eat, drink, and sleep with this one on! It comes in five different sizes from extra small and up to extra large. 

Calm Paws Basic Inflatable Dog Collar

To keep it safely around your pup’s neck, simply use the fuzzy fastener. By the way, there’s also a chest security strap to keep it in place in case your dog isn’t really enjoying having anything around their neck. It’s also machine washable in cold water. 

Surgical Jackets

Last, but definitely not least, are surgical jackets that are specially designed for dogs. If your dog really, and we mean *REALLY*, hates wearing a cone or collar, a recovery jacket can be an excellent alternative to try out. They won’t restrict your dog’s vision or confuse them, as it’s simply clothing that’s covering the wound. Of course, the key is to choose the right kind of surgical jacket, as there’s no point choosing one that doesn’t cover the wound that has to be protected. 

Surgi Snuggly Wonder Suit Post Surgical Healing Dog Suit

This Surgi Snuggly Wonder Suit is the perfect pick for pups who prefer a jacket instead of a cone or an inflatable collar. This onesie helps protect your pup by keeping them from scratching and biting on their wounds. In addition to that, it’s excellent for relieving any anxiety, as it fits snugly around their whole body. 

Surgi Snuggly Wonder Suit Post Surgical Healing Dog Suit

This surgical jacket has been invented by a veterinarian with over 40 years of experience, and it’s a top pick amongst vets, dog trainers, and doggy professionals. What’s more, it’s made with antimicrobial material that’ll keep away germs, fungus, mildew, and harmful bacteria. 

Another great thing about this surgical jacket is that your pup can easily go potty with this on – simply fold the bottom into the back pocket and let your pooch do its business. This suit comes in a whopping 14 different sizes and there are even options to choose either between short or long suits – there’s a size for all breeds! 

Can A Dog Sleep In A Crate With A Cone: FAQs

Are Cones Uncomfortable For Dogs?

Cones are indeed often uncomfortable for dogs. However, you can take certain steps to make it as comfortable as possible for your pup. First, make sure that the cone isn’t too tight or too loose around the neck. Second, consider how your dog will be handling their daily activities, such as eating and drinking, sleeping, going potty, and even playing. For instance, sleeping with a cone on can be rather uncomfortable for most dogs, so you don’t want to confine them into a tight, enclosed space. 

What Is The Best Way For A Dog To Sleep With A Cone?

The best way for a dog to sleep with a cone is on a larger, more spacious dog bed with a pillow where they can comfortably rest their head with the cone. You can also utilize dog cone alternatives, such as the ones we mentioned above. 

Should Dogs Sleep In Crate After Surgery?

Dogs should only sleep inside the crate after surgery if they’re feeling comfortable while in there. So, only if the crate is big enough for your dog to comfortably move around with their cone on. Likewise, don’t force your dog to sleep in their crate with a cone on if they’re clearly uncomfortable due to all that constriction around them.

Can A Dog Sleep In A Crate With A Cone: Final Thoughts

Dogs can sleep with a cone on and some dogs may even be perfectly fine sleeping inside the crate with a cone. However, your top priority should be to make your dog as comfortable as possible during this time. If your dog is feeling quite okay with their plastic collar, but don’t exactly enjoy sleeping inside the crate with it, then prepare a cozy dog bed for them instead. And if they really hate their e-collar, try out some alternatives to find the most comfortable option for your pup. It may take some trial and error, and certainly some consistency and patience, but with a little bit of effort you can make this time fly by quickly. Hopefully this article managed to answer your question “can a dog sleep with a cone on?” and help you navigate through this tricky period. 

Learn How to Care for Your Doodle Puppy!

Perfect for first-time Doodle parents, get ALL your questions answered, including questions new Doodle parents don’t even think to ask.

Plus, get $700 worth of Bonus Materials for FREE, including:
  • Doodle Parenthood Community and Support Group ($190 value)
  • Doodle Puppy Growth Tracker ($20 value)
  • EMERGENCY Cheatsheet: When To Call The Vet Immediately ($50 value)
  • HELP! Button ($145 value)
Enroll Now