And here we have another pointless personal post… or maybe this one won’t be quite so pointless.
Yesterday I had to take my dog to the vet. She had an allergic reaction to something and she was scratching so much she was sent home with several drugs and an e-collar (aka a ‘collar of shame’). The thing reminded me of a medieval torture device, my dog was miserable, I was miserable and it took me about twenty minutes to decide that the thing just wasn’t working, so I set out to find an alternative.
I found some very fancy products online, but none of them came across as particularly appealing and they were not available from my local vet. Seeing how I needed them now, not in 48 hours, they were most definitely not an option. That meant I had to come up with an alternative by myself… and I had to use materials that were readily available.
Here you have a picture of what I came up with, and I have to say that she is much happier. She can see where she is going, she can eat and drink, she can rest comfortably and she is not bumping into things or falling down the stairs.
Anyway, in case anyone is interested, this is how I put it together (it took me something like twenty minutes).
I began with five foam sheets cut to the appropriate size (this varies from dog to dog, but it is roughly 1.5 times the distance from the base of your dog’s skull to the tip of its nose x 90% of the length of your dog’s collar. In my dog’s case that was something like 14”x9”).
I then made a pattern with a number of diamond-shapes cut out along the width of the sheet at 1/3 of the height, and then I repeated this pattern in each of the foam sheets. I made a very simple cover with a new dish cloth that was more or less the right size (you can use a glue gun here if you don’t feel comfortable sewing). Then I folded the thing, placed a grand total of three stitches (one on each side and one in the middle), and finally I adjusted the length of my dog’s collar and put the thing on, facing forward and with the shorter side on the inside.
Here you have the pattern I used for the foam sheets:
Now a few tips:
My dog is not particularly active… in fact she would be in the running for the title of ‘Couch Potato of the Year’ if it weren’t because as soon as she heard the word ‘running’ she decided that the whole thing would be too much of an effort and went back to sleep. A more active dog could probably defeat this by turning it around, so you may want to stitch
a couple of rings to its sides along the collar and secure it to a comfortable harness (either improvised or commercial) a couple of buttons on the sides where you stitched the fold and then, using piece of string with a loop on each end, secure it around your dog’s face, making it as tight as you can while making sure that it fits comfortably.
This one is kind of obvious, but make sure your dog is comfortable and that the thing is not too tight (if your dog’s collar can’t be expanded to accommodate it, just replace it with a piece of velcro). In fact you may want to make sure after you cut the first foam sheet that the measures are right, and make some changes if necessary. These figures worked for me, but I suspect the needs of different breeds may differ.
My dog is mid-sized. I suspect that this thing can be adapted for different sizes, but beware that I have a sample size of one, so your mileage may vary (as may the number of foam sheets required).
If your dog absolutely must not scratch, this is probably NOT for you. If there are stitches involved you may want to stick with a veterinary approved solution. I am using this for an allergy problem and that means that my dog is unlikely to do any serious damage if she manages to scratch a couple of times, otherwise I wouldn’t be taking chances.
This thing has worked well for me, that’s why I’m sharing this little how-to, but use it at your own risk… and don’t leave your dog unattended with it if you can avoid it, especially not in the first 24 hours.