If your dog is recovering from surgery and you want to prevent him from licking the incision, or if your dog has a hot spot on his neck that he cannot keep from scratching, you may need to invest in an Elizabethan collar. While your veterinarian or favorite pet store stocks good quality Elizabethan collars, you may need one in the middle of the night or on a Sunday, when your veterinarian's office is closed. With some tools, you can make a temporary homemade Elizabethan collar.
An Elizabethan collar is simply a protective device applied around a dog's neck to make it difficult for the dog to lick, bite or scratch at an injury. To keep the Elizabethan collar in place, it is necessary for the dog to wear a collar so the Elizabethan Collar can be securely attached to it. Elizabethan collars are also known as cones, space collars or abbreviated as E-collars -- not to be confused with electronic collars. The name originates from its similarity with the ruffs worn in Elizabethan times.
Cardboard Elizabethan Collar
Remove your dog's collar and measure the circumference of his neck. Draw a semi-circle in the center of a large piece of cardboard and base the circle on your dog's neck measurement. Draw the outer edge of the collar. Connect the two edges of the two semi-circles and cut it out. Puncture some holes in both edges and shape the cardboard into a cone and place it on your dog's head. Put on the collar and use shoestrings to secure it to the E-collar.
Paper Plate Elizabethan Collar
Smaller dogs may benefit from an easy-to-make paper plate Elizabethan collar. Cut out a hole in the center of the paper plate, sufficient to allow the dog's head through the hole. Fit it on your dog and attach to the collar using a strong tape. Should the paper plate be too big, trim the edges. If it is too small, add as strip from another plate and attach it to the plate shaping it into a cone.
Plastic Bucket Elizabethan Collar
In some cases, a plastic bucket may do the job when an emergency collar is needed as soon as possible. Cut off the bottom from a plastic bucket, just enough to allow your dog's head through the hole. If the edges are rough, sand them down to prevent injury. Make holes in the bucket so to pass shoestrings through the holes and secure the Elizabethan collar to the dog's collar.
Most dogs take some time to get accustomed to the feel of the Elizabethan collar. Some may have a difficult time eating or drinking while wearing it. If your dog refuses to eat or drink, it may be a good idea to remove it temporarily and then put it back once the dog is fed and well hydrated. Supervision is a must when wearing a temporary homemade Elizabethan collar, at least until you can get one made professionally.