It is often difficult to keep your pet from chewing or licking himself. Often, after surgery, your cat or dog does not give up until all the stitches are pulled out. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, your pet decides to chew at himself. Once the chewing or itching begins, it’s very difficult to break the cycle. The more he licks or chews, the more he itches. The more he itches, the more he chews. Eventually, the area becomes inflamed and irritated.

Typical Elizabethan CollarTypical Elizabethan Collar
Dog with Elizabethan Collar

One method for keeping your pet from chewing himself is by using an Elizabethan collar. Most commercial Elizabethan collars are made from hard plastic, and when attached around the animal’s head, gives the appearance of a lampshade. Most E-collars are opaque; however, clear ones have recently become available. Pets appear to accept the clear collars more readily as they are able to see and get around much better.

Most veterinary hospitals and major pet supply stores carry Elizabethan collars, or if you really feel ambitious, you can make one at home. A homemade E-collar can be made from a cardboard box or a sheet of poster board.

Cat Wearing an Elizabethan CollarCat Wearing an Elizabethan Collar

Before using your E-collar, make sure that your veterinarian knows what you are doing. He or she may have suggestions or may feel that an Elizabethan collar is not appropriate for your pet. For certain animals, this type of treatment may be contraindicated!

If you decide to go with an E-collar, it should be worn religiously until the problem is resolved. If it appears as though the collar is not helping, or if the E-collar is actually making the situation worse, remove the collar and call your veterinarian.

Cat Wearing an E-Collar
Elizabethan collar is used to prevent the cat from pulling out his I.V. Catheter.
Your pet will need some time adjusting to the E-collar. At first, he or she will bump into objects and will probably be somewhat disorientated. You should try to encourage your pet and provide a treat each time you reapply the collar. The E-collar should be worn religiously; however, you may need to remove it during feeding time. Don’t forget to reapply, it and make sure it is worn at night and when you are not at home. Even with a rough beginning, most pets accept the collar and can adjust to it remarkably well.