'Cone of shame' impacts animal's mental health- study

A small dog wearing a conical plastic collar looks sadly at the camera
More than 400 pet owners participated in the study. Photo credit: Getty

Pet owners already know their animals behave differently when forced to wear the "cone of shame" after surgery - but new research has shown the Elizabethan collars could harm animal's wellbeing. 

Sydney's School of Veterinary Science found the Elizabethan collar, known colloquially as the "cone of shame" impacts pets' ability to drink, eat and play.

 "Our study found that Elizabethan collars had the potential to cause distress in animals, which in turn caused distress to owners," said study supervisor Dr Anne Fawcett.

The survey of 434 respondents found the majority said their pet's quality of life declined when they had to wear the collar.

Many owners said they were reluctant to keep the collar on their pet due to behavioural changes.

Sixty percent said the collar caused difficulty drinking, 67 percent said it stopped their animal playing and 25 percent said the collar led to injuries such as bumping into walls or falling downstairs.

The research recommends the "cone of shame" be replaced with alternative methods such as inflatable collars, neck restraints, visors or body wraps. 

The Massachusetts SPCA recommends using t-shirts to protect your pets after surgery. 

Animals with leg wounds can also wear socks.

Vets should also inform pet owners about the potential dangers of the cone, says lead author of the study Yustina Shenoda.

 "At a minimum we recommend giving owners tips around assisting their animals with drinking and eating, and encouraging owners to monitor their pets when wearing them. This advice could be provided verbally or through a brochure that clients can take home."