Inflatable recovery collars are an alternative to the traditional (and much hated) hard plastic Elizabethan Collar.
Recovery collars and cones are used for animals recovering from surgery, and for a variety of injuries and skin conditions. Recovery collars work by preventing a pet from being able to turn its heads to chew or lick a wound on the body. Recovery collars are vital for allowing skin to heal without interference, whether that be post-surgery, skin infection, lick granuloma or ulcer. It does not in itself address the underlying cause of a skin problem, but prevents the situation from worsening while diagnostics and treatment are undertaken.
Inflatable collars, as well as soft, "comfy cones" and their competitors provide a more user friendly - both for the owner and the animal - option to the hard E-Collar. Unfortunately, most users of inflatable collars say that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
What's Good About Inflatable Collars
- Inflatable collars are more comfortable than plastic E-collars. Because inflatable collars are donut-shaped, dogs are more comfortable and can function well at normal activities - drinking water, eating, etc.
- With an inflatable collar, a dog can move, see and hear more easily than when it's wearing a plastic e-collar. Plastic e-collars can be stressful to dogs because they are constantly bumping into walls, doors, furniture - and their owners.
- Soft recovery collars seem to work well for small dogs, who can't reach their necks around the collars.
What's Bad About Inflatable Collars
- Inflatable dog collars are much more expensive than plastic dog e-collars.
- Some dogs will chew through inflatable collars.
- Inflatable collars get wet and dirty. When your dog drinks from a bowl, the collar is going to get wet and heavy. When your dog eats canned food, some of the food is going to get on the collar, and the collar will need to be washed with soap and water to remove the smell.
- Inflatable collars can be punctured and lose air if the dog gets into bushes or trees. Similarly, they shouldn't be used if there are no other dogs around (it may be mistaken for a toy).
- Some dogs can reach their heads around inflatable collars. Some dogs are very flexible and can bend around the donut and get at surgery sites and wounds. Inflatable collars are generally only good for limited body locations.
- Inflatable collars aren't a good solution for eye injuries - they wont stop dogs from pawing at, or rubbing their eyes. Every dog with a corneal ulcer or eye trauma, should be advised to wear a plastic collar to protect the eye. The liquid of the eye is only really protected by a thin layer of cornea, and if there is a ulcer, scratch or infection present it often causes the dog to want to itch the eye - and therefore there is the risk of eye rupture! It's much less inconvenient for your dog to wear an e-collar for two weeks, than for your dog to have an eye surgery or lose an eye.
- Soft dog collars are not effective for footpad injuries or problems around the tail - as the dog can still reach these areas with its mouth.