Getting your dog to adjust to wearing a Recovery Collar can take some patience for the simple reason that the collars are foreign objects for most dogs, not something they’ve worn before or are familiar with.
Remember, the purpose of recovery collars is helping your dog heal and preventing him from biting, scratching or licking the wound or irritation while it heals. It’s important that you keep the collar on until the wound is healed.
Start by making sure that the collar fits your dog properly. It should be secure, but not too tight. Rotate it occasionally and check to make sure it’s not irritating the neck. This is especially important if you are using a recovery collar with the regular dog collar.
Once you put the e-collar on your dog, do as many positive things as possible while the dog is wearing it.
Make time to give your dog small but special treats when s/he is wearing the collar. Remember s/he’s recovering from an injury or has a problem that needs healing and probably doesn’t feel well at the beginning. If possible, feed your dog while wearing the collar.
If your vet hasn’t supplied it, ask your pet store to recommend Remedy & Recovery’s Wound Lotion, Medicated Antiseptic Spray, Hot Spot remedy or Hydrocortisone lotion to use near the wound, stitches or irritation so your dog won’t be trying to scratch. Make sure you re-apply as needed to keep your dog as comfortable as possible. Make it a point to gently scratch your dog behind the ears or in the tummy area to comfort them. Extra petting and massaging will give your dog reassurance that he’s being well taken care of.
These actions, coupled with simply allowing 2 or 3 days for the dog to get used to wearing the collar, should do the trick in most cases. Once s/he’s feeling better your dog will adjust quickly. It’s ok to let your dog proceed with normal activities while wearing the collar. Attending dog training classes while wearing a collar it is not impossible, just harder, because the dog will be more distracted than normal. If you have to take your pet to day care or play dates, use extra caution. Rambunctious dogs and recovery collars are not compatible. Many dog daycares will keep recovering dogs in a quiet area.
After the wound starts healing, ask your vet if it’s ok to take the collar off for small amounts of time when you are supervising your dog’s activity. A few short breaks from wearing the collar may be acceptable and will be a welcome relief for your dog. When your dog feels like it, keep her busy playing fetch or exercising, so he’s not scratching or biting the wound. Maybe you’re confident you can take your dog for a walk without the collar, but keep a close eye on her. Making sure he gets exercise is important. If s/he’s scratching as soon as you remove the collar, don’t do it, walk her with the collar on.
As he begins recovering it’s important to keep your dog busy. Many dogs can easily play catch with small, soft toys with their collar on. Just make sure you are close up and toss it a little higher than usual to make it easy for him/her to keep their eye on the ball. Give your dog a lot of praise for catching a soft toy the first few times!
You can also keep your dog busy with chewy toys or treats that last a long time. Research some games you can play with your dog on YouTube. It won’t be long before your dog has recovered and everything is back to normal!
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