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Our puppy Dachshund had an Ovarihysterectomy performed on Monday (she was spayed). She has a small (approximately 2 inch) sutured scar on her belly. She was given a cone to wear and we were asked to keep it on for two weeks(!).

While the cone (technically) fits, it's actually too heavy for her. She has trouble walking, because in order to do so, she has to keep her head up high and it's stressing her neck. Also, being a hound, she is used to walking with her nose to the ground, which is now impossible.

Would it really be necessary to keep it on her for a full two weeks? I don't dare let her bite at her belly, not yet anyway, because she'd probably open the wound, but how long should it take for the major portion of the scar to close?

  • Related (for cats): pets.stackexchange.com/questions/6412/… – Zaralynda Oct 1 '14 at 16:02
  • One week done, one week to go. We got her a lighter weight cone and she ... well ... I took it off to clean today, expecting her to go right for her healing wound and to take off and fight me to put it back on. Instead, she scratched her ears once or twice with her hind legs and then waited patiently for the cone to be put back on. She actually seems to like the damn thing now. – CGCampbell Oct 5 '14 at 13:32
  • OP here: that was THE LONGEST two weeks of my puppy's life. Wow am I glad it's over. She just spent two hours going for a walk with her nose to the ground, now that the cone doesn't interfere. Another thing, no mood or playfullness change from the spaying. – CGCampbell Oct 13 '14 at 21:42
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Two weeks seems like a long time, but that's actually how long it takes to heal. Actually, it's technically a bit longer, because they take the stitches out before it's fully healed so that the body doesn't begin to react to the stitches.

By my estimate, you will probably notice after the first week that it looks healed. But I would still caution you to be careful about letter your dog loose one it, as it will only be (for the lack of a better term) thinly healed.

As an alternative to the hard plastic cone I'm assuming that you have right now. There are also cones made of nylon that should be just as effective, and more importantly, much lighter and less irritating. If you can't find them in the dog section at your local pet store, you might want to check the cat section.

They also make collars, which are pretty much the same things as those neck pillows you get for plane rides. They work by restricting the mobility of the neck, so they shouldn't be able to reach much. I wouldn't count on them if the spot you're trying to avoid is on the hind legs though. I would also assume that they're going to be too heavy for your dog, though you would be able to judge that if you found one and held it.

Picture of dog and cat cones.
(Source)

  • +1 for the nylon/fabric cones. This has been successful for us in the past. – Roger Oct 1 '14 at 13:28
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    We didn't get a nylon one (like the green ones above) because she could actually get to the sutures. We did find a much smaller (hard plastic) cone, however, so all in all she's now as happy as she can be. – CGCampbell Oct 2 '14 at 19:09
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When our dog was spayed, our vet recommended using a baby / toddler onsie. We picked one up from a used clothing store for maybe $3 and it worked great. Just make sure to take it off before they go to the bathroom.

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We ended up shopping at Petsmart and bought a Remedy+Recovery brand E-Collar, medium, pink. My wife bought it, so I don't know how much it cost. It was way better for Peanut than the large hard plastic white cone that was both too large and too heavy.

The E-Collar fit just right, and came to the end of her snout. After a couple days with it, she was actually happier with it on than when we took it off for a thorough scratching. She was able to lick her hind paws but not get to her stomach where the wound was.

Peanut is now healed enough for no cone, though, so she's free to sniff about.

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