Inflatable Dog Collar Vs Cone: Which is Better

Written By: Jen

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While we hope that nothing bad ever happens to our dogs, sometimes they can get an injury, or an illness, and they can require surgery to help recover from it.

And surgery means wounds, which need to be left alone in order to properly heal. But of course, dogs have no sense of control when it comes to dealing with their wounds – they will lick and scratch at the area until it becomes infected, leading to complications and delaying their recovery.

So of course, there’s always the cone to attach around the dog’s neck to stop them from accessing the wound – but it does have its problems.

Golden Retriever lying on the floor wearing inflatable collar

Wondering what you can use instead of a plastic cone for your dog? Let’s take a look.

What is an inflatable dog collar?

Inflatable dog collars are an alternative to cones. They’re more comfortable for the dog, since it doesn’t impact their visibility or get in their way when they try to eat – so dogs tend to tolerate them more and they’ll be less stressed.

Golden Retriever wearing inflatable dog collar

Why don’t dogs like plastic cones?

There are a number of reasons why dogs don’t like wearing plastic cones, which can lead to some headaches if your dog is particularly energetic since they’ll often fight to get rid of it.

1. Neck discomfort

Firstly, a hard plastic cone is not exactly very comfortable around the neck. It can rub into the soft tissue around the neck, causing a lot of irritation, and it’s difficult for dogs to shift the cone away from a sensitive area. So once the cone has started to aggravate the neck a little, the issue just gets worse and worse.

2. Reduced visibility

In order for a cone to prevent your dog from licking and chewing at their wound, it has to be fairly restrictive in terms of viewing angle. And this upsets your dog, because suddenly they can see a lot less. They might bump into the furniture more, or get confused.

3. Difficulty eating

Cones act as an obstacle when a dog is trying to reach their food or water bowl. It can sometimes get in the way of your dog finding a comfortable angle to eat or drink from, which is very upsetting when your doggo is hungry.

4. Amplified sound

Not a major issue, but it can happen – the cone’s shape and design can actually act as a magnifier for sound, meaning things may seem a bit louder for your dog than normal. They might get spooked by everyday noises that don’t seem too excessive to your ears, or they may just be on edge from the constant noise around them.

5. Hard to get comfortable to sleep

Imagine you trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in with a giant plastic cone around your neck. It’s just as tough for dogs, which can lead to minor sleep deprivation, compacting your dog’s stress levels.

Suggested read: Can A Dog Sleep With An Inflatable Collar?

Soft outside material for comfort

Scratch and bite resistant

Prevents pets from biting and licking their injured area

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Why is an inflatable dog collar better than a cone?

Inflatable dog collars solve a lot of the issues caused by cones. They are much more comfortable during the day and at night, and they don’t get in the way during eating, or block your dog’s vision anywhere near as much.

Inflatable dog collars actually address all of the issues that cones have. They’re normally made from a soft outer material with an inflatable inner tube, so the fabric is gentle on your dog’s neck.

They don’t restrict their field of vision by much at all, and they don’t get in the way when your dog is trying to eat or drink, since they’ll normally have a section missing at the bottom to allow your dog to lower their head comfortably.

There’s no noise amplification, and at night they actually act as something of a pillow for your pup, so they can even enhance their comfort.

The only problem with inflatable collars is the very slight risk. You need to make sure you have an appropriate size for your dog and that you don’t overinflate it, or you could damage their neck muscles.

Because of the missing section at the bottom, it shouldn’t be able to cause suffocation unless your dog were able to spin it around, but if you’ve got the right size and you’ve inflated it correctly then it’ll be fine.

And most importantly, the inflatable dog collar is just as effective at stopping your dog from messing with their wound – so they can recover fully without the stress of a cone.

Cute golden retriever on a dog bed wearing inflatable collar


An inflatable collar is a much better alternative to a cone. It offers all the same benefits as a cone, with none of the same drawbacks, and as long as you follow the instructions carefully then you can use them without risk.

While I hope your dog never needs to wear anything like this, remember to choose an inflatable collar if they do have an injury in future!

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Jen is your go-to expert on all things inflatable, from pools to tents and beyond. A former hot tub rental company owner, she's experienced the ups and downs of inflatables firsthand. Nowadays, she writes practical guides on maintaining and enjoying inflatables. A mom of young enthusiasts, her family's favorite outing is the inflatable fun park!

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