can a dog sleep in a crate with a cone

Can A Dog Sleep in a Crate With a Cone? Yes, it Can!

We hate to break it to you, but at some point in his life, your dog will have to wear a cone. In fact, you might’ve had to put one on him right now, which brought you all the way here, filled with worry.

A cone is necessary for a dog when he gets injured, develops allergies, or is recovering from surgery. However, it can be mighty irritating for him to move around or even sleep when wearing the cone (also called an e-collar).

Which begs the question: Can a dog sleep in a crate with a cone on?

Well, we say yes. It might be uncomfortable initially, but if your dog has enough room in his crate, he should adjust to it quickly. Besides, it’s not like the cone will affect his sleep quality.

Want to know more about why cones are necessary or why it’s crucial to let your dog sleep with a cone on?  Make sure you get through this entire post to find all the answers.

Can My Dog Sleep in a Crate With a Cone On?

There’s no question that your dog may feel a little discomfort when he’s first fitted into his cone. That discomfort may even disrupt his sleep schedule a bit initially.

However, with time, your dog will eventually adjust to the cone, allowing him to sleep in his usual position and place. All you can do to comfort him is make sure the cone doesn’t dig into his skin when he tries to lie down.

A few adjustments should do the trick. You could also try purchasing a soft, plush cone instead of the hard plastic one to ensure it doesn’t irritate him.

Satisfied with our explanation to your question: Can my dog sleep in a crate with a cone? If not, then make sure you read on, as we cover the topic in great detail moving forward.

Can a Dog Sleep With a Cone in a Crate?

In most cases, it is perfectly safe for a dog to sleep in a crate with a cone on. The only exception is when his crate is too small to accommodate his newly acquired cone, which makes it difficult for him to lie down properly.

Thus, his safety hinges on the size of the crate. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure the size of the crate is big enough to allow him to move around, turn, and adjust his position without clipping his cone on any of the edges.

Is it Safe to Leave a Dog in a Crate With a Cone?

A cone can be incredibly restrictive for a dog, as it prevents him from cleaning up after himself or resettling his fur with his tongue.

For this exact reason, many dog parents believe that leaving the dog in the crate with a cone on can cause some serious behavioral issues like depression or sadness.

While that may be true for some breeds, this temporary sadness is incredibly easy to dispel using a few different ways. 

How to Deal With Dogs Feeling Depressed While They Have a Cone on

If a dog’s depressed from having to wear the cone for too long, that depression is usually temporary.

You can easily help your dog get back to his cheery self by playing with him, taking him on walks outside, and rewarding him for good behavior.

The trick is to just keep him engaged during the recovery period to make him forget about his discomfort.

Why Keeping the Dog Cone on During Sleep is Important

Dogs instinctively want to bite, scratch, or lick any fur on their body that itches or pains them. An instinct that stays somewhat active even while they’re sleeping. A cone’s primary purpose is to stop that from happening.

Thus, it is vital that his cone stays on when he’s sleeping because if he does manage to get at the affected areas with his mouth, he’ll only worsen the condition of his wounds/allergy/stitching.

Plus, removing the cone mid-sleep could worsen the condition of his wounds.

Can My Dog Wear A Cone in Her Crate Unsupervised?

Dog cones often extend to a height that’s greater than the size of the dog’s face. This is very much by design to stop the dog’s extended tongue from reaching his body.

Unfortunately, the length of the cone can make dogs struggle to do certain things during the first few days, including eating and drinking.

Thus, it falls on you to help them through their struggles. For that reason alone, it’s ill-advised to leave a dog who is wearing a cone alone, at least for the first few days.

You’d be better off taking him with you to the office or perhaps getting a sitter to watch him for you. You can even drop him off at the vet’s office during office hours if you can’t find anyone.

Can Your Dog Stay at Home Alone With a Cone on?

No, you shouldn’t leave your dog home alone with a cone. In case you’re going somewhere dogs aren’t allowed, you can get a friend or family member to watch your dog for you.

However, we’d prefer it if you took your dog with you and helped him through his troubles personally, as that’ll go a long way toward strengthening your bond.

How Long Should Dogs Keep Their Cones on After Surgery?

can my dog wear a cone in her crate

The exact amount of time a dog should wear a cone is determined by his condition and the treatment he’s received.

For example, if a dog has just recently had surgery, then he must have been stitched up afterward as well. In that case, we’d recommend waiting until the stitches are removed, as taking off the cone early could result in him pulling out his stitches.

Wounds are a bit trickier to deal with. Our general rule is to remove the cone once the wound has scabbed over and isn’t irritating your dog anymore. That could take a week or a couple of weeks, depending on the severity of the wound.

How to Maintain a Dog’s Comfort When Sleeping With a Cone

Keeping a dog with a cone on comfortable

Dogs are extremely resilient creatures who don’t let discomfort bother them for too long. Sure, a cone may cause them slight irritation when it’s first put on them, especially when they’re sleeping.

But after the first 24 hours, a dog will learn to adjust to its cone both during sleep and waking hours. However, as a dog parent, you can’t bear to let your dog suffer even within those 24 hours.

So, what can you do to make your dog more comfortable during this period? Here are a few tips:

  • Sleep with him: Your presence may put your dog’s mind at ease and make him temporarily forget about all the itching and pain.
  • Make his bed more comfortable: Give him a soft pillow to sleep on or move his bed to a warmer place in the house to make him forget about the cone for an instant.

Tips to Make a Dog Cone Softer and More Comfortable

Another way is to make his dog cone feel more comfortable. Now, there are a couple of ways to do this, and all of them can be effective.

If you’re making him wear a plastic cone, one method is to fold and roll the cone multiple times to make it softer on his fur. You can use the two-finger rule to judge the tightness of the cone as well.

Basically, if you can’t get two fingers under the cone, then it’s on too tight and needs to be loosened. Lastly, you could just buy a softer, plusher cone altogether.

Why are Dogs Required to Wear Cones?

Wounded dog

It is typical for a dog who has gone through surgery or treatment for an injury to have to wear a cone for 10 to 14 days. However, the real question is why?

Well, a wound, even after being treated, can irritate dogs, which prompts them to try and lick or scratch it to alleviate some of the pain.

Now, while this does provide temporary relief, licking a wound can actually worsen it and open it up even further.

The constant saliva being applied to the wound keeps it moist, thereby delaying the healing process and inviting bacteria to enter the wound and make matters worse.

The existence of a cone keeps your dog from licking, biting, or scratching any of his wounds, even with his tongue fully stretched out.

So, to sum up, if you’re ever asked: Can a dog wear a cone in a crate? Your answer should automatically be yes.

How Does Wearing a Cone Benefit a Dog?

Apart from preventing a dog from licking his own wounds and opening them up, a cone helps the dog in a variety of ways. Let’s look at some of these ways in the section below.

Protects Stitches from Being Ripped Out

A serious injury can lead to surgeries for a dog. Once the surgery is complete, the vet seals up the surgical site with stitches to give the skin time to heal itself.

Like wounds, stitches can irritate a dog to no end, making him bite and gnaw at them until he has removed them completely.

While it may give him temporary comfort, the premature removal of stitches can slow down the healing process.

Plus, it also costs the owner more money to get the wound stitched up again. The cone protects the stitches from getting pulled out and thus allows your dog’s wounds to heal naturally.

Helps Manage a Dog’s Skin Conditions

Some dogs are born with or develop skin allergies that get worse as time progresses due to the dog licking the affected areas all the time. A cone then comes in handy as it gives the skin time to heal and cure itself after receiving treatment from the vet.

Stops Him From Ingesting Harmful Substances

Some dogs have relatively weak immune systems, making them more susceptible to sickness. To make matters worse, these types of dogs get affected even more when they lick and bite their own coat.

A cone prevents them from licking themselves and ingesting harmful bacteria, which could further deteriorate their health.

How do you ensure your dog gets the best sleep possible in his crate with a cone?

Based on our personal experience, there are some changes you can make to ensure that your dog sleeps in his crate with a cone on.

The first is to shift him into a bigger crate where he can comfortably move around, turn, and lie down with the cone.

If that doesn’t seem to work, then the next step is changing out his current cone with a softer one. Plastic cones are problematic to wear for most breeds. So, if that’s the one he’s wearing currently, make sure you change it out with a softer cone.

Different Types of Dog Cones

We’ve mentioned plenty of times why you should go for a softer cone for your dog, but just how many different types of dog cones are there? Let’s find out.

Plastic Cones

Plastic cones are the go-to for most dog owners, mainly because of how cheap and readily available they are. If you’re looking to stop your dog from licking or biting his wounds at all costs, plastic is the best option.

The sturdy nature of the plastic fiber makes it difficult for the dog to chew through it and reach his wound. They’re also very light and don’t cause any stress on the dog’s neck. 

Soft Cones

Most soft cones available on the market right now are made from nylon and are padded with foam, making them the perfect alternative to hard plastic cones.

We’d suggest gradually shifting your dog from a plastic cone to a soft cone as soon as he learns better self-control. Otherwise, your dog may just chew through the cone and reach his wounds, opening them up again.

Inflatable Dog Cones

If your dog’s getting irritated with plastic and even soft cones, then inflatable dog cones may be just what you need.

As apparent from their name, these cones can be blown up into any size and are the most comfortable type of cones for dogs to wear. They’re not as easy to chew through as soft cones either, so that’s a bonus.

Alternatives to Dog Cones That Can Be Just as Effective

Worrying about crating your dog while he’s wearing a cone is normal. Especially if you feel that the crate is undersized for your dog while he’s got the cone on.

Fortunately, there are some alternatives you can try to help your dog rest easier or move around better.

  • Medical Pet Shirts/Surgical Suits: These reusable shirts easily fit onto your pup’s entire body, protecting his wounds from licks and bites.
  • Bandages: Wouldn’t it be better to cover up the wounded areas instead of putting a cone on your pup? Medical wraps, like bandages, do exactly that. They cover the affected areas with thick wraps your pup can’t get through.
  • Anti-lick Sprays: These sprays are extremely bitter in taste and are designed to discourage dogs from biting and licking their wounded areas. Most sprays don’t contain any harmful chemicals either, so you can rest assured that your dog’s health won’t be affected.


Should I Get a Bigger Crate for My Dog if He Can’t Stretch Out Properly?

Yes, you definitely should. Stretching is a very important part of your dog’s daily routine. Being unable to stretch could eventually make your dog aggressive against you and other members of the family.

Should My Dog Wear His Cone All the Time?

No, he should not. You don’t want your dog to get accustomed to wearing a cone. Therefore, you should try to limit its use as much as you can. Only pop the cone back on once you start noticing your dog biting or licking his wounds.

Why Do Dogs Sleep in Their Crates?

Dogs in the wild prefer relaxing in their den at the end of the day. For pet dogs, their den becomes their crate, provided you’ve trained them properly.

Thus, it’s only natural for them to want to retire in their crate when they get tired. Additionally, like a den, a crate also makes them feel protected from all four sides.

My Dog Won’t Lie Down While He’s Wearing a Cone. What should I do?

If your dog won’t lay down with a cone on, chances are he’s not comfortable with the cone. The cone could be digging into his skin or just simply be too tight.

In either case, it’s a good idea to fold and roll the cone several times to soften it up. You can also use the two-finger rule to ensure the cone isn’t too tight. If both fingers fit under the cone comfortably, then tightness isn’t the issue.

Should I Remove my dog’s cone at night?

No, the cone should stay on throughout the night. Otherwise, you risk damaging or irritating the wounded area even further, worsening its condition. 

Can my dog sleep while wearing an inflatable collar?

Inflatable collars have generally received more positive reviews than plastic ones. Therefore, we’re inclined to say yes, your dog can sleep with an inflatable collar.

Besides, inflatable collars were designed specifically to improve a dog’s comfort, so they should be the more viable option. However, individual experiences will differ.

How Long Should My Dog Wear a Cone?

Individual times differ based on the severity of the wound or injury, but the general consensus is that a dog should wear a cone for 10 to 14 days.

Can a Dog Sleep in a Crate With a Cone – Final Take

So, can a dog sleep in a crate with a cone?

Yes, he can!

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this one post, trying to touch on all that we could relate to the topic. We hope you appreciate our efforts and take away some useful information that will enable you and your dog to live a happier life.

Finally, as always, make sure you check out some of our other posts to find more content on how to improve your furry friend’s life. Have a nice day!

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