If your poor pooch has ever gotten into an accident and ended up getting themselves a wound, you may have noticed that they just can’t help licking it. While this may seem like a good thing it is usually more detrimental than beneficial, and you might be looking for a way to stop it without needing to place a collar on your dog.
Elizabethan collars, also known as cones, are plastic cones that fit around your dog’s head and are intended to keep them from reaching their wounds or other parts of their body. Not everyone likes these, as they can cause discomfort to your dog and generally do not work very well, thankfully alternatives such as inflatable collars, softer cones, distractions, and covering up the wound are all available.
Finding the best alternative to a collar all depends on your dog, the way that they react to the different method, and what you ultimately decide on using to keep them from licking their wound. You can read up on some alternatives to collars here, and hopefully find the perfect one for your pup.
How To Stop Your Dog From Licking a Wound Without a Collar
This might be the first thing that pops up into your mind when trying to think of alternative ways of keeping your dog from licking their wound without using a collar. Luckily, it is an easy and safe solution that will actually help your dog’s wound heal faster.
Bandage Up the Wound
Bandages for a dog are not the same as those for people. You can make a homemade bandage by taking a gauze dressing pad or cotton wad and then wrapping this in adhesive medical tape or an elastic roller bandage.
You may alternatively choose to simply use the elastic roller bandage itself and wrap it securely around the affected area. Other, more specialized products are available such as a self-adhesive bandage known as Vet Wrap.
By placing a bandage over the wound you create a hygienic environment that helps a ton in speeding up the healing process. Just make sure to keep in mind that wounds still require a proper flow of oxygen so that they can heal properly.
While taking steps to ensure that the bandage is on securely on your dog, also guarantee that it is not on too tight. Being on too tight can restrict the amount of air that reaches the wound and can slow down the rate at which it heals. Not to mention that it has the potential to further hurt your dog and restrict their movement.
To get the bandage on firmly and without wrinkles simply apply pressure along the surface when placing it on your pup. Not too much pressure as it can bring pain to the dog, but just enough to get it to stick onto their fur.
However, if your dog loves to chew on things, especially things that are blocking access to something that they really want to lick, they may chew on the bandage constantly. This can be solved by simply placing a sock or doggie shoe over the wound if it is located on their leg or paw, or using a surgical recovery suit (which is covered in the next point).
If chewing isn’t an issue or you find a way to keep your dog from chewing off their bandage, you simply need to make sure to change the bandage every few days if the wound is still open. Should you notice any swelling or soreness then you should contact your vet for advice. The same goes for if you notice any foul smell coming from their wound.
Use a Surgical Recovery Suit
Another way to keep your dog from licking their wound without using a collar is simply restricting access to the wound by covering it up with a surgical recovery bodysuit. This can be used in conjunction with a bandage if the wound is still open, but typically surgical recovery suits are used, as the name implies after a surgery has been performed on your pup.
These suits are made out of a very soft fabric that will help to limit the licking that your dog may do, which helps to speed up the healing process. Although they are soft, they are also made to be durable and resistant to scratches from your dog’s claws or teeth.
You can get recovery suits that can be buttoned, zipped, or simply slipped on over the head off your dog. They also come in tons of different designs, colors, and sizes. So, you can tailor the recovery suit to your dog (and get some cute pictures throughout their recovery process).
Using a full-body recovery suit to keep your dog from licking their wound is great as it does not restrict their movement and ability to do things, and it also ensures that the affected area and any surrounding areas are safe from any licking that your dog my try to do.
Use a T-shirt, Baby Onesie, or Other Clothing
You could also simply choose to use an old t-shirt or some other form of clothing to cover up the wound. Just make sure that it can’t be taken off or moved around by your dog. Children’s t-shirts are a great choice for a wound located on your dog’s chest or belly area.
If your dog is larger and has a wound on their bottom, tail, or genitals then some boxers should do quite well to keep them from licking. You can easily slip on a pair of boxers on their hind legs and secure them in place to cover the area.
Smaller dogs with wounds on their bodies can benefit quite a bit from a baby onesie. Get one that lays quite flat against the body of your pup to ensure that it is as comfortable as possible. If the onesie is loose, it can cause discomfort and be easier for your dog to remove.
Using these household items is a great way to save some money when trying to keep your dog from licking their wound, but keep in mind that many fabrics used in household clothes may not be able to withstand constant chewing and scratching from your dog. Monitor your dog if you choose to use these items, just in case they somehow manage to reach their wound.
Boots made especially for dogs are a great thing to use if you want to keep your pooch from licking a wound located on their paw. These, of course, can’t be used for any other part of the body, but they are incredibly helpful if you want to restrict access to their paw.
Using boots in conjunction with a bandage is a great idea, especially if the wound you are trying to cover up is still fresh or open. Use some boots that are a size larger than that of your dog if you decide to use a bandage underneath, so that your dog won’t feel any discomfort due to tightness in the area.
Be aware that some dogs really do not like having boots on their paws, and will do anything to get them off. Monitor your pup to ensure that they do not remove the boot or try to chew it off.
Buy Some Anti-Lick Spray or Strips
You can pick up some products made specifically to keep your dog from licking themselves or their wounds. These products are known as anti-lick sprays or strips, and are made to give off some very unpleasant flavors in order to discourage your dog from licking that area.
Many of these products are made with all-natural ingredients in order to keep allergic reactions and side effects to a minimum. It is highly recommended that you only use natural anti-lick products so that you can avoid any unwanted side effects.
One great choice is a product known as Grannicks Bitter Apple. Many vets recommend this product since it will not only keep your pup from licking their wound but can also be used on other materials, such as furniture, to keep your dog from chewing and biting.
While these products aim to emulate a very unpleasing taste, they are not effective on all dogs. Some dogs just keep on licking even if they have to put up with a disgusting taste in their mouth.
You also need to check with your vet to ensure that the product will not harm your dog or irritate their wound. If everything checks out, then this is a great type of product to pick up. Your dog will get the full range of motion and feel comfortable since they don’t need to wear a bandage or other form of covering for their wound.
Make a Distraction
Another simple technique to keep your dog from licking their wound without using a collar is utilizing distractions to keep your dog busy. If their mind is focused on things other than their wound then they are less likely to lick it.
Items such as chew toys and treats are a great way to get their mind off of their wound. When feeding your pup, you can choose to use a slow-feed food bowl so that they will take a longer time eating, keeping their mind on their food rather than their injury.
Choosing to give them some peanut butter on their toys can also help to keep them occupied until they finally decide to take a nap. Another great idea is freezing some soup or meat broth and then giving it to your dog as a treat.
They will be able to taste the broth but not be able to immediately eat the ice cube. Instead they’ll chase it around and (hopefully) tire themselves out enough that they forget that there is a wound that they wanted to lick.
Play with Them!
If your dog’s injury does not hinder them from being active and running about, then one of the best things you can do is take them out to get some exercise. If your dog gets bored and has nothing else to do, they may just decide that licking their wound is a good way to pass the time.
Playing with them outside and getting them tuckered out will not only help keep their mind off of their injury, but it will keep them healthy and happy while they recover.
As much as possible, refrain from keeping your dog locked up in the house or in their kennel, since boredom can drive him to begin trying to lick his wound again. Keeping them active and exercise is a great way to keep their mind on other things.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Wounds?
Dogs lick their wounds because it helps to distract them from any pain or irritation that they may feel. It’s just like when you hit your elbow or your head and rub the affected area until the pain goes away.
Also, the saliva of canines has a mild antibacterial effect that can actually assist in healing their wounds. However, house dogs tend to lick their wounds in excess, and in turn prevent the healing process from continuing as it should.
Excessive licking will keep their wound open or serve to make things sorer, which is not a good thing at all. By limiting the access to their injury, you are helping speed up their recovery process.
This is especially important if a dog is recovering from a surgery and has stitches or some other form of covering that is not to be disturbed.
You now have quite a few different ideas for how you can prevent your dog from licking their wounds without needing to use a collar or cone. Whichever method you decide to use, you should make sure to monitor and check your dog frequently just to make doubly sure that they have not somehow managed to lick their wound despite your best efforts.
If none of these methods seem to work then you can always contact your vet for advice on other ways that you can keep your dog from licking their wound without the use of a collar.
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