Can a Dog Sleep in a Crate With a Cone On? [Full Guide]

After a medical procedure, your vet might suggest using a cone to prevent your dog from biting, licking, or scratching their injury or incision. Although cones are effective, they can become an annoyance for your furry dog in a number of ways. It may limit their movement, disrupt their sleep, or make eating difficult. So, you may wonder whether it’s possible for your dog to sleep in a crate while wearing a cone. It’s a tough call because while the cone restricts their movement, you may not trust them to behave without it.

cute dog wearing a cone looking sad

Is It Safe for Dogs to Sleep in a Crate With a Cone On?

Yes, a dog can sleep in a crate with a cone on, however, there are some important safety and well-being considerations you need to ensure before allowing them to do so. The size of the crate in comparison to the dog is the main factor we need to think about. If your dog cannot move, freely and adjust their position without obstruction, it’s likely your dog will become uncomfortable and stressed and in some cases injured due to getting stuck. A dog should be able to stand up and turn around freely and lay down without difficulty, As long as your dog can do all of these things, it’s perfectly safe for them to sleep in their crate with the cone on.

What Are Some Alternatives to Crating a Dog With a Cone On?

If your crate is too small or you are worried about crating your dog whilst they are wearing a cone there are some alternatives you can try. The choice of these alternatives obviously depends on the severity of the medical condition and the individual behaviors of the dog. A common sense approach must be taken. These alternatives include:

  • Medical Wraps: A medical wrap for example a thick bandage may be used instead of a cone to protect the affected area, a thick enough wrap will prevent most dogs from scratching or licking the wounded area, and doesn’t restrict the movements of your dog. 
  • Medical pet shirts: These are reusable shirts that work surprisingly well, they manage to cover the wound and prevent licking, although unlikely to prevent hard scratching. These should only be used for minor injuries.                                                                                                                         
  • Bitter sprays: Anti-lick sprays work great and can be used to discourage dogs from licking and biting the wounded area. These sprays are created specifically for use on pets, similar to the medical pet shirts these will only discourage licking and not scratching.
  • Socks or boots: Dog socks and boots can be used to prevent scratching and cover the wound if it’s located on your dog’s feet. 
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Tips for Helping Your Dog Sleep Comfortably With a Cone On

  • It can be a bit of a challenge sleeping wearing a cone so here are some helpful tips and tricks you can use to make it easier for your dog: 
  • Provide a sleeping area with soft and supportive bedding, such as a cushion for your dog to lie on. This will help with any discomfort and give support for awkward positions. 
  • Ensure your dog’s sleeping area is free from distractions and noise. Limiting the amount of activity present in your dog’s sleeping area will help keep them relaxed.
  • Consider using some calming techniques like some soothing music
  • Finally, ensure your dog’s cone is adjusted properly, make sure it’s not too tight and is fitted at the correct angle. 
happy dog wearing cone

Summary

To summarize, a dog can sleep comfortably in a crate with a cone, but it requires a crate that is big enough for them to move around sufficiently. You can help increase their comfort by providing some supportive bedding, and ensuring that the cone is fitted correctly and not causing any pain to your dog whilst they are laying down. If you are against letting your dog wear a cone in their crate consider some of the other alternative methods suggested or contact your local veterinarian for advice.