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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

It is for sure, dogs are usually not fans of neck braces. Generally, they are uncomfortable, clunky and are hindering to eating, sleeping and – probably worst of all for our beloved dogs- scratching. Unfortunately, our furry friends don’t understand that sometimes wearing a neck brace is simply necessary to promote the healing of wounds and the like. Are there perhaps less uncomfortable alternatives? How do I get my dog used to? These and other questions are addressed in this article. Have fun reading!

When is a neck brace necessary?

Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary for our pets to wear a neck brace. This is because it  prevents the dog from licking or scratching itself in certain places. So it is also important to remain firm and not give in to attempts to get rid of it. Even if your dog is visibly suffering and appears severely restricted, it is simply necessary under certain conditions:

  • After surgical procedures or for various injuries and skin rashes, as well as allergic reactions. By licking and nibbling at the wound, bacteria in the dog’s mouth can sometimes cause immense infections.
  • Dogs may re-bite or scratch sutures.
  • Generally, a neck brace protects against a dog’s sharp claws by making scratching impossible. Especially wounds in the head area are protected by wearing a neck brace.

How long does a dog have to wear a neck brace?

How long your dog has to wear it depends on the injury and the individual wound healing. One thing is certain, however, it is better to give your dog a few days longer than to treat an infected wound for weeks or even months. So keep this in mind if you want to do something good for your darling. 

As a rule, however, you can expect about 7-12 days. Especially after surgery, scratch and lick protection for a longer period of time is advisable. Your vet will certainly give you detailed information on how long the neck brace should be worn.

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Are there alternatives to the classic neck brace for dogs?

When you think of a dog neck brace, you immediately see this bulky, relatively huge funnel, usually made of clear plastic, which is threaded onto the dog’s collar and thus attached. As already mentioned, these models are very uncomfortable for our beloved dogs. 

Fortunately, there are some alternatives: 

  • Braces for shorter muzzles
  • Padded neck braces made of softer materials
  • With velcro fasteners or the like, for easier application
  • Inflatable models that resemble a swimming hoop
  • Made of foam that resemble a giant cushion
  • A special dog body (except for wounds on the head) 

It is important to pay attention to the size of it. They need to be large enough to prevent the dog from getting to the wound. Bodysuits must be tight enough to prevent licking.

So what makes a good neck brace?  

A good neck brace must do one thing, and that is to protect your dog first and foremost. No matter how special and fancy the model is, it won’t do any good if your pet can get at the wounds. 

Foam and inflatable ruffs are definitely more comfortable to wear because they are soft and flexible, but the scratch and leak protection is not 100% in some wound locations. These models are more recommended for wounds on the chest, back and thighs.

  • The chosen model should be easy to clean.
  • In general, you should pay attention to hygiene and clean it daily (be careful with chemical agents). 
  • Look out for sharp edges, protruding parts, cracks and fissures.
  • The right length is crucial, the brace should be a bit longer than the snout.
  • Make sure it is the right size. The collar should fit tightly, but without cutting off the air. 
  • Drinking and eating should be possible. Your dog may need help with this at first.

How do I get my dog used to the neck brace?

One thing is certain, it is usually too late to start getting your dog used to the neck brace when he is in acute need of it. In any case, it is advisable to familiarise your dog with it beforehand. 

  • As a first step, let your dog sniff it and explore the strange thing. If he is interested, reward him.
  • Now click and reward every look and every approach of your dog towards the opening of the brace. 
  • As soon as your dog slips into the brace on his own, he gets a super reward and now slowly learns to take a step with it. 
  • Now it’s time to get your dog used to everyday life with a neck brace step by step in the flat. Here, too, your darling will receive plenty of praise. 

If you have any questions or training problems, you can always contact a certified dog trainer.

How much does a neck brace cost? 

Depending on the model and size, the costs vary between 3 € and 60 €.

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Mostly disliked from dogs, but sometimes indispensable to promote wound healing: The dog neck brace. Fortunately, there are now models that are more comfortable to wear. However, scratch and leak protection should be the top priority when choosing a neck brace.