As a veterinarian, we hear this comment all day long. People feel so bad for their dogs when they have to wear the “Cone of Shame” or “Lamp Shade”.
Just a little fun fact, the person who invented and patented the E-Collar was a person by the name of F.L. Johnson in 1962. There is no record anywhere as to if he/she was a veterinarian. It was creatively named after Queen Elizabeth the First in the 16th century who is well-known for styling what was referred to as a ruff collar of lace. Quite the fashion statement of the times. This collar was later referred to as an Elizabethan Collar.
Anyway, here is my take on the E-collar for your dog. Some dogs don’t mind it at all. Then some go crazy to get it off. At the same time, there are some dogs that, even without a collar would not lick or bite their incision, and of course, there are others who will do anything and everything to get at the incision.
The reality is that the sole purpose of this collar is to keep your dog from biting and licking at their incision. Second, the collar only needs to be kept on the dog 7-10 days after surgery. This allows for enough time for primary healing to occur. Therefore in the grand scheme of things, it is not a long time. If your dog were to get at the incision and either infect it or open the incision by removing the sutures or staples then potential damage would cause more harm to your dog and also it is going to cost more money.
The reality is if your dog can tolerate the cone then absolutely leave it on and try not to “feel bad” because it is only temporary and for their own good. On the other hand, if your dog hates the collar then you are going to need to find an alternative. There are dozens of alternative options to choose from on the market today. Here is a quick E-Collar alternatives comparison chart with some of the most popular alternatives. You can find a more in-depth analyst of alternatives here. And, in case you are wondering, YES your dog can sleep with their cone on. Learn more about that here.