How to Stop a Dog From Licking Their Wound [Without a Collar]

The best way to get a dog to stop licking their wound without a collar is to use a recovery sleeve. These sleeves cover a specific part of the body, preventing your dog from licking the wound. If that’s not an option, you can also use a pet bandage or bitter spray on the wound.

Ouch! Poor Fido got caught on something in the yard. After your vet visit, you are told to not let Fido lick or chew on the wound. As any dog owner knows, that’s much easier said than done! Sure, you can use the “cone of shame,” but who wants to put their dog through that type of discomfort when there might be other solutions?

We have good news and bad news. The good news is that there are other solutions. If you are trying to prevent your dog from licking a wound, you don’t HAVE to resort to a collar method. The bad news, these methods don’t work for every dog.

Since all these methods are relatively cheap, they’re worth a try. Give them a shot and let us know which one worked for your pup!

Keeping Your Dog From Licking a Wound Without a Collar

There are three primary ways to prevent your dog from licking their wound without a collar. Below, we will go into detail on each method so you can make an educated decision on which method is right for your dog.

Recovery Sleeve

Whether or not you can use a recovery sleeve depends on the location of the wound. If you can use a recovery sleeve, they’re an excellent way to keep your dog from licking and picking at their wounds.

They can be found online or at your local pet store for anywhere between $25-$40. Recovery sleeves have a wide range of styles, designs, and types. They come in full body suits, or they can be catered to a specific body part. It is highly recommended that you measure your dog before purchasing a sleeve for the perfect fit.

The sleeves are built with breathable material to provide a way for your dog’s wound to heal correctly. Apart from the recovery sleeve being multi-functional, it is also washable and reusable.

Though this may be the most comfortable solution for your dog than any collar, please note that this solution will depend on the injury. If you are unsure about using this method for your dog’s injury, we recommend consulting with your vet to find the best solution.

Animal Bandages

Animal bandages can conveniently be found at your local pet store in the first aid department. Depending on the location and severity of your dog’s injury, animal bandages can be used to keep your dog from licking/chewing on their wound. These bandages come in different colors, sizes, and styles.

They are heavy-duty, water-resistant, and durable to assist your dog’s healing process. Some animal bandages even come coated with a safe, bitter-tasting wax to deter any animal from further licking and chewing. This is important if you have other dogs in the house because dogs are known to clean each other’s wounds through licking.

These bandages are made specifically for animals; therefore, you will not have to worry about the bandage sticking to their fur or causing them any discomfort. They are easy to put on and take off your dog.

Please note that you will have to place gauze or pad on the actual wound before wrapping the bandage over the wound. Like the sleeve, these bandages are also made of breathable material to assist with the healing process. Please consult your vet about the severity of the wound before placing the bandage over the wound. If they have given you the green light, this can be a quick and comfortable alternative for your dog.

Bitter Spray

Bitter flavors can deter anyone away from tampering themselves. You can find bitter sprays or creams at your local pet store. They will also be in the first aid department. These pet-friendly sprays are usually all-natural and harmless. With this, they will not cause any discomfort for your four-legged friend. This is an easy to use method as you will just have to spray this on your dog’s skin where they find discomfort. To relieve the pain, you can use the spray up to 3 times a day.

Collar Alternatives

In most cases, one of the three “no collar methods” mentioned above will work wonders. However, on the rare instances in which none of them work, you’ll have to settle for a collar alternative. Here are two collar methods that have stood the test of time.

Elizabethan Collar (Cone of Shame)

If you have ever taken your dog to the vet for any wound or surgery, your dog has probably been gifted with the “Cone of Shame.” The traditional e-Collar, also known as the Elizabethan collar, is a medical plastic cone fitted to your dog’s head to prevent any licking, scratching, chewing, etc. to a wound during the healing process.

Sometimes owners wonder how their dog will eat and get around, but we promise that your dog will figure it out. The cone should be fitted to your dog’s size, so the length and width will allow them to still eat, drink, and sniff as normal.

We know that your pup will probably look very uncomfortable and unhappy with the situation. Still, they will get used to moving around with it after some time. If the hard plastic is not your cup of tea, there are other e-collars made with different materials like soft, sturdy fabric. This may give them a little more comfort than plastic. We assure you that it will be worth the wait once they are healed and playing again.

Inflatable Collar

If the Elizabeth collar is not something you want to put on your dog during their healing process, an inflatable collar may be a substitute. The inflatable collar is built for comfort. It is made with a soft, durable fabric with a design that does not block your dog’s vision or hearing.

The inflatable collar comes in many different sizes to properly fit your dog. This will allow your dog to eat, sleep, and move without the inconveniences that a traditional cone may bring. Another great thing about the inflatable collar is that you can easily wash it and store it when not in use. If your dog has been recommended to be in a cone for a long time, this might be a more comfortable solution.

Keeping Your Dog Occupied to Prevent Wound Licking

Dogs will begin licking their wounds when they’re minds aren’t occupied with other things. One of the best ways to prevent your dog from licking wounds is to distract their mind. You can distract your dog with the following techniques:

Hide Treats

What dog doesn’t love treats? When most dogs get on a “scent,” it’s nearly impossible for them to think about anything else…including their wound. Hide a few treats around the house. When your dog gets near the treats, they’ll catch onto the scent and go on a little hunt until they find the treats.

Kong Toys

These toys are great for distracting dogs. Kong toys force your dog to work for their treats. The longer they have to work for it, the more distracted they’ll be. To make these toys even more effective, make sure your dog watches you put the treats in the toy.

Slow Feeders

Most dogs devour their food as quick as possible. The longer it takes them to eat food, the more distracted they’ll be. Slow feeders will not only help the meal last longer (which means more distraction), but it’s good for your dog’s digestive health to slow their eating. The good news is that most slow feeders are inexpensive, so you might want to give it a try.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Wounds?

Now that you know how to get your dog to stop licking their wound (with or without a collar), you might be wondering why dogs lick their wounds in the first place. The answer is simple, dogs will lick their wounds because it’s the only thing they can do to soothe or comfort the pain.

You may have heard that dogs have some antibacterial properties within their saliva. Though this can be somewhat helpful to fight off some bacterial infections, an open wound or cut can introduce more harmful and dangerous infections if not treated properly. This is the reason why you will have to prevent your dog from licking or chewing their wounds.

Here’s to a Speedy Recovery

A doggy injury is not fun for anyone. We know that your dog being hurt can be overwhelming, but we hope that these methods help your best friend make their way to a speedy recovery. As always, if you are unsure of any of the tips and solutions for your dog, we would recommend speaking to your vet for your dog’s best treatment.

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