E-collars or Elizabethan collars are a little awkward for your pooch. Suddenly he has no peripheral vision and eating and drinking become a challenge. Although it might look like a struggle with that cone around his neck, Baxter should be able to feast just as he normally does, although making some changes can help.
Raising Them Up
You might need to raise your four-legged buddy’s dishes to make it easier for him to get to his food and water, if you notice a struggle during feedings. Elevate the dishes a little by placing them on top of a brick, aerobics step or large book. To minimize slipping, cover the temporary risers with an old towel before setting the bowls on top.
Switching the Bowls
The size of the bowls matters too. Some dogs prefer smaller bowls that they can stick their snout into, without the E-collar getting inside the dish. Your pooch may do better with larger dishes that can fit his entire head inside, even with the E-collar in place. Or you can put Baxter’s food and water into saucers or plates with lips around the sides. This will broaden the surface area he has to work with, which can make eating and drinking less of a challenge.
Taking It Off
If your fur pal is truly struggling to get food and water into his mouth or gives up, you can take off the E-collar during meal times. However, you have to stay there and monitor him. You don’t want to walk away and give him the freedom to scratch at his wound when the collar is off. When you put down his kibble or bowl of water, take the collar off long enough for him to dine and sip. As soon as he’s done, that collar needs to go right back around his neck.
Your veterinarian put your beloved friend in an E-collar to help him heal as quickly as possible. But if Baxter stops eating or drinking with his collar on, you’ll need to have a talk with your veterinarian. You want to make sure Baxter gets all the nutrients he needs and plenty of water to recover. If the E-collar becomes cumbersome, in some cases your vet could suggest feeding and watering your pooch with a syringe -- using canine formulas or watered-down food -- until he gets better. It’s best to get guidance from Baxter’s medical team first, rather than making changes on your own.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.