Can You Use A Pool Noodle For A Dog Cone?

Can You Use a Pool Noodle for a Dog Cone?

A dog cone, also known as an Elizabethan collar, is a protective medical device worn by dogs after surgeries, injuries, or other procedures. The cone is typically made of firm plastic and designed to fit around a dog’s neck, preventing them from biting, licking, or scratching wounds on their head, neck, or body while healing. The cone allows a wound to heal properly without disruption and prevents dogs from removing stitches, bandages, or other dressings (Elizabethan collar). Wearing an Elizabethan collar ensures a dog avoids irritating or infecting an incision site or hot spot. While cones range in size and can be uncomfortable for dogs initially, they serve an important medical purpose during recovery.

Can You Use a Pool Noodle for a Dog Cone?

The short answer is yes, you can use a pool noodle to make a DIY protective collar for your dog. Pool noodles are soft, lightweight, and inexpensive, making them a popular alternative to standard plastic or fabric dog cones. Many pet owners have had success using cut-up sections of a pool noodle to prevent their dogs from biting or licking wounds and injuries.

Pool noodle DIY dog cones offer some advantages over traditional store-bought cones. They are very affordable, costing just a few dollars for a full pool noodle. They are also more comfortable for most dogs since they are padded and don’t block vision like rigid plastic cones. Additionally, their bright colors and playful design can help pets feel less anxious about wearing a cone.

However, there are also some potential downsides to using a pool noodle DIY dog cone. The soft foam material is not as sturdy or protective as a hard plastic cone. Dogs may be able to reach around or under it to lick their wounds. The noodles can also be chewed through over time. Proper sizing and securing the noodles is important for them to be effective. Overall, pool noodle cones can work well for short-term use but may not be ideal for dogs with serious injuries or obsessive licking habits.

Pros of Using a Pool Noodle

One major advantage of using a pool noodle for a dog cone is that pool noodles are very inexpensive compared to traditional plastic dog cones. You can often find pool noodles at dollar stores for just a dollar or two. Since pool noodles are made of soft foam, they are also reusable. Simply reshape or trim the ends if the noodle starts to get torn up, and you can continue using it. Unlike hard plastic cones, a soft pool noodle won’t clang and bang into walls and furniture. It provides a cushion of comfort for your dog rather than an annoyance. According to DIY Noodles, pool noodle dog cones are much gentler on furniture too.

Cons of Using a Pool Noodle

While using a pool noodle for a dog cone has its advantages, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:

Pool noodles are made of flexible foam, so they are not as rigid as a plastic cone. This means they can bend and fold more easily. An energetic or determined dog may be able to reach the affected area if the pool noodle shifts out of place (Source).

The foam material is also softer and can be chewed through more easily than a plastic cone. Some dogs may nibble and chew on the pool noodle, damaging it over time (Source).

To function properly, the pool noodle needs to be cut very precisely to the right shape and size for the individual dog. If the fit is not perfect, there may be gaps that allow the dog access to wounds (Source).

How to Make a Pool Noodle Dog Cone

Making a DIY dog cone from a pool noodle is a simple project that only requires a few basic supplies. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make one:

1. Measure your dog’s neck. Use a soft measuring tape to measure the circumference of your dog’s neck where a cone would normally sit. Add an extra inch or two to this measurement to account for padding.

2. Cut the pool noodle to size. Use sharp scissors to cut the pool noodle to the length you measured. You may want to round the edges slightly so they are not sharp against your dog’s skin.

3. Secure the ends together. Use duct tape, strong glue, or a stapler to attach the ends of the cut noodle together so it forms a cone shape. Make sure the seam is secure and there are no gaps.

4. Pad the edge (optional). To provide extra comfort for your dog, you can hot glue soft fabric around the edge that sits on your dog’s neck. Fleece or soft cotton work well.

And that’s it! Your DIY pool noodle dog cone is ready for use. Make sure to supervise your dog at first to ensure the cone stays secure and is comfortable.

Tips for Use

There are a few tips to keep in mind when using a pool noodle dog cone to ensure it works effectively and safely:

Monitor your dog while wearing the pool noodle to make sure they are not able to chew or scratch at their incision site. Dogs may try to work around the cone to get to their injuries, so supervision is key.

You can use tape or glue to reinforce the ends of the cut pool noodle and create a tighter seal against your dog’s neck. This will help prevent them from being able to bend the noodle out of shape.

Check the sizing as your dog moves around and re-adjust if needed. You want it to be snug enough to prevent them turning their head back toward their body, but not overly tight or restrictive.

Avoid leaving it on for extended periods without supervision, as pool noodles don’t allow as much peripheral vision or ventilation as a proper dog cone.

Provide your dog with padding and cushioning to rest on, as the hard pool noodle can become uncomfortable when lying down for long periods.

Give your dog time to adjust to wearing the cone and offer praise and treats for cooperation. The strange sensation can distress some dogs at first.

Pool noodle cones are only intended for temporary, short-term use. For longer-term injuries or recovery, invest in an e-collar from your vet for proper protection and comfort.

Alternative DIY Dog Cones

If you don’t have a pool noodle on hand, there are other household items you can use to make a homemade dog cone alternative. Some options include:

Cardboard – Cut out a circle from a cardboard box and tape or staple the edges together to form a cone shape. Poke a hole for the dog’s neck and secure with tape or Velcro straps. Cardboard offers more structure but isn’t as soft. Be sure to pad the edges with cloth or foam so it’s not sharp against your dog’s skin [1].

Foam – Trace a circle on an egg carton or foam board and cut it out with scissors. Secure the edges together with glue or tape to make a cone. Foam provides cushioning and can be wrapped in fabric for comfort. Ensure there are no rough edges [1].

Soft fabric – Take an old t-shirt, towel or small blanket and roll it into a donut shape. Wrap the fabric donut around your dog’s neck and secure it with tape, straps or safety pins. The soft fabric prevents irritation but may not provide as much structure as other materials [2].

When to Use a Proper Cone

While DIY dog cones can work in some situations, there are times when it’s best to use a proper plastic or fabric cone purchased from a pet supply store or vet. According to Rover, the main instances when a proper dog cone is recommended are:

After Major Surgery: If your dog has undergone a major surgery like neutering/spaying, ACL repair, or tumor removal, a proper cone is essential for the first 1-2 weeks to prevent them from licking or chewing the incision site while it heals. Attempting to make a DIY cone may not provide enough coverage or protection in these cases. See this Rover article for more details.

For Aggressive Chewers: Dogs who are obsessive about licking, chewing, or scratching may need a stronger plastic cone to prevent them from removing bandages, stitches, topical medications, etc. A DIY cone made from fabric or soft materials likely won’t withstand an aggressive chewer. According to Daily Paws, proper cones made from hard plastic or thick fabric like canvas tend to work better for these dogs.

Other Uses for Pool Noodles

Pool noodles are incredibly versatile items that can be used for many purposes besides swimming aids. Some fun and creative ways to repurpose pool noodles include:

Chew Toy – Cut a pool noodle into rings and let your dog go wild! Pool noodle rings are soft on your dog’s mouth but still sturdy enough for hours of chewing entertainment. The bright colors and fun shapes are sure to delight your pup. Just make sure to supervise them while playing with pool noodle rings as pieces could present a choking hazard if chewed into small pieces.

Toddler Float – Pool noodles are lightweight, buoyant and easy to hold onto. Cut a section of pool noodle (seal the cut edges with duct tape) and let toddlers practice floating and kicking with this fun water aid. Toddlers just learning to swim will feel supported and confident with their own mini noodle floatie.

Bumper Protection – Wrap pool noodles around potential impact points like table and chair legs, sharp coffee table corners, stair rails and more. Pool noodles cushion blows and can prevent injuries (especially for toddlers). Use duct tape or zip ties to secure them in place.


In summary, using a pool noodle for a dog cone has some advantages like being inexpensive, customizable, and soft. However, it also has drawbacks such as not preventing licking or chewing, lacking adjustable sizing, and lacking proper medical design.

Pool noodles can work for very short term, mild injuries but should not replace an actual Elizabethan collar recommended by your vet. Proper cones are specially designed to prevent irritation and reinjury. Only use DIY solutions under guidance of your vet and closely monitor your dog.

The best application of a pool noodle is for other creative purposes, not as a medical device. With some imagination, you can find fun new uses for pool noodles around the house, just not as a replacement cone for your injured pup. If your dog does need a cone, invest in one properly fitted and recommended by your veterinarian for optimal recovery.

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