When Bear had his surgery a couple of weeks ago, his vet told us he'd need an Elizabethan collar, better known as the cone of shame. (If you've seen the movie Up, you know what I'm talking about.) It looks like a lampshade made of hard plastic. Your dog's collar attaches to it, and the cone keeps your mutt from reaching his flanks or belly. That way he can't lick a wound, worry a rash or chew out stitches. But it's also pretty uncomfortable. Imagine trying to sleep with a ginormous inverted lampshade digging into your clavicle. Totally the worst. Photo, Doc Searls at Flickr ( Creative Commons) However, our vet also pointed out that there are some less-rigid collars that can work just as well. Here are two alternatives that may help your dog get through his recovery without the associated shame and misery. As with any device, your results may vary. Your dog's personality, size and habits should be your guide. 1. The Comfy Cone works on the same principle as a regular hard plastic cone. It's made of soft, padded fabric, though, allowing your pooch to get comfortable and sleep more easily. You can buy the Comfy Cone from a variety of e-retailers or select partners across Canada. There are other soft cones that are similar, so search online to find options in your area. 2. An inflatable collar can look like a small inner tube or like those sleep pillows people wear around their necks on airplanes. (I think I might steal Bear's for my next flight.) These are my favourite because they're easily tolerable—Bear didn't seem to notice his was on!—and they look utterly adorable. You'll find them at pet stores and online. For more on taking care of your dog or cat (or hamster, etc...) post-surgery, check out Jennifer Brown's article in the canadianliving.com Pets section. Have you tried these cone alternatives? Did your pet tolerate them?