The Struggle Is Real: Dressing Your Dog After Surgery

After any surgery, dogs get wounds that they love to lick. If you’re having trouble making your dog wear its cone after surgery, then you should try using a shirt. A regular shirt from your closet or even a medical pet shirt offers protection that can prevent your dog from licking its incision after surgery such as spaying or neutering.

A shirt can work wonders if your dog doesn’t want to wear to cone or e-collar, which can impair its range of movement. Shirts are a cheap and easy way to keep dogs from biting or licking their stitches.

How To Use a Shirt To Keep Dog From Licking Stitches

To use a shirt to keep your dog from licking stitches, take the following steps:

  1. Take a t-shirt from your closet
  2. Pull each of your dog’s hind legs through each of the armholes
  3. Pull the tail out of the shirt’s head hole
  4. On your dog’s back grab the fabric at the end of the shirt
  5. Pull the fabric so that it isn’t loose
  6. Tie a knot to keep the fabric snug

In most cases, the stitches you’re trying to protect will be from a spay or neuter surgery. To protect your dog from licking his stitches, the fabric should be covering the wound. Avoid tying it too tight. Alternatively, you can tie the knot on the underside, but your dog might be able to untie it.

If done right, this becomes a fantastic way to cover a spay or neuter incision.

what size human shirt does my dog wear

The size of the shirt you use for your dog to wear only matters if the shirt is too small. Ideally, you should use a shirt that is bigger than your dog. It should have a loose fit so it can be comfortable but it should also have enough extra fabric so you can tie a knot with it.

What Should I Do If My Dog Licks His Wound?

If your dog does start licking its wound, it can get an infection or prevent the wound from healing, making recovery take longer. Any time a dog licks an irritated area, it may also nip and chew on it. In doing so, they can tear or remove the stitches.

If your dog removes his stitches, the wound can open up and start bleeding. The severity of the bleeding can vary depending on how far into the healing process he is. He may just prolong the time it takes for a wound to heal or he may need to get new stitches.

Causes For Licking And Scratching

Pets tend to experience compulsive licking and scratching behaviors.

Such behaviors are harmful to the dog and ought to be dealt with immediately when noticed.

Several factors can cause licking and scratching; They include:

  • Dry Skin: Fatty acids deficiency and severe winter weather may lead to licking and scratching.
  • Boredom and anxiety: Dogs have a compulsive habit of licking and scratching in places that feel irritated. When left unattended, a dog will surely scratch or lick its stitches.
  • After-surgery pain: After every surgery, there tends to be pain, and animals will lick and, in severe cases, scratch their wounds. This should be prevented through any means, whether by using a cone, a t-shirt, or other ways of covering up.

Environmental and allergic factors are also significant causes, and all this scratching and licking may lead to stitches in the body.

DIY Protection After Spaying Or Neutering

If you don’t want to use a cone or an e-collar, there are several alternatives to prevent licking and scratching.

These solutions include:

Use A T-Shirt To Cover Incision

You can use a T-shirt or a shirt to cover a dog’s incision as an alternative to the cone.

They will have the ability to cover the forelimbs, abdomen, and even the hindquarters.

Shirts are also perfect for covering stitches, and dogs tend to bite and rip off wound stitches.

This can only be prevented by using a shirt. Shirts are also perfect for protecting the wound from parasites and dirt.

Shirts, as discussed above, are best in preventing these behaviors. And lucky for you, they tend to be easy to make at home.

You may need an old shirt that will be made in a cone way to prevent licking.

An old t-shirt can be re-made at home to make a jacket for your pet dog.

Apart from the warm feel, it will help out in solving the problem of licking and chewing.


The pyjamas will protect the incision from getting wet or dirty, and they’ll also prevent your dog from being able to reach the area with their tongue.

Just make sure that the pyjamas are loose enough that they don’t put any pressure on the incision itself. With a little bit of planning, you can help your dog heal quickly and without any complications.

Just put the pyjamas on backward so that the buttons are in the back, and then slide them over your dog’s head. This will help to keep the pyjamas in place and will also provide an extra layer of protection for the incision.

Plus, your dog will look super cute in their new outfit!


A jacket will help to keep the area clean and will provide a little bit of extra padding. It’s important to make sure that the jacket is not too tight, as this could cause discomfort or even reopened the incision.

You should also check the jacket regularly to make sure that it has not become wet or dirty.


Putting a vest over your dog can provide a snug fit that also won’t be too tight. This vest will help to cover the incision site and protect it from getting dirt or debris on it.


This may seem like a strange idea, but diapers can be easily adjusted to fit your dog and they provide a good cover for the wound. Just be sure not to tie the diaper too tight and make sure that your pet is comfortable in it before leaving them alone.

You can either use a child’s diaper or a diaper made specifically for dogs.

Baby Onesie (For Smaller Dogs)

A baby onesie is a great way to protect your dog’s incision site if they are small. The baby onesie covers the entire area, including the legs and belly, so there is no need to worry about the dog licking or chewing at the incision.

Non-DIY Options

If the DIY route isn’t working for you, there are options. Below, we show you some of the best options for helping your dog recover from spaying or neutering. We’ve done our research to find out all the different ways people have dealt with post operation recovery for their dogs.

Suitical Recovery Dog Suit, The Onesie Bodysuit 

A recovery suit is made specifically to help your dog to recover with as little trouble as possible. No cone of shame is necessary.

Suitical Recovery Dog Suit
  • Leave the Cones Behind: Swap out uncomfortable cones of shame for a cozy surgery suit for dogs. This dog surgery suit is made with soft cotton and lycra, which promotes better airflow than nylon...
  • Supercharge Your Pet’s Recovery: Our dog body suits after surgery keeps your fur babies from scratching, licking, or biting their wounds. This dog cone alternative also shields sutures, incisions,...
  • From Ruff to Relaxation: Designed with elastic bands around the neck, tail, and legs, and a snap closure, this dog recovery suit provides a snug fit that can help ease your pup’s restlessness. Our...

They are made to cover the wound and prevent the dog from meddling in it and prevent proper healing.

If you need to leave your dog alone for a while, a surgical suit is a good way to buy yourself time. A surgical suit for dogs makes it difficult to pick and lick and stitch and will give you some breathing room for watching your dog without.

Stopping your dog from licking stitches can also be done with the use of anti-lick spray for dogs because it keeps them from licking and is safe to use on wounds. This is also a better alternative to using e-collars.

Muzzle To Keep Dog From Licking Wound

A muzzle can be a helpful tool if your dog is having a hard time staying away from his wound. By covering the wound, the muzzle will prevent your dog from being able to directly lick it.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that a muzzle will not completely prevent your dog from licking. If your dog is determined to reach the wound, he may be able to do so by licking around the muzzle. 

Inflatable Collar

Wearing a protective inflatable collar is a safe solution that works if your dog is having trouble licking after being spayed or neutered. Although the need for a t-shirt often implies the incision is in a more troublesome spot, we recommend using an inflatable collar if you it suits your dog’s recovery situation.

Protective Inflatable Collar
  • ✅ 【COMFORTABLE FOR YOUR PET】 - While wearing the BENCMATE Collar, the inflatable function and the soft outside material will let your dog wear it comfortably and it does not block your pet’s...
  • ✅ 【DESIGNED TO LAST】 - The protective collar is not just soft and washable but also featured scratch and bite resistance. It will not mark, scrape or damage your furniture. The materials we...
  • ✅ 【PROTECTIVE AND GENTLE CARING】 - The dog cone alternative after surgery is designed to protect your pets from injuries, rashes, and post-surgery wounds, it will prevent pets from biting and...

Can Dogs Scratch Incision With Hind Legs?

If you find your dog is scratching stitches with his hind legs, then you need to stop him when he does it. For dogs that do this, supervision is your best friend. There is no solution that will completely stop a dog from scratching an itch if he really wants to.

Alternatively, you can offer to scratch the itch for him. This way, you can do it safely while providing some relief for your dog.

How To Keep A Dog From Scratching Shoulder Wound

Putting a shirt over your dog is a good way to keep him from scratching a shoulder wound. It will provide a layer of protection, allowing it to heal faster. Your dog is scratching because he is itchy, so consider giving him a hand and helping him to relieve the itch by scratching it for him. Other than that, you’ll need to be diligent in watching him and preventing him from scratching it further.

Does A Dog Have To Wear A Cone After Spay/Neuter?

The short answer is no, but it is highly recommended especially if you can’t supervise them all day. Dogs will lick, bite, and scratch their stitches. A cone will prevent them from reaching these areas.

If you are actively supervising your dog and you can confidently prevent them from giving their stitches attention, then you can leave the cone off. Just remember to put it back on if you’re going to leave them alone, even for a minute.


Dog suits are usually an easy DIY activity to make at home. Homemade suits are cheaper and usually easy to make.

It usually only requires having an old t-shirt or other clothing and a bit of imagination. Many dog owners look for alternatives to cones and e-collars as they can cause discomfort for their dogs.

What To Do When Your Dog Has Surgery And Needs To Wear A Cone

No one likes to see their beloved dog in pain, but sometimes surgery is the best option for a pet’s long-term health. If your dog needs to have surgery, there’s a good chance they’ll need to wear a cone (or “Elizabethan collar”) afterward to prevent them from licking or scratching the incision. While it may take some time for your dog to get used to the cone, there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier. First, make sure the cone is the right size. It should be large enough to prevent your dog from reaching the incision, but not so large that it interferes with their vision or movement.

Second, give your dog plenty of time to adjust to the cone. Let them wear it around the house for short periods of time at first, gradually increasing the amount of time they spend in it. Finally, provide lots of love and attention. This is a difficult time for your dog, and they’ll need all the reassurance you can give them. With a little patience and care, your furry friend will be back to their old self in no time.

How To Make Sure Your Dog Is Still Stylish Despite The Cone

No one likes to see their dog in a cone, but sometimes it’s necessary. Whether your pup is recovering from surgery or has an injury, the cone is there to help them heal. And just because they’re wearing a cone, doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice style. Here are a few tips for making sure your dog is still the envy of the neighborhood despite the cone.

First, choose a color that compliments your dog’s fur. A bright cone will help to make them stand out, even if it’s in a good way. Second, consider patterns. A cone with a fun print can actually be quite stylish.

And lastly, don’t forget about accessories. A bow or bandana around the neck can really help to spruce up an otherwise boring cone. So, next time your dog is stuck wearing a cone, keep these tips in mind and help them stay fashionable.

Fun Ways To Keep Your Dog Entertained While They’re Healing

Anyone who has ever had a sick or injured dog knows that it can be a challenge to keep them entertained. They may be confined to a small space, unwilling or unable to move around much. boredom can quickly set in, leading to frustration and even further injury. However, there are several ways to keep your furry friend entertained while they’re healing.

One is to provide them with some interactive toys, such as Kongs stuffed with treats or puzzle toys that require them to think in order to get the reward. You can also give them plenty of love and attention, spending time petting or brushing them (if they’re able). And of course, you can always turn on the television or radio for some companionship. With a little creativity, you can help your dog through the healing process while keeping their spirits high.

Photo of author

Peter Newman

Peter Newman is the owner and editor for Puppy Leader. He has two dogs and loves to train them daily. Every day, Peter takes his dogs to the park and lets them run around and play together. He also trains them each day with different commands and tricks.