3 Ways to Stop a Dog from Licking a Wound

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3 Ways to Stop a Dog from Licking a Wound
3 Ways to Stop a Dog from Licking a Wound

If your dog has an open wound as a result of surgery or a recent accident, he will instinctively want to lick you. Unfortunately, if the dog licks the wound, it can cause it to bleed again and become infected. A cone, or Elizabethan necklace, is the traditional way to keep your pet from touching a wound. You can even try to cover the wound with protective clothing or a good bandage. Plus, it can distract your dog so he stays focused on other things while he recovers.


Method 1 of 3: Using a Cone

Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 1

Step 1. Carefully measure the dog's neck

Wrap a fabric measuring tape around his neck to get the correct measurements. If you don't have a measuring tape, you can use a shoelace or a piece of string, just measure it with a ruler. For cervical collars you also need to measure the length of your pet's neck, which would be the distance from his chin to his shoulders.

  • Generally, the cone needs to be snug so that the dog can't pull it off. Different types of cones or collars will have their own measurements and may come with model-specific instructions on how to measure the dog's neck.
  • Remember the dog's collar when measuring the cone or collar. Some types of collar don't work with collars that are placed over the dog's head because they don't have a side clasp.
Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 2

Step 2. Place a cone on your pet

The plastic cone, also known as an Elizabethan collar, is the traditional method of preventing a dog from licking a wound. As a general rule, your veterinarian will recommend this item as initial protection. Clear cones tend to make dogs less scared than opaque ones, as dogs can see through the transparency.

  • Keep an eye on your pet while he's wearing an Elizabethan necklace. This tool hinders the dog's peripheral vision and can make it more disturbed than usual.
  • It is possible that your pet can eat and drink with the necklace, but an adaptation will be necessary and maybe he doesn't like the situation. Closely observe your dog to see if he is eating and drinking. If he rejects food and water while he has the cone, try another model, or remove the collar so he can feed.
  • If you are away from home for long periods of time, because of work or school, it would be a good idea to keep your pet locked up in a day care center.


Due to the size of the Elizabethan collar, your dog may get stuck somewhere or have difficulty getting through narrower places in your home. You may need to move some of your furniture to make it easier for your dog to move around while he uses the cone.

Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 3

Step 3. Try using a cloth or inflatable cone if the plastic one doesn't work

The traditional Elizabethan collar can end up limiting your dog's movements or disrupting his sleep. Some dogs reject the plastic one and try to destroy it. Fabric or inflatable cones can be a better solution for these cases.

  • Many alternative cones do not work well for long-snouted, thin-necked breeds such as the Greyhound and Doberman.
  • Some inflatable collars are very susceptible to punctures, so they may not be a good idea if your pet keeps trying to tear off the collar repeatedly.
Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 4

Step 4. Have your dog try out different options

There are several types of cones in pet stores and online. It's hard to know which one your dog will do best with without testing all the models. It's possible that the option you think your pet will reject is the most comfortable for him.

  • If you are going to buy the cone at a pet store, take the animal with you so that it can try out the models inside the store. If that's not possible, buy several of the options available and return the ones you won't use.
  • Keep in mind that the best cone size for your dog depends on the type and location of his wound. For example, if your dog has had eye surgery, he will only need a small cone that prevents him from rubbing his eyes. However, if the injury is at the tip of his tail, he'll need a bigger cone so he can't reach the wound.
Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 5

Step 5. Consider wearing a neck brace

Some dogs don't give up trying to rip those damn cones off and don't stop until they've destroyed them. If your dog exhibits this type of behavior, you can try wearing a neck brace similar to what humans wear after a car accident. Those used in neck injuries caused by whip syndrome.

  • The size of the neck brace must take into account the length of the dog's neck and not its diameter. If your dog has an extremely long neck, like a Greyhound, or extremely short, like a pug, this may not be the most effective option.
  • A neck brace will most likely not prevent your dog from licking a wound on his forepaw.

Method 2 of 3: Covering the Wound

Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 6

Step 1. Clean the wound carefully before dressing

Use warm filtered water or saline solution to gently clean the wound. You can make your own saline solution by mixing one teaspoon (5 ml) of salt in two cups (500 ml) of water.

  • Your veterinarian may recommend that you use a specific type of soap or liquid to clean the wound. Use only a soap or sanitizing liquid recommended by your veterinarian. Do not use soap, disinfectants, or sanitizing liquids for humans. They can irritate the dog's skin and hinder healing.
  • After cleaning the wound, dry it carefully before applying topical medications or dressing.
Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 7

Step 2. Use only creams or gels that are prescribed by your veterinarian

The practitioner may recommend topical medications in cream or gel form for the wound. Use these remedies right after cleaning the wound and wait for them to dry before applying a bandage.

If your dog tends to lick topical medications, try passing the medication on before feeding the dog. The food will hold his attention and, by the time he finishes eating, he will have forgotten about the medication

Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 8

Step 3. Choose a suitable type of bandage to cover the specific wound site

There are many choices of models and sizes specifically for injuries of different sizes and for each part of a dog's body. The dressing must be large enough to cover the wound completely and not come loose.

  • For wounds on the dog's paws, there are specific dressings that look like a long sleeve or a boot. Try to keep the wound clean as it heals.
  • Use surgical tape to fit the dressing to your pet's body.
Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 9

Step 4. Apply an anti-mutilation spray to the dressing

These products can be purchased at pet stores and online and prevent your dog from trying to lick the wound or bite the bandage around it. In general, they taste so bad that the dog won't want to touch the wound.

Sprays don't work on all dogs. Some simply lick the surface they were applied to, not caring about the disgusting taste, and then attack the wound or bandage

Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 10

Step 5. Choose protective clothing to cover the dressing

Many owners feel more comfortable with an extra layer of protection around the wound as it heals. For this, there are protective clothing in pet shops, but you can also sew your own.

  • For example, a pantyhose without the toe, where the toes should be, can cover a wound on the leg or even the body of a smaller dog.
  • You can even wear a t-shirt, boxer shorts, sweater, or baby clothes to cover the injured area.


If you have a little outfit or raincoat that your dog already likes to wear, it may be able to cover the wound, especially the one on the torso.

Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 11

Step 6. Change dressings every two to three days

Remove bandage and clean wound. Check for any secretions coming out of the lesion. If the wound continues to bleed or you have colored or smelly pus coming out of it, take the pet back to the vet. It is possible that the wound is infected.

  • The veterinarian may give instructions other than those in this article when cleaning the wound and changing the dressing. Talk to your veterinarian if you need to do something different from what he or she instructed.
  • Do an online search to find different types of surgical clothing to protect the dog's wound, such as those specific for post-castration, hind limbs or forelimbs.

Method 3 of 3: Distracting the Dog

Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 12

Step 1. Take the pet for a walk after placing the cone

A leisurely walk with your guide will help you stay focused on the tour and reconnect you. Going for a walk is a great help if your dog has a cone or collar, as this activity gives him a chance to get used to the situation.

  • Most dogs will get used to the cone within an hour if they know they are safe. Keep the animal closest to you with the lead and talk to it in a calm, reassuring tone.
  • Always walk the dog using a lead. Do not take him out on the street, especially with the cone, as his peripheral vision will be impaired.
Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 13

Step 2. Wait for one to two weeks before trying other distraction techniques

Restrict the dog's activities until the wound has healed a little, especially if he has had surgery. You don't want to risk the wound reopening from some activity or, worse, becoming infected.

Ask your veterinarian how long to wait before you can let your pet run or play without the leash again. Depending on the severity and location of the injury, your veterinarian may suggest that you wait longer

Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 14

Step 3. Hide food for the dog to look for, instead of just putting it in the food jar

If you just put the feed in the feeder, your puppy will swallow it all at once. Hiding dog biscuits and pet food for your pet to find will give him a challenge and make him forget about the injury.

  • This distraction technique will work even better if you have a hunting dog or similar, which already has this instinct naturally.
  • Remember where you've hidden the treats so you can take them out and throw them away if your puppy doesn't find them in a day or so.
Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 15

Step 4. Train the dog to learn new tricks

If your pet likes to learn new commands and tricks, this can be a great way to distract him so he doesn't feel like licking the wound. Choose a trick that is challenging, but that you know he has the ability to learn.

Avoid tricks that demand a lot of movement from the dog, especially if the wound is still healing. For example, you might be able to teach your pet to just sit on its hind legs and ask “please”, but teaching it to catch a Frisbee in midair would probably be too intense


You can even let your pet play with its favorite toy, or take it to a pet store to buy a new one. Try to give a lot of positive attention and have a lot of fun with your pet while the wound heals, so that he doesn't mess with the injury.

Keep a Dog from Licking a Wound Step 16

Step 5. Freeze sauce or broth in cubes and give it to your puppy to play with

If your dog likes to play with ice cubes, he will love to do so with an ice cube made from gravy or broth. While your dog is distracted by the cold treat, he won't even think about licking the wound.

It's best to offer this treat outside as it can be messy. The cubes will melt little by little and turn into a puddle of sauce that you'll have to clean up


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