I got this question today and thought I’d share my answer.
“My dog had surgery yesterday. Does he have to wear the cone?”
Dogs love to lick. When injured or after surgery, the natural response for the animal is to lick the wound in an attempt to reduce pain and irritation, remove sutures or remove some of the drainage associated with wounds or incisions. Minor licking may not be a problem but excessive licking can drastically slow healing or even cause severe infections. Contrary to popular belief, the mouths and tongues of dogs are not sterile. In the case of sutures, the incision can open and damage can occur to the surgery site.