Elizabethan collars aka the cone of shame are meant to stop your pet from licking its surgery site. They do that job VERY well. Unfortunately they also have their dangers.
I am NOT recommending they not be used. Far from it, I think they're brilliant.
But DO NOT EVER EVER LEAVE YOUR PET UNATTENDED WITH ONE ON.
Mum's beautiful puppy passed away this morning while we were at the barn. He broke into the trash, got a plastic bag out of it, and got his head stuck. Because of the collar he couldn't get it off and suffocated.
If I can save even one animal's life... even one person this heartbreak, guilt, and shock... by sharing this experience, then maybe his death won't be in vain.