If you follow Inkopious on social media, particularly Instagram, you’re already familiar with our office pup Arrow. If you’re not, here he is:
He’s a rescue pup that Sarah, our production manager, designer, printer and wearer of many hats, adopted. Also he’s adorable if you couldn’t tell.
Unfortunately, he’s been on the butt end of some health kerfuffles recently. Namely, his scent glands (AKA anal glands) have been having some issues draining, leading to some less than desirable butt-splosions. And not the kind you fix with a poop bag but with a trip to the vet. While I’ll refrain from going into any more explicit details, this has resulted in Arrow having to have his cute little furry heinie shaved and worked on surgically. Don’t worry though, he’s doing much better now.
Dogs are instinctual creatures and they know when an injured area needs some TLC, for instance, after a surgery. However, since dogs have yet to graduate from a Veterinary Medicine program (at least that I’m aware of) they’re not likely to know the best way to treat themselves post surgery. Our Medical Collection is a favorite around the office, but for now, it’s just full of fun lively medical themed designs and doesn’t portray actual graduation portraits of pooches.
Pretty much all dogs (including Arrow) instinctively want to lick and nurture their wounds, but this prevents the healing process in a number of ways. The abrasion from their tongues can irritate the wound, they can pull stitches out, licking can delay healing, and also lead to infection among other things. While there is scientific research that shows dog saliva has antibacterial properties, that doesn’t mean that the slobber coating your dog’s jowls is some life saving salve with super healing properties.
Experts have reached a consensus that it’s important to prevent dogs from licking their wounds in order for them to heal optimally. As poetic as it is, the phrase “to lick one's wounds” should be taken metaphorically, even in the case of your dog.
That’s where the well known medical device for dogs, the “E-Collar” comes into play. While it might sound like it’s some super flashy, techy, futuristic device full of nanobots and batteries, the “E” actually represents the opposite end of the technological spectrum. It stands for Elizabethan. It denotes the similar look between this white plastic “cone of shame” that gets put on our pets and the fashion favored by high society during the Elizabethan era of wearing large frilly white collars. Here’s a side by side for comparison.
Although the Elizabethan Collar (the human kind) was at the height of fashion at one time, that was way before jeggings and sweatshirts were invented. We’re in the 21st century now and people are all about feeling comfortable. The same goes for your dog. While the E Collar (the kind for dogs) might be effective, it doesn’t live up to our modern standards of ease and comfort.
There are a number of reasons why you’d do well to consider an alternative for your pup should the need for a collar arise (and I hope it doesn’t.) First off, it’s hard to move around with the E collar on and your dog’s range of vision is reduced. Dogs tend to bump into things when walking and turning their heads because their peripheral vision is blocked. The E Collar is large and clunky, and dogs are unused to moving through space with them on, so they often bonk into furniture, walls and legs. E collars also make it difficult for dogs to eat and drink. Having easy access to water throughout the day is really important for a dog and if their collar is preventing them from drinking, that can lead to dehydration.
Modern dog problems require modern day solutions, and Arrow is certainly a modern dog. Just look at how chic and fashionable he is.
I Interviewed both Sarah and Arrow to get their take on the solution they found to overcome the pitfalls of the traditional E Collar. Here’s our in house Q & A with Sarah and Arrow!
Q: How much has Arrow used the cone (E collar) while you’ve had him.
A: It’s probably been a total of 2-3 weeks where he’s had to wear it in less than a 12 month period.
Q: Did you find any downsides to the cone?
A: He is very unaware of his surroundings, so he will barge into objects or people and he’s knocked things over. He’s hit the other dog with it (Arrow and Sarah live with a Senior Jack Russell Terrier named Daisy.) He’s even scooped up Daisy with it at one point and lifted her behind. He has trouble drinking water, he’ll hit the bowl or slosh it around and spills it everywhere. He has difficulty maneuvering in his crate with it on and flops around cause it sits so tall that it’s uncomfortable for him to be in his crate. It’s good for when you don’t want him to be able to access his behind or be able to chew because it really prevents any access back there at all. That’s the only benefit, if you wanted to brush him or something he can’t nip or any of that. Which is why the vet prefers it because it keeps them safer too if he’s in pain, of course. If you’re doing something that makes him uncomfortable then [the cone] is preferred just for the extra precaution because [Arrow] can be unpredictable.
Q: What did you find as a solution to the E Collar’s pitfalls?
A: I saw alternatives when I knew I had to go buy my own and the alternatives looked to be more comfortable. So they have the inflatable ones that have the felt material, then they also have one that’s the softer E collar that’s felt and it kind of folds like an accordian, it kind of looks like a flower. I saw that option but knowing he runs into things, I know that the cone still digs into his neck so at least with the donut, when he runs into things he just gets stopped at his shoulders, he doesn’t get this jabbing hard object in his shoulders.
Q: What is “the donut?”
A: "The Donut” is an inflatable tube, I don’t know how to explain it, but picture a life preserver around your dog’s head. It’s kind of like an airline pillow.
Q: How did you find out about it?
A: I saw it at the pet store as one of the options for the cone. My scenario is, they didn’t have his size for the E collar - the classic one - so I was kind of limited because he needed it right away. That’s why I picked that over the felt one. And it seemed to be more comfortable. The overall use of it seemed to make more sense.
Q: How much has Arrow used “The Donut”?
A: He’s probably worn that for eight days total cumulative. He has popped one, which was when he was in a lot of pain at the Vet. He managed to somehow turn his head and sink his teeth into it, so that was a bummer. I do think that if it’s inflated a lot it would have prevented him from being able to pop it.
Q: That’s why, if you take him to the Vet, you use the E Collar?
A: Yeah, I think the Vet prefers it more anyways. It does also block vision so that may also play a role at the Vet.
Q: Do you think he has a preference between the two collars?
A: When he sees the E collar he kind of knows and will back pedal and hesitate but if he sees “The Donut,” he’ll come right up and put his head in it. He’s welcoming it moreso. I think that’s just merely because it’s comfortable. He knows that if I have to wear this, then I at least want the comfortable one. He seems to be able to do all the other things, like he can be in his crate just fine. He still runs around and does all the things. He even uses it as a pillow.
A: He doesn’t seem to mind it in that sense. I think it’s probably cooler temperature-wise because he’s not constantly breathing on plastic. With the plastic one, it’s right in his face and there’s always condensation on it because he gets excited and pants. Whereas, with the donut, this doesn't happen because it’s under his mouth and not hanging out in front of his mouth. If I had to choose again, I would pick the inflatable one and if I had to recommend one, I’d recommend the inflatable one. If they’re wearing one [a cone] it means there’s something discomforting, so why not make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.
Overall, it’s all about comfort.
Q: So what do you think about the donut Arrow?
So now you know a bit more about the drama and intrigue that we’ve had around the office of late- dogs, donuts and all. As a loving pet owner Sarah wants to provide Arrow with as much comfort as she can in his time of need. Now, he’s so accustomed to the pillow that all she has to do is hold it out and he walks right up and plops his head into the hole of the donut. That’s a success if I’ve ever seen one.
While we wish that every dog stays in perfect health forever, the unfortunate reality is that at some point they’ll likely need a cone to prevent them from “picking at their scabs.” We’re hopeful that sharing Arrows experience offers a new perspective for pet parents unfamiliar with the donut pillow. Let us know over Facebook or Instagram about your experience with E Collars, donut pillows and more! We’re always looking for new tips and tricks to help our pups live their best lives.
If you want to see more pictures of Arrow on all his great adventures you can follow him on Instagram @arrowsgreatadventure.
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