The Cone of Shame

Brewster with cone in car

Our puppy Brewster recently got what’s called a “hot spot”. I was petting him one evening and felt something hard on his neck up near his ear, which I figured was either a scab or a piece of hard candy that got stuck deep in his fur (not inconceivable since he rolls around on the ground every chance he gets!). We took him to the vet, and they called it a “hot spot”, which is when a dog has an itchy spot and scratches it until the skin breaks (and then some), causing it to get infected and scab over. The vet had to remove the scab, shave the skin, and put an antiseptic on it, and our orders were to keep it dry and keep him from scratching it until it heals — neither of which is a small feat for a puppy. The poor little guy was sentenced to wear the cone of shame for several days, which made him downright depressed. He moped about the house for the rest of the day, giving us the death stare from the corner of the room. He wouldn’t even let us get near him with the antiseptic spray, and kept trying to scratch around the cone.

To cheer him up, we took him to Bartholomew Park Winery the next day, which is a great dog-friendly spot up in Sonoma. As he started playing outside in the sunshine, he started forgetting that the cone was on his head, and he was back to his usual playful puppy self — running around, wrestling with other dogs, and finding sticks to chew on. He even tried his first-ever hike, and bounded up the trails like a total natural despite having a giant blue cone on his head.

But when we got back home, he remembered he was injured and got depressed again. It was another full day before he started acting like himself. Two things that might have helped were: (1) We swapped the cone for the Kong Cloud inflatable collar, which seemed to be more comfortable for him and allowed him to see better; and (2) Our trainer gave us some natural hot spot oil by San Francisco Raw, which seemed more soothing and less stinging than the antiseptic spray given to us by the vet. We still can’t wait until our baby feels all better, since it’s torture to see these helpless little creatures in pain, but it’s great to see him at least at 80% just a couple of days later.

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