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PET SAFETY MONTH: 30 tips in 30 days that can save your pet's life - Tip #16

Call it an Elizabethan Collar, an E-Collar or a Cone of Shame it defines "adding insult to injury". First poor pup or kitty goes under the knife to lose their private parts or becomes play-toy of a bully at the dog park or eats something that has no way out other than via the knife.

That's the easy part. Then the well meaning, highly trained, brilliant, compassionate veterinarian puts Fido or Boots in The Collar and your pup or your kitty can't lie down, can't bend to eat, can't navigate corners, can't play.... oh, life is not worth living.

Instead of the Cone of Shame aka Elizabethan Collar post surgery, discuss using a cloud collar with your vet. They aren't pleasant but they do accomplish pretty much what the cone does - keeps teeth and tongue from the surgical areas.

First marketing by Kong but private labeled by Pet Smart and others, Cloud Collars are reminiscent of a traveler's neck pillow. They are much less cumbersome for pup or kitty and can be deflated and reused for next time so have the added benefit of being cost efficient, for there alway is a "next time".

The concept behind using the Cone or the Cloud is obviously to keep pup or kitty from licking or chewing at their wound, something that would slow down their healing. Go one step further to keep their tongues and teeth away and use a product called Bitter Apple.

Bitter Apple is plant based, developed by a pharmacist and is available in most pet stores and online. It is effective keeping about 90% of canine and feline tongues away. It works because it is, well, bitter. And like us, our pets hate the taste and are wise enough not to lick it.

OK, how do you use Bitter Apple? Simple but you must be careful. Bitter Apple is an alcohol based spray so you don't want to get it into the wound. A simple rule we use is to saturate the fur around the bandage but not the bandage. And since it is alcohol based, be prepared to apply it a few times a day.

Oh, you have a new puppy who chews? Spray it on your chair legs and other places of interest and it should slow his ardor. It just might do the trick.

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