Dogs & the “Cone of Shame”

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In the veterinary world, we have a term for that lampshade your dog wears after surgery. It’s called the “cone of shame.” Well, medically, it’s an e-collar. (The E stands for Elizabethan, so I guess we can thank Queen Liz and Shakespeare for popularizing the model.)

Mad props to men (and women) like Sir Francis Bacon for first flaunting the E-collar like champs. Photo credit: Discover Magazine.

Dogs donning these satellite dishes are often a bit confused when their daily activities–like eating and playing fetch–get impeded by the medical monstrosity surrounding their face. This gives them somewhat of a trepid, abashed (albeit adorable) look which makes the “cone of shame” description seem accurate. But more likely, I think it evolved because male dogs always wear the e-collar after getting neutered, so the boys might be feeling a little “shameful” about losing their manhood. I’m open to your interpretation of the “cone of shame” origin.

Regardless of the lingo’s namesake, pups are mighty cute when they’ve got a funnel on their head. The e-collar is meant to keep dogs out of trouble, i.e. from wound licking or pulling out stitches. But somehow, they still manage to make trouble, including chewing the e-collar while it’s still attached.


Maybe the best part about e-collars is when owners play dress up with the plastic fashion statement. Humans do get carried away sometimes. If you like dogs, a good laugh and cute things, you’ll want to check out this collage of dogs shamelessly sporting the cone of shame.

Please feel free to add links to photos of your own pup rocking out the cone in the comments below.


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