Most pet owners are familiar with the “cone of shame,” or e-collar. These devices are helpful for dogs and cats who might be tempted to bite or lick sutures, wounds, or anything else on their body that needs to be left alone in order to heal. Most of the time, these collars cause nothing more than a bit of annoyance for their wearers, but one woman noticed something very strange happening when her dog had to wear the cone.

Dr. Stephanie Olson, however, is no ordinary pet owner (if such a person even exists). An astrobiologist and professor at the Purdue University Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Dr. Olson has made a career out of her curiosity, and she turned to her craving for knowledge when she saw that her dog had turned green underneath his e-collar. As it turned out, her field of expertise was just what was needed to discover the cause.

Dr. Olson’s dog, Olive, is a St. Bernard. And, as you might expect, she drools. A lot.

Dr. Olson began by explaining some of the chemistry behind why dog drool tends to stain their mouths red. Did you know this fun fact?

As it turned out, the unique combination of dog saliva and oxygen deprivation led to this uncommon chemical reaction.

While this is far from the first time green rust has made an appearance on Earth, Dr. Olson now has another dilemma: how to remove all that green from Olive!

Let this be a lesson to anyone who needs to put the “cone of shame” on their pet: green may not be aesthetically pleasing on your slobbery dog, but it’s probably all natural!

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