The label barked, “for dogs that are unruly or hyper” and declared the concoction “helps to make your dog happy & content.” The bright blue bottle was labeled GOOD-DOG! and claimed to be an emotional elixir “safe & ready to use” and “veterinarian approved.”

Seated in my exam room was an elderly client visibly upset. Her toy poodle, Godiva, a scoop of chocolate fur and ears, had lapped up an entire bottle after she dropped it. Her petite pooch was now acting strangely, staggering around my exam room and urinating excessively. As I studied the bottle, I discovered this “relaxing” homeopathic remedy was actually a disgustingly disguised shot of booze. Godiva the poodle was now a chocolate martini.

What exactly is this product? 

Good Dog is a homeopathic remedy sold at many online retailers, and it was recently pulled from Petco. Despite being clearly labeled as containing 13% alcohol, you won’t be carded when you buy it. You will buy it if you’re desperate to calm down an “unruly or hyper” dog and are fooled into thinking this liquid courage is just what your veterinarian ordered.

The label instructs: “When pet seems happy and content Good Dog is no longer needed. Other pets may drink out of same bowl with no harmful effects.” It’s a pet party in a bottle! And this where my open-mindedness to alternative therapies ends: whenever pets are placed in potential danger and marketing matters more than science. As far as I’m concerned, Good Dog is no good.

Why this product is harmful to dogs

Alcohol is bad for dogs. You already knew this. The Pet Poison Control Center lists alcohol as “poisonous to cats, dogs” with a “generally mild to severe level of toxicity.” Why in the world is a 13% alcohol solution being offered to dogs as a therapeutic agent? Good Dog exposes an issue many veterinarians and physicians have with a lot of the unregulated homeopathic industry: you don’t know what you’re getting.

Good Dog, like most similar products, makes it clear in the fine print they don’t claim the product does anything. “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended for use in the cure, prevention, mitigation, or treatment of disease.” Unless you know and trust the manufacturer, you’re rolling the dice. The risk is if you roll wrong, your pet’s health could be in jeopardy.

Is this the same for all homeopathic remedies?

Good Dog also runs the risk of being the proverbial bad apple that ruins the bunch. I personally have confidence in many so-called “alternative,” “complementary” or “integrative” therapies. I also think products such as Good Dog should be banned. This is also a good time to remind you to never give your pet anything without consulting your veterinarian first.

My Godiva toy poodle martini did fine after an afternoon of IV fluids and rest. Her owner called the store where she purchased Good Dog and asked them to pay for her dog’s treatment. They politely refused. There are other homeopathic remedies that contain high amounts of alcohol that should be pulled from pet store shelves. Or at least limited to liquor stores. Hopefully sharing this information with your friends will encourage retailers and manufacturers to carry better, safer and more honest products available for our pet loved ones.

Jan 30, 2015
Pet Care

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