Vail Pet Talk: Is your dog’s name Ralph? |

Vail Pet Talk: Is your dog’s name Ralph?

Stephen Sheldon
Pet Talk
Vail CO Colorado

VAIL – As always, my case load dictates the topic of my columns. This week the down-valley dogs seem to be vomiting a lot!

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, vomiting and diarrhea is the No. 3 reason pet owners seek veterinary care (you’ll have to read the whole article to find No. 1 and 2).

The reason is fairly obvious: dogs are walking garbage cans. They eat anything in sight; it’s just what they do. As a matter of fact, the medical term for and most common cause of vomiting and diarrhea is what we call Garbage Can Gastroenteritis (GCG). Up here in the mountains our dogs like to run off trail and eat heavens only knows what. OK, I do know and although they may look like them, they are definitely not chocolate-covered almonds.

Since dogs will be dogs, if you are a dog owner you need to learn how to deal with GCG. I coach all of my clients to learn what ‘formula’ works best for their individual pets.

The first thing to do if your pooch has GCG is to rest the GI tract. This means withholding food and water for a minimum of 12 hours. You need to pay special attention to your dog because if they are severely dehydrated or affected this could be dangerous. If they are depressed or reluctant to move, consult your veterinarian before attempting this. If they just have an upset tummy and are otherwise acting OK then start the fast.

Along with the fast you should administer a GI protectant/anti-diarrhea type medicine like Pepto Bismol. Give 1 teaspoon per 40 pounds or so every 8 hours.

After 12 hours you can try some liquids like Gatorade. Everyone says “Um, I know this is a stupid question, but, um, what flavor?”

We think green works best and yes, I know, green is a color not a flavor! Stupid questions beget stupid answers.

If your pet keeps down the Gatorade, next try a teaspoon or two of cooked white rice. Give a teaspoon every few hours. If they keep this down, the next day mix the cooked rice with your pets’ regular food half and half. If they are still having problems with vomiting or diarrhea go see your veterinarian.

Most of my clients have developed a formula for GCG that works for their pets. Some use a special diet, some us special anti-inflammatory medicines like metronidazole or sulfasalazine. All of them have learned how to fast their pets and then start slowly with liquids and a bland diet.

Ok, here is the answer to the most common reasons pets come to the vet office and a fun link. No. one is skin problems and close behind at No. 2 are ear problems. Check them out at

Dr. Stephen Sheldon practices at Gypsum Animal Hospital. He can be reached at 970-524-3647. Ironically, one of his dogs is named Ralph!

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