Vail Pets: How to have a fun Fourth with your dog | VailDaily.com
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Vail Pets: How to have a fun Fourth with your dog

Stephen Sheldon, DVM
Pet Talk
Vail, CO Colorado

Since dogs are as all-American as apple pie, you should start planning your dogs’ Fourth of July celebration. And since we do not advocate alcohol for your pets but still want them to be the life of the party, one word comes to mind: sedative! We want them to be happy campers, too.

All joking aside, the Fourth of July is one of the busier times for veterinarians because pets are part of the celebration. So here is a list of do’s and don’ts.

1. Do: Style your pooch out. My personal favorite is red, white and blue toe-nail polish for the girls. A peddie is bitchin’ for the ladies; however, stud dogs would be better off macking out with a bandana or a sweet lid with a wide flat brim. Toe-nail polish on dude dogs can instigate a butt whooping from the pack. Sunglasses for both sexes are a must-have.



2. Do: When in doubt, Knock them out! Sedatives are a life-saver during the Fourth. There are a number of different ones. Acepromazine is the most popular; valium is useless as a sedative (for dogs) in my opinion. Ace is like having a glass of wine or two; it does not render them completely useless but calms them a little. Give them as directed about an hour or two before fireworks. Another calming agent we are using is a nutrient called theanine; it comes in a product called Composure. It is not sedating but has a relaxing effect. It works on my two knuckleheads quite well!

Don’t: All you can eat does not mean all your dog can eat. The days after holidays we are slammed with dogs throwing up and pooping their brains out. The medical term is called, and this is not a joke, garbage can enteritis. Be sensible with what you and, more importantly, your guests, give your dogs to eat. If your pooch does get an upset tummy, give them 1-2 teaspoons of Pepto-Bismol and allow them only to drink Gatorade or water the first 12-24 hours. Then try cooked white rice. If that doesn’t work, take them to see your veterinarian.



Don’t: Drugs and alcohol are not cool for your pet, not even if they are over 21 (3 years for a dog). Neither is chocolate, even if their boyfriend has just left them for another four-legged hottie. We see way too many drug and alcohol poisonings during holiday times. And here is the bottom line: you will most likely not be truthful to the veterinarian about what is wrong with you dog (in other words, you will lie through your teeth), thus making a cure even more difficult.

Do: Bring your friend to the party. Let’s face it, dogs are the life of a party; and if you are single, they are a great icebreaker and often lead to a hookup. Just make sure the event or host is dog-friendly. Nothing is worse than chasing your dog around when they are unwanted (OK, well maybe chasing my 2-year-old daughter around where she is unwanted is worse. You can lock your dog up; if I do that with my daughter I’d get locked up).

Do: Have holiday fun with your dog. Just be cool and smart, even if your brain cells are not firing at full speed.



Stephen Sheldon, DVM practices at Gypsum Animal Hospital; he can be reached at 970-524-DOGS (3647). However, during the 4th he will not be on -call but will be enjoying festivities with (in order): his pregnant wife, his family, his buddies and his dogs.


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