Petco Pulls Dubious Dog 'Calming' Medicine With 13% Alcohol

By John Lavitt 04/02/15

A seemingly homeopathic medicine for unruly dogs has placed Petco in the doghouse.


A petition revealed to Petco that a dog “calming” medicine actually contained 13% alcohol or 26 proof. In response, Petco has pulled Good Dog by Pet Organics from its shelves. Signed by more than 750 outraged people, the pet owners could not believe that the so-called homeopathic way to relax unruly dogs with "all natural ingredients" was alcohol-based.

Thirteen percent alcohol content is equal to the amount of alcohol in most wines. Rather than just calming the dogs, the medicine made them intoxicated. Crystal Short, a dog lover who signed the petition, expressed her frustration over the con, "Alcohol is one of the things our vet has said very clearly do not let your dog have, along with Xylitol, grapes and chocolate.”

The pet poison helpline states that even a small amount of alcohol can be toxic for cats and dogs. 

"If this product has a calming effect, it's probably because of the alcohol, not because of the homeopathic medicine,” explained Dr. Narda Robinson, a veterinarian and physician at Colorado State University, adding that, "It is not advisable to recommend products with a high concentration of alcohol for pets.” 

Known as a responsible organization, Petco first experienced problems when it began carrying the alternative treatments by Pet Organics. Several other products from Pet Organics claim to help pets via their homeopathic components, but they also list alcohol as an inactive ingredient. After voluntarily recalling Good Dog Pet Calming Supplement, Petco issued the following statement:

"The health and safety of pets and people is Petco's top priority. We sell a variety of calming remedies for pets with anxiety and also recommend that pet parents consult with their vet to ensure that there are no underlying health issues. In light of recent concerns expressed by some of our customers with regard to Good Dog Pet Calming Supplement, and this product's alcohol content, we have decided to issue a voluntary recall, effective immediately."

It’s a step in the right direction to see a major company respond to the concerns of their customers in such a proactive fashion. After all, calming unruly dogs is one thing; getting them drunk is something entirely different.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.