6 Foods to Feed a Sick Dog with an Upset Stomach
Having a sick dog with a tummy ache can be stressful for both of you, but it's not the end of the world. Keep a watchful eye on her for a full day. Oftentimes, the barfys will pass once she's gotten the offending morsel out of her system.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to figure out what's causing her tummy ache. Your canine pal can't tell you how she's feeling or if she ate something she shouldn't. It's up to you to figure out what's going on.
If she isn't back to her old self after a day or so, start keeping a journal. Note any nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and so on. The reasons for an upset tummy vary from simple to complex — and from minor to serious. When your furry friend shows signs of digestive troubles, here's how to address it and pin down the best foods to feed a sick pup.
Why Is My Dog's Stomach Upset?
Did your pup get into the trash or eat an entire stick while exploring the great outdoors? Did she steal the cat's food?
Has your toddler been sneaking Fido snacks under the table?
If so, the upset stomach may be due to to what can commonly be referred to as “dietary indiscretion” which if mild, can be dealt with at home.
Food sensitivities or allergies
Allergies and sensitivities can develop over time. Just because your pup has been eating the same food for a while doesn't mean she'll never have an issue. If she develops an intolerance, her usual kibble could leave her stomach upset. Your vet can perform tests to figure out the allergen and prescribe an appropriate diet.
If your dog develops bloody or black, tarry stool, there may be something more serious going on. An upset stomach caused by a bacterial or viral infection is best addressed by a vet. Also consult with a vet if GI issues worsen or linger for more than 24 hours.
Some medical conditions can cause an upset stomach and may be fatal if neglected. Your vet can run a test to find out if your furry friend is positive for an infection and decide on the best course of action.
Foods to Try Feeding Fido
You can generally try addressing your pup's stomach issues at home. Have her fast for 12 to 24 hours to let her GI tract rest. Ensure your dog stays hydrated. Offer ice cubes or small amounts of water throughout the day. Avoid electrolyte replacements like sports drinks — sweeteners can worsen your pup's condition.
After the fast, reintroduce bland foods. They should be easy to digest and not have excess fat, which can exacerbate GI issues. Avoid immediately returning to your dog's normal diet, as issues might return. Here are some foods to try:
1. White rice
Plain white rice's soluble fibers make it easy to digest. It also absorbs liquid from the large intestine, which curbs diarrhea and bulks up stools. Serve the rice at room temperature without any salt, butter, or sugar. You can add small amounts of boiled, skinless chicken or plain bone broth after a few small meals of rice alone. Stick with white rice; brown rice isn't as easy for your pup's body to process.
2. Boiled chicken
Some vets recommend boiled chicken and rice as an ideal diet for dogs with GI upset. If your dog hasn't vomited in at least six hours, she may tolerate small bites of chicken every few hours.
3. Bone broth
Homemade bone broth is a tasty and nutritious meal for canine companions recovering from GI issues. Either added to rice or given on its own, bone broth is full of vitamins and minerals. Plus, it may be the thing that tempts your pup to eat if she lacks an appetite.
To make bone broth, add beef marrow bones, chicken bones, or turkey bones to a slow cooker and cover with water. Cook for 12 to 18 hours before taking it off the heat. As the broth cools, you can remove the fat that rises to the surface. Strain all the bones, since cooked bones are very dangerous for dogs if ingested. Offer small amounts of cool broth to your pup during meals or throughout the day.
4. Some types of baby food
Meat-based baby foods can also make a fine meal for your pup, but beware that some ingredients are toxic to dogs. Steer clear of baby foods made with onions or onion powder, garlic or garlic powder, or the artificial sweetener xylitol. The ASPCS offers a more complete list of foods you should avoid feeding your pets.
When it comes to baby food, look for 'Stage 3' on the label, which means it's a chunkier food — one you'd give to a baby around 9 months of age. Chicken purees offer a healthy way to reintroduce protein after a bout of GI upset. These foods are easy to digest. Plus, they're a perfect, tasty disguise if you need to trick your furry friend into taking medications. (Be sure to read the label, though, just to make sure you're giving oral medications properly.)
Remember to avoid puree seasoned with garlic or onion in any form — those ingredients can cause other health issues for your pup.
5. Plain oatmeal
Oatmeal is another digestible source of soluble fiber. Serve it at room temperature and avoid giving your pup flavored or sweetened instant oatmeal.
6. Boiled potatoes
Offer potatoes sparingly. Serve boiled potatoes at room temperature without any seasoning, salt, or butter.
If your canine's upset stomach symptoms persist or worsen, contact your veterinarian. They may want to watch her in the hospital or start IV fluids if she appears dehydrated. Your vet also can prescribe medications to quell nausea and get your pup back to her happy and healthy self.