AKC is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to akc.org. If you purchase a product through this article, we may receive a portion of the sale.
Feeding a sick dog, especially one dealing with a decreased appetite, upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting, can be stressful. To deal with some symptoms, you may want to ask your vet about an over-the-counter stomach and diarrhea treatment. But a bland diet can help address some of these symptoms while also giving your dog the nutrition they need to recover.
The following recipes are intended for use for dogs with symptoms of mild stomach upset, including gas, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. As these symptoms are occasionally signs of a more serious problem, always check with your vet before taking treatment into your own hands. Only use these recipes once you have ruled out other health risks and discussed your dietary plan with your veterinarian. Also, remember that dogs with existing health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and allergies, as well as senior dogs, might need additional nutrition to stay healthy.
Chicken and Rice
Chicken and rice are prime ingredients in many dog foods, and these mild foods sit well on upset canine stomachs. Plus, this bland meal is easy to prepare. All you need are boneless, skinless chicken breasts, along with some rice. Cooked white rice is lower in nutritional value than brown rice, but its blandness makes it more suitable for upset stomachs.
Oils, butter, and added seasonings can irritate your dog’s stomach and make the problem worse, so stick with plain boiled chicken and rice and save the extra stuff for your own meal. Make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly and cut or shred it into small, bite-sized pieces for your dog, since enthusiastic canines might choke on this unexpected treat. You can also purchase pre-packaged chicken and rice meals for dogs.
Shredded chicken is easy on upset stomachs and acts as a huge eating incentive for dogs with decreased appetites. Plain, unseasoned, boiled, shredded chicken is easy to digest and is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids, making it a great snack for dogs feeling under the weather. Cooked chicken keeps in the fridge for three to four days, or you can freeze it for two to six months.
Feeding your dog unseasoned pumpkin can have digestive health benefits. It’s high in fiber, which helps regulate the canine digestive systems. Cooked, peeled, unsalted, and unseasoned pumpkin contains vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese, giving your dog a nutritional boost along with a little digestive help.
Adding pumpkin to your dog’s meal usually helps regulate mild constipation. Veterinarians recommend one to four tablespoons of pumpkin, depending on your dog’s size. Canned pumpkin is a convenient alternative to preparing pumpkin yourself, as long as it is unseasoned. Feeding your dog a can of pumpkin pie filling might end up sending you back to the vet, as the spices and sugars could irritate your dog’s stomach and cause further complications. You can also buy pumpkin supplements designed for dogs to add to your pet’s food.
Bone broth is a very mild, liquid meal that sits easily in upset canine stomachs. It is also a nutritious and delicious way to add moisture and flavor to dry food and encourage dogs with reduced appetites to eat. To make a bone broth for dogs, fill a crock-pot with beef marrow bones or bones with plenty of joints, like turkey and chicken legs. Cover the bones with two to three inches of water, cover, and cook on low for 20 to 24 hours.
Let the broth cool in the fridge to let the fat form a hardened layer at the top. Scoop it off and store the jelly-like broth in the refrigerator. If you want to use the broth to add moisture to dry food, microwave the broth just long enough for it to go from a semi-solid jelly to a liquid, but not long enough to get hot, as hot broth can burn your dog’s mouth. Freeze the broth in small containers like an ice cube tray for later use.
While bone broth is full of healthy bone marrow, cooked bones themselves can be dangerous for dogs. Make sure you remove all of the bones from your broth before serving. Straining the broth will ensure no small bones escaped your notice.
Veterinary emergency hospitals often use certain types of baby food to feed the dogs in their care. Baby food is very easy to swallow and digest and is a great way to give oral medications. Consider feeding Stage II meat-based baby foods like chicken, lamb, and turkey, as long as the baby food does not contain ingredients or additives that might be toxic to dogs, like any garlic powder or onion powder.
While none of these recipes should be used as a replacement for proper medical care, feeding a bland diet can alleviate some of your dog’s intestinal discomfort while also providing them with foods they’ll love. These recipes for dog digestive health also make delicious treats for when your dog starts feeling better, so consider saving some for later to reward your canine patient.