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Diarrhea and Upset Stomach in Dogs
Diarrhea and upset stomach are common issues for canines. If you have a pet dog, you know that they often eat things that they shouldn’t. It’s normal for their digestive system to respond by becoming sensitive and purging itself through vomiting or diarrhea.
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Nearly all dogs will experience nausea and diarrhea at some point. Depending on your dog’s diet, age, and temperament, this issue will vary in frequency, extent, and intensity. Usually, an upset stomach or diarrhea are acute, meaning they’re a spontaneous response to something the dog ate. Chronic, or repeated, digestive issues may indicate a serious issue.
If your dog vomits or has diarrhea often, contact your vet immediately to rule out the possibility of a chronic illness. If the problem is only temporary, consider these 12 foods that can help alleviate an upset stomach, boost hydration, and help your dog feel better.
What to Do When Your Dog Has Diarrhea
When dogs are suffering from an upset stomach or diarrhea, they need more of your care and attention. Here are some things you can try to help relieve their upset stomach and make them more comfortable.
Call Your Vet
Just to be on the safe side, call your vet and let them know your dog has diarrhea. It’s a common issue for dogs, but your vet will ask you questions to help determine the cause and whether treatment is required. These questions will likely include:
- When it started.
- How many bowel movements your dog has had.
- What the poop looks like (especially, is there blood in it?).
- How your dog is behaving (fever? in pain? vomiting?).
- Whether your dog has recently eaten something toxic.
Watch for Dehydration
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If your dog is losing body fluids through vomiting and/or diarrhea, keep an eye on them for signs of dehydration. See below for what to look for and how to respond.
Fast Your Dog
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends withholding food for 12-14 hours while providing adequate amounts of fresh water. Water consumption may relieve dehydration. Note that fasting is only recommended for healthy adult dogs.
Dogs under one year of age and geriatric dogs are at risk of developing hypoglycemia/low blood sugar if they do not eat. Also, dogs with a chronic illness (like diabetes) should not fast unless their vet suggests otherwise.
Feed Your Dog a Bland Diet
After fasting, you can start feeding your dog a bland diet of three parts plain cooked rice and one part boiled, unseasoned, boneless and skinless chicken breast.
Avoid Physical Activity
Any physical activity, such as long walks, running, chasing, jumping, or playing with another dog should be avoided until your dog is behaving normally. Strenuous physical activity will slow down recovery and could make your dog even sicker.
Slowly Reincorporate Regular Food
With the support of your vet, you can slowly reincorporate your dog’s regular food into his diet (e.g., 1/4 dog food and 3/4 bland food from the list below, then 1/2 and 1/2, and so forth).
What to Feed a Dog With Diarrhea
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In the same way that humans who are feeling unwell are often referred to the BRAT diet, there are a few foods that can help alleviate your pup’s tummyache and diarrhea.
12 Foods to Give Your Dog When They Have Diarrhea or an Upset Stomach
- White rice
- Boiled boneless, skinless chicken breast meat
- Pumpkin (canned or pureed)
- Mashed boiled potatoes
- Mashed cooked carrots
- Mashed sweet potatoes
- Boiled egg
- Cottage cheese
- Vet-approved probiotics
All of these foods should be served plain and unseasoned. Please read the preparation sections below closely, as they contain critical information that could affect your dog’s health if ignored.
1. White Rice
Vets often recommend white rice as the most ideal option for curing diarrhea caused by dehydration because it is easily digestible. Rice contains soluble fiber that absorbs water passing through the GI tract, which helps to stabilize the stool.
How to Prepare and Serve:
- Boil a cup of white rice in 4 cups of water for 20-30 minutes (or until it becomes creamy white).
- Do not add salt or sugar.
- Don’t serve the rice warm. Serve at room temperature instead.
- You can serve the rice with plain, boiled chicken or unseasoned ground beef.
2. Boiled Chicken Meat
Rice and chicken is a classic combination recommended by many veterinarians in cases of canine diarrhea, but only if the dog has not vomited for six hours.
How to Prepare and Serve:
- Boil some boneless, skinless chicken meat and then shred it into small pieces.
- Prepare rice as described above.
- Spoon out three parts cooked plain rice and combine with one part cooked chicken. (Ensure that the rice and chicken have cooled before serving.)
Pumpkin is another good food option to calm an upset stomach and treat diarrhea, as recommended by the AKC.
Pumpkin is a rich source of soluble fiber and water, which helps to delay gastric emptying and slow down GI transit times (and the number of episodes of diarrhea). It is also easily digestible and delivers instant energy.
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