It’s no secret that most dogs will eat just about anything. But what should you feed a dog with a tummy ache? If you’re looking for the best food for dog with diarrhea and loose stool, you’re in the right place. We’re going to take a look at specific dog foods that are good for a dog with an upset stomach as well as some things you might have in your pantry or fridge that can help them feel better.
- What to Do When Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach
- Dog Foods
- Other Options
What to Do When Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach
A dog that’s experiencing some loose stool or diarrhea needs a little more TLC and a lot of attention. Not only is your pup probably scared and uncomfortable but you also have to pay close attention to make sure there isn’t a huge health problem you should be worried about. If your dog has an upset tummy, here’s what you should do to help.
Call the Vet
It’s always a good idea to get in touch with your veterinarian if your dog is sick, even if it seems like something relatively minor. You never want to miss something because you just didn’t know to look for it. While an emergency vet visit probably isn’t necessary, a quick call to update them and get advice is warranted.
For otherwise healthy adult dogs, some vets may recommend fasting for a short period of time. This involves withholding food from your pup for anywhere from 12 to 14 hours and gives their stomach some time to rest. If you have a puppy, geriatric dog, or one with other health issues, you should definitely check with your vet before doing this. Some pups are at risk of developing low blood sugar if they don’t eat for this long.
Just because your pup isn’t eating doesn’t mean they shouldn’t drink. Just the opposite. Since loose stool and diarrhea cause your dog to lose a lot of fluids, it is at risk of getting dehydrated. Signs to look for include lethargy, sunken eyes, dry gums, and dry skin. If you think your dog might be dehydrated, call your veterinarian. Sometimes, getting your pup to drink an electrolyte replacement, like Pedialyte, is helpful as it provides the fluid they need and replaces some of what was lost from being sick. In serious cases or if your dog is very young or old, they may need to see the vet for an IV and fluid replacement.
Start with a Bland Diet
When it’s time for your dog to start eating again, don’t just jump back into their regular dog food and meal routine. Start with bland foods that are easy to digest. (More on this later.)
Slowly Reintroduce Regular Food
Check with your vet to see how quickly you should transition back to a regular diet. Sometimes, it’s best to start slow, with a ¼ of their old food and ¾ bland food. Then, go half and half, etc, slowly progressing back to their regular diet.
Limit Physical Activity
Too much activity can keep your dog from getting better and actually make any stomach problems worse. Just like you, when your dog is sick, it needs to rest. Not to mention, you should keep your pup away from other dogs until it gets back to normal so you don’t spread around any infections.
Know When to Call Your Vet
As we said, call your vet when it’s apparent your pup isn’t well. You might not need to take them in for a checkup but it’s always a good idea to get some advice and keep your vet updated on what’s happening in case things don’t improve.
When you call the vet, be sure to mention when the diarrhea started, what your dog’s stool looks like (especially if it is bloody, bright red, or black and tarry), whether your dog has a fever or appears to be in pain, and whether it has ingested anything potentially toxic.
When it comes to dog food, it’s important to look for ingredients that are easy to digest and less likely to cause additional sensitivities. Here are some great options to consider:
This formula from Purina features real lamb and oatmeal as the top two ingredients. Lamb is much easier to digest than beef so your dog gets the protein it needs without risking additional stomach upset. Oatmeal is also easy on the tummy – it’s one of the first cereals we feed to human babies so it must be! Plus, this recipe leaves out the most common ingredients that can cause GI problems in dogs. There’s no wheat, corn, soy, or poultry by-product.
In addition to being easy on the stomach, this food is loaded with other things that are beneficial for your pup, like omega fatty acids for healthy coat, skin, and joints and prebiotic fiber to help regulate digestion. It’s also rich in antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system, delivering the balanced nutrition your dog needs. Plus, all Purina dog food is made in the USA and undergoes regular, rigorous quality checks for quality and safety.
If your dog doesn’t like lamb or you prefer protein from a different source, check out Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food. It has all the same benefits and is equally as easy on the stomach but uses salmon and rice instead of lamb and oatmeal.
One of the most impressive things about Hill’s Science Diet is that the brand’s pet foods are all developed by more than 220 food scientists, veterinarians, Ph.D. nutritionists, and technicians. They used trustworthy ingredients, too, as they only source from approved suppliers who adhere to their strict standards for quality.
This formula was made to support optimal digestive health. The prebiotic fiber helps maintain a healthy level of good gut bacteria, something that is especially important for a dog experiencing diarrhea. It’s also a great source of vitamin E and omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin. Plus, Hill’s never uses artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, or chicken by-product meal.
If your dog prefers wet dog food, you should definitely check out this recipe from Natural Balance. This limited ingredient canned dog food is specifically designed to give your dog what it needs not only for a sensitive tummy but for strong muscles, a healthy coat and skin, and overall good health.
The all-natural ingredients include high-quality chicken, nutritious sweet potatoes, limited carbohydrates, and no fillers, artificial colors, preservatives, or fillers. Each of these formulas is developed with nutritional experts and vets and safety tested for nine contaminants. If you ever have any questions, they have registered vet techs standing by to help and even offer a 100 percent money-back satisfaction guarantee.
Blue Buffalo is a well-known, reliable brand and this limited-ingredient formula is a great option for dogs with diarrhea or general GI troubles. Real turkey is the first ingredient and it’s rounded out with other delicious, nutritious, and all-natural offerings like potatoes, pumpkin, and peas.
What’s not in this dog food is just as important as what is. There’s no gluten, soy, chicken, beef, eggs, or dairy making it unlikely to set off any food intolerances. That said, it does contain Blue Buffalo’s special LifeSource Bits, an exclusive blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support your pet’s immune system.
Believe it or not, some of the best food for dog with diarrhea might already be in your kitchen. Here are some other things your vet might recommend.
Plain White Rice
When you call your vet about your dog’s upset stomach, there’s a good chance they’ll recommend plain white rice. Not only is white rice easily digested, but it also contains soluble fiber that helps to absorb water in the intestines which can help clear up liquid stools.
It’s important to serve the rice at room temperature without any seasoning. You can also mix it with some of the other recommended foods on this list.
Believe it or not, another great food to try is pumpkin. Pumpkin has a lot of water and soluble fiber, both of which are great for an upset stomach. Whether you use real pumpkin or canned, it can help slow down gastric emptying which slows down loose stools. Pumpkin is also easy to digest and loaded with vitamins and minerals that your pet needs to replace after a stomach illness. Try mixing plain canned pumpkin or boiled, mashed fresh pumpkin with white rice. Serve unseasoned at room temperature.
Potatoes are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and B6. They also have a lot of fiber. While mashed potatoes are a good choice when your dog is dealing with stomach issues, you shouldn’t feed them to your pet too often. They’re loaded with carbohydrates which can cause unwanted weight gain.
Mashed sweet potatoes are a good choice, too. They’re one of the best sources of Vitamin A and also have vitamins B5, B6, and C. Sweet potatoes or yams have a lot of fiber that can help calm an upset stomach. Make sure they’re cooked thoroughly. Mash them and serve unseasoned at room temperature.
Carrots are another root vegetable that’s loaded with vitamins and a great source of fiber and potassium. They’re also soft, bland but tasty, and mix well with white rice.
If your dog seems to be coming along and hasn’t vomited or had excessive loose stools for six hours, your vet may recommend boiled chicken meat. Use boneless, skinless chicken meat. Boil until cooked through then shred it into small pieces. The best way to serve this is mixed with plain white rice. Try a mix of one part chicken to three parts rice. This way, your dog gets the benefits of the white rice with the added protein of the chicken without it being too hard on it’s recovering stomach.
Oatmeal is an ingredient in some of the dog foods we looked at earlier precisely because it is so gentle on the stomach. It’s also full of soluble fiber which helps to slow gastric emptying and diarrhea.
If you choose to make your own oatmeal to give to your dog, it’s very important that you cook it thoroughly. Half-cooked or raw oatmeal can be dangerous as it’s difficult for your dog to chew and digest properly. Be sure to serve it at room temperature and don’t add any sugar. Use plain oatmeal, not the flavored kind that comes in packets.
Watermelon is a great choice for a few reasons. It’s low in calories and easy to digest plus it’s loaded with vitamins, potassium, and lycopene which strengthens the immune system. Another great thing about watermelon is it has high water content so it’s also effective at fighting off dehydration.
When preparing watermelon for your dog, be sure you remove all the seeds and the rind. Both can be dangerous to your dog if ingested. Cut the pink fleshy parts into small pieces so your dog can chew and digest it easily.
Eggs are a great choice because they’re bland and full of protein and vitamins. There are a few options for how to prepare them. The easiest ways are to hard boil them and then mash them or make scrambled eggs. Then, mix the eggs with rice.
Never give your dog raw eggs as they can contain salmonella and you could give your dog food poisoning.
Some vets may also recommend giving your sick dog some cottage cheese but only if your dog doesn’t suffer from lactose intolerance. Even if they can tolerate it, you should only offer it sparingly. Cottage cheese is rich and could irritate the belly even more if you feed your dog too much. This is another great thing to mix with rice to add a bit of protein and fat.
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I grew up in a household that was filled with animals. I believe that my fate as a dog-loving person was sealed in early childhood since my parents owned several dogs of varying sizes and breeds. There was no choice but to take care of and learn about dog habits and the best animal care practices — otherwise, I’d be clueless about how to go about the creatures I was surrounded by day and night.
As a life-long puppy lover, I know a thing or two about dogs and how to go about caring for them in the best way possible. Although I’m not a professionally trained dog behaviorist, trainer, or veterinarian, all of my knowledge and experience with canines comes from a place of love and a deep-rooted passion for dogs and animals in general.
Seeing as dogs kept me company throughout every stage of my life, I decided to follow a different path in my academic life and obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Marketing Management and Digital Advertising, which ultimately allowed me to combine my professional training and personal experience by creating the ultimate dog lover’s resource website! Along with my husband, Dave, I run MySweetPuppy for like-minded dog lovers who want to have a single, clear, and reliable information source about anything and everything related to dogs and their well-being.