What Do You Feed a Dog With Diarrhea?

by Sundays

When you’re sick, your tummy cannot handle much more than bread and water, but is that okay for dogs, too?

It’s the one sentence you never want to find yourself typing into an online search or saying out loud: “My dog has diarrhea.” It’s not fun for your dog, and definitely not fun for you, especially if they have long hair that catches everything in it.

Our first word of advice: get some potty pads and hope that your dog makes it to them in time. Aside from the mess, though, you probably want to know what you can even feed your dog when they have diarrhea. When you’re sick, your tummy cannot handle much more than bread and water, but is that okay for dogs, too?

Before we talk about what to feed a dog with diarrhea, make sure your dog doesn’t have any emergency symptoms that mean that they should see a veterinarian. Then we will let you know what to feed your pup that won’t make the situation worse.

Is Dog Diarrhea an Emergency?


Dog diarrhea can actually be an emergency. We don’t usually think it’s an emergency if we have diarrhea, but even though dogs are our best friends, they aren’t people. 

One thing that can turn it into an emergency is if your dog becomes dehydrated. Then, all sorts of bodily functions get messed up, and things can go really bad really fast. Diarrhea can also be a symptom of a serious underlying disease.

If you see any of these signs along with the diarrhea, get your pup to a vet as soon as possible:

  • Vomiting
  • Acting sluggish or lethargic
  • Dark and/or bloody poop
  • A lot of diarrhea at once 
  • Very frequent diarrhea
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Shivering or shaking
  • Mucus in the poop

Should I Wait to Feed a Dog With Diarrhea?


If your dog is relatively healthy, you should wait about 12 hours before feeding them anything. But if your dog fits into any of the following categories, they need the nutrients in their food, so you should not stop offering it to them:

  • Dogs with chronic illnesses like diabetes or cancer
  • Senior dogs
  • Small or toy breed dogs
  • Puppies

If they refuse to eat, call your veterinarian right away and do not force them to eat.

What Can You Feed Dogs With Diarrhea?


When you’re dealing with a dog that has a mild case of diarrhea, you can try feeding them the following easy-on-the-tummy options after fasting them.

Boiled Chicken and Rice


You may not believe that chicken noodle soup is the way to go when you’re feeling sick, but chicken and rice is actually what vets recommend for minor tummy upset in dogs. Your pup is going to feel very special and may even be a little suspicious when you put down this homecooked meal for dinnertime. 

There are a few guidelines, though:

  • Get lean, skinless, boneless chicken breast or ground chicken
  • Do not add any seasonings (not even salt or pepper)
  • Boil the chicken and make sure it’s cooked thoroughly 
  • Choose quality white rice  

Adjust the quantity of chicken/rice according to your dog’s size or if you want to make a lot and then store it for the next few days. The ratio should be 1/3 chicken to 2/3 rice.

Steps:
  1. If the chicken is frozen, defrost it first following directions on the package.
  2. Cover the chicken with water in a large pot.
  3. Boil on high for about 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove the chicken from the water, allow to cool, and cut into bite-size pieces. Save the broth.
  5. Rinse the rice. Pour the rice into the broth from the chicken and make sure you have twice as much broth as you do rice. If not, add some water. 
  6. Bring the rice to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 16 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and allow to sit with the cover on for 10 minutes.
  8. Fluff the rice and combine with the cut chicken. 
  9. Once cool enough, serve it to your pup.

Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin is another favorite recommendation for dogs with upset stomachs. It’s easy to digest and full of soluble fiber that can absorb water. And it acts as a prebiotic (food for probiotics), so it stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut while discouraging the bad kind.

Make sure you get 100% canned pumpkin, and not the pumpkin pie filling that has a lot of sugar and spices that aren’t good for dogs. 

Mashed Potatoes


Potatoes, whether they are white or sweet potatoes, are also gentle on a dog’s tummy. You can’t feed them raw though; they also need to be boiled and then mashed. You can use these as a substitute for rice in the chicken and rice meal.

Steps:
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes. 
  2. Put them in a pot and cover the cubes with water.
  3. Boil the cubed potatoes for around 15 minutes, or until they are soft.
  4. Remove from heat, drain, and cool.
  5. Mash the potatoes, but do not add butter, salt, milk, or any other ingredients.

Boiled Eggs


Eggs are great sources of animal protein, which your dog needs, but they’re also easy on the stomach. Be sure to boil the eggs instead of frying or scrambling them. One egg is plenty for small or medium dogs, but you can offer two boiled eggs to large dogs. 

Let the egg cool and chop it up before you serve it to your dog. This can also be used as a substitute for chicken in the chicken and rice recipe.

Mashed Carrots


Tons of vitamins, plus fiber and potassium make cooked carrots another safe bet for dogs with an upset stomach. You can also boil this bland veggie and then mash it and let it cool. 

Probiotics


There are probiotic supplements made specifically for dogs. Typically in a powder formula you can add to food, the supplement should include a strain of good bacteria that supports the right balance of microflora for a healthy gut. 

What Not to Feed a Dog With Diarrhea


You should also know what not to feed dogs with diarrhea. Stay away from:

  • Dog treats (while your pup still has diarrhea)
  • Seasonings and spices on human foods that you cook
  • Fruit of any kind
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Butter and cooking oils
  • Fatty foods and table scraps
  • Human foods that are toxic for dogs (garlic, grapes, onion)
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