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What to Feed a Dog with an Upset Stomach: A Comprehensive Guide

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Dealing with an upset stomach in your beloved canine companion can be distressing. Vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite are common symptoms that can leave your dog feeling uncomfortable and unwell. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to know how to address these issues and provide appropriate care for your furry friend. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the causes of upset stomachs in dogs, discuss the importance of a bland diet, and provide a variety of options for feeding your dog when they are experiencing digestive distress.

What to feed a dog with an upset stomach

Understanding Upset Stomachs in Dogs

Dogs can experience upset stomachs for a variety of reasons, ranging from mild to more serious underlying conditions. Some common causes of upset stomachs in dogs include:

  • Eating too quickly
  • Consuming food or treats that don’t agree with them
  • Ingesting spoiled food or substances from the trash
  • Intestinal parasites such as tapeworms or roundworms

While mild upset stomachs can often be managed at home, it’s crucial to recognize when veterinary attention is necessary. If your dog is experiencing excessive vomiting, blood in the vomit or stool, or symptoms lasting longer than two weeks, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

The Role of a Bland Diet in Dog Digestive Health

A bland diet is often recommended for dogs with upset stomachs as it can help alleviate symptoms and provide easily digestible nutrition. The purpose of a bland diet is to soothe the digestive system and promote healing while providing essential nutrients for your dog’s recovery. It typically consists of easily digestible foods that are gentle on the stomach.

Chicken and Rice: A Classic Bland Diet Option

One of the most common and effective options for a bland diet is the combination of chicken and rice. Chicken and rice are easily digestible ingredients commonly found in many commercial dog foods. Here’s how you can prepare a chicken and rice meal for your dog:

  1. Start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  2. Cook the chicken thoroughly, ensuring there is no pink in the center.
  3. Remove any excess fat and cut or shred the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.
  4. Cook white rice separately, following the instructions on the package.
  5. Mix the cooked chicken with the cooked rice in a ratio of 1:2 (one part chicken to two parts rice).
  6. Feed your dog small, frequent meals of this chicken and rice mixture.

It’s important to note that the chicken should be plain and unseasoned. Avoid using oils, butter, and added seasonings, as they can irritate your dog’s stomach and worsen the symptoms. Additionally, always ensure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly to prevent any potential bacterial contamination.

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Shredded Chicken: An Appetizing Option for Dogs with Decreased Appetite

If your dog is experiencing a decreased appetite, shredded chicken can be an enticing and easy-to-digest option. Plain, unseasoned, boiled, and shredded chicken is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids, making it a nutritious snack for dogs feeling under the weather. Here’s how you can prepare shredded chicken for your dog:

  1. Start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
  2. Boil the chicken until it is fully cooked and tender.
  3. Remove any excess fat and shred the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.
  4. Serve the shredded chicken to your dog as a standalone meal or mix it with a small amount of plain, cooked rice.

Shredded chicken can also be frozen for future use, making it a convenient option to have on hand for your dog’s upset stomach episodes.

The Benefits of Pumpkin in Soothing Digestive Upset

Pumpkin is another ingredient that can provide digestive health benefits for dogs. It is high in fiber, which helps regulate the canine digestive system. Cooked, peeled, unsalted, and unseasoned pumpkin contains a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese. Here’s how you can incorporate pumpkin into your dog’s diet:

  1. Feed your dog one to four tablespoons of plain, canned pumpkin, depending on their size.
  2. Make sure to use plain pumpkin and avoid pumpkin pie filling, which contains spices and sugars that can irritate your dog’s stomach.
  3. You can also purchase pumpkin supplements designed specifically for dogs to add to their food.

The addition of pumpkin to your dog’s diet can help regulate mild constipation and provide a nutritional boost while soothing their upset stomach.

Bone Broth: A Nutritious and Soothing Liquid Meal

Bone broth is a gentle and nutritious option for dogs with upset stomachs. It is easily digestible and provides moisture and flavor to dry food, making it an excellent choice for dogs with decreased appetites. Here’s how you can make bone broth for your dog:

  1. Choose beef marrow bones or bones with plenty of joints, such as turkey or chicken legs.
  2. Place the bones in a crock-pot and cover them with two to three inches of water.
  3. Cook the bones on low heat for 20 to 24 hours.
  4. Once the broth is ready, let it cool in the fridge and remove any hardened fat from the top.
  5. Store the broth in the refrigerator or freeze it in small containers for future use.

It’s important to note that while bone broth is beneficial for dogs, it’s crucial to remove all bones from the broth before serving it to your pet. Cooked bones can splinter and pose a choking hazard or cause internal injuries.

Baby Food: A Gentle Option for Dogs with Upset Stomachs

In certain cases, veterinary emergency hospitals may use baby food to feed dogs with upset stomachs. Baby food is easily swallowed and digested, making it a convenient option for administering oral medications. When selecting baby food for your dog, opt for Stage II meat-based varieties such as chicken, lamb, or turkey. Ensure that the baby food does not contain any ingredients or additives that might be toxic to dogs, such as garlic or onion powder.

It’s worth noting that while baby food can be suitable for dogs with upset stomachs, it should not be used as a long-term solution or a replacement for a balanced diet. Always consult with your veterinarian for guidance on the appropriate use of baby food in your dog’s diet.

Commercial Options for Dogs with Upset Stomachs

If preparing a homemade bland diet is not feasible for you, there are commercial options available specifically formulated for dogs with upset stomachs. These specialized dog foods are designed to be easily digestible and gentle on the stomach. Some recommended brands include Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d, Purina EN Gastroenteric, and Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable commercial option for your dog’s specific needs.

Introducing a Bland Diet to Your Dog

When introducing a bland diet to your dog, it’s essential to follow your veterinarian’s instructions and guidelines. Here’s a general timeline for introducing a bland diet to your dog:

  1. Wait 12-24 hours after the initial digestive episode before feeding your dog anything.
  2. During this fasting period, offer your dog small amounts of water or ice chips to prevent dehydration.
  3. Once your dog can hold down water, gradually introduce small portions of the bland diet.
  4. Start with 1-2 tablespoons of food every two to three hours, and if tolerated well, increase the amount and decrease the frequency of feeding over time.
  5. Monitor your dog’s response to the bland diet, and if their symptoms persist or worsen, consult with your veterinarian for further guidance.

It’s important to keep in mind that a bland diet is not intended to be a long-term solution. Once your dog’s symptoms have resolved and their stool returns to normal, you can gradually transition them back to their regular diet.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

While a bland diet can be helpful for managing mild upset stomachs in dogs, it’s crucial to recognize when veterinary care is necessary. If your dog’s symptoms worsen, persist for an extended period, or if you notice any concerning signs such as blood in vomit or stool, weakness, or pale gums, it’s important to seek immediate veterinary attention. A veterinarian will be able to evaluate your dog’s condition, provide a proper diagnosis, and recommend the most appropriate course of treatment.


Dealing with an upset stomach in your dog can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and care, you can help your furry friend feel better. A bland diet consisting of easily digestible foods such as chicken and rice, shredded chicken, pumpkin, bone broth, and baby food can provide relief and essential nutrients for your dog’s recovery. It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s guidance and monitor your dog’s response to the diet. Remember, if your dog’s symptoms persist or worsen, seek veterinary care for a proper diagnosis and treatment. By providing the right nutrition and care, you can help your dog get back to their happy and healthy self.

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