What To Feed My Dog With Diarrhea

What To Feed My Dog With Diarrhea

It's not something any dog owner wants to deal with, but just like humans, dogs can occasionally experience health issues, and one of the most common and distressing problems they face is diarrhea.

But fear not, for there is hope and help at hand. In our guide, we'll explore the vital steps to take when your canine companion is plagued by diarrhea, with a particular focus on what to feed them during this unpleasant time.

By understanding the causes, symptoms, and appropriate dietary choices, you can help your beloved furbuddy on the road to recovery and support their digestive health for years to come. So, let's delve into the world of canine gastrointestinal distress and discover the best ways to nurture your pup back to good digestive health.

Is Your Dog's Diarrhea an Emergency?

The first thing you should do when you see your dog having diarrhea is rule out a medical emergency that warrants a call to the vet. In most cases of diarrhea, diarrhea is simply an uncomfortable disturbance that quickly resolves itself. However, in rare cases, it can be life-threatening.

Symptoms to watch out for:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Prolong diarrhea that goes on for more than a day or two

  • Vomiting

  • Panting rapidly

If you notice any of the above symptoms coincide with diarrhea, please immediately reach out to your dog's vet.

What Causes Diarrhea In Dogs?

Everything from sudden changes in your dog's regular food to intestinal parasites can result in them experiencing diarrhea.

Here are the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs:

  • Eating garbage or spoiled food

  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones, and fabric

  • Ingesting toxins or poisons

  • Stress or anxiety

  • Change in diet or treats

  • New medication/medications such as antibiotics

  • Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus

  • Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia, or Giardia

  • Bacterial infections - such as salmonella

  • Pancreatitis

  • Liver or kidney disease

  • Intestinal cancer

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Colitis

As you can see, there are many reasons our dogs don't always see normal bowel movements, so make sure you are regularly paying attention to their bathroom habits while being on the lookout for the other symptoms we discussed above.

When To Feed Your Dog With Diarrhea

It's good to give your dog's stomach and digestive tract time to rest after they have diarrhea. Generally, for adult medium dogs as well as large dogs, try withholding food for 6-12 hours. It's not generally recommended that you withhold food from puppies, small toy breads such as chihuahuas, and senior dogs with health issues.

Regardless, your dog should always have access to fresh water, as prolonged diarrhea can cause dehydration due to fluid loss. In extreme cases, this can cause the kidneys to shut down.

Five Foods to Feed Dogs With Upset Stomachs

Before we dive into five great homemade foods to feed dogs with diarrhea, let's go over some general rules.

First, regardless of the food you choose to give them, start them off with a small meal. For small breads, just a tablespoon or two. For larger breads, two to four tablespoons.

Second, there is little need to season your dog's food with salt, spices, butter, oil, etc. Fats, in particular, should be avoided in favor of bland proteins and starches. Might seem boring, but a bland meal is perfect for dogs struggling with bouts of diarrhea.

Pumpkin

Plain canned pumpkin is a go-to for many pet parents when they see their dog is experiencing digestive issues such as diarrhea. In general, pumpkin is a fantastic treat for digestion thanks to its high soluble and insoluble fiber content that feeds and nourishes good bacteria in the gut.

When looking to give your dog pumpkin, make sure to avoid pumpkin pie filling, raw pumpkin, and pumpkin spice foods. Bland food is the key to helping your dog with diarrhea, and canned pumpkin works best. Sweet potatoes are another excellent option that you can feed your dog to support their digestive system.

Plain Rice

Plain rice is a quick and easy meal that you can whip up for a dog with an upset stomach. White rice is usually the best as opposed to brown rice due to its easily digestible starches. You also want to avoid minute rice. White potatoes can be used as a substitute. Just make sure to cook them first.

Simple, Lean Protein (E.g. Plain Chicken)

Lean protein like chicken breast sans skin, lean ground beef, and turkey are all great low-fat meals gentle on an upset stomach. Boiled chicken is one of the first go-to for many pet parents, but boiled hamburger is great too. Just make sure it's as lean as possible.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is a great way to help rehydrate your dog while getting some vital vitamins and minerals in their system that can help with diarrhea. Now, bone broth won't add bulk to your dog's diet, which is extremely helpful for helping them stay regular. However, it's very easy on a dog's stomach, and sometimes when their stomach is super sensitive, just getting them some hydration and nutrients into their system is good.

Prescription Dog Food

There are many options on there on the market for food formulated to address digestive issues such as diarrhea. You can use the ChefPaw app for a long list of fresh meals that many pet parents find considerably help their dogs with digestive issues. In particular, our specialty section, which contains recipes for dogs with special dietary requirements, can be of great help. 

Additionally, the app can connect you to a veterinary nutritionist who can create custom recipes designed to help your dog's digestive health.

Cooking With ChefPaw

From unknown ingredients to poor-quality foods, commercial dog foods often fail to support a dog's health. Rich with healthy calories, easily digestible foods, and gently cooked ingredients, most dogs see considerable improvements in their digestive health when their regular feeding is switched to a fresh diet created with whole foods.

With the ability to easily customize recipes, ChefPaw is perfect for creating meals that can help with loose stools while supporting your dog's health.

When switching to a new food, regardless of your dog's diet, it's important to slowly transition to their new diet over a period of 1-2 weeks. Making the switch too fast can promote digestive issues such as diarrhea. 

Other Options for Pets With Food Intolerances or Preferences

Besides withholding food for 6-12 hours, temporarily switching to a bland diet after, and then eventually making a diet change to a fresh diet that can better support your dog's digestive tract, pet parents have a few other options that can help their dog's diarrhea.

Probiotics

Supporting the beneficial bacteria that reside in your dog's gut, which you can do with probiotics, can go far in helping your dog's stomach issues. Overgrowth of bad bacteria can result in infections that cause diarrhea, which probiotics help reduce.

Then, good bacterial strains, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, can help reduce gut inflammation while reducing stress. Both stress and inflammation are common causes for why a dog may be experiencing diarrhea.

Kaolin Clay and Pectin

Kaolin clay and pectin is an over-the-counter gastrointestinal protectant that is used to treat diarrhea and certain toxicities. This medication is very similar to Pepto-Bismol and works by attracting and holding onto bacteria and germs that may be causing diarrhea.

FAQ

Why Turkey Over Beef?

Turkey, along with chicken, is a very lean protein compared to most cuts of beef. Fat can exacerbate diarrhea symptoms, so while you can give your dog beef, you'll want it to be from the leanest cuts.

Is Rice Or Oatmeal Better For Dogs With Diarrhea?

Both rice and oatmeal in moderation can help a dog with diarrhea. White rice is a little easier to digest and has less fiber, while oatmeal will be a little harder to digest due to having higher fiber. Both will bind with water in the bowel and add bulk to your dog's bowel movements.

So both are good options, and it can come down to whichever one your dog prefers. If they don't take a particular stance with either, white rice might be the better option to start with.

Is Scrambled Egg Good For Dogs With Diarrhea?

Packed full of protein and very easy to digest, you might be surprised to hear that scrambled eggs are a good option for dogs with diarrhea. As with the other foods we suggested, make sure you keep the eggs plain and free from milk, cheese, salt, and butter.

What Should I Not Feed A Dog Who Has Diarrhea?

Besides keeping food plain and bland, which means no seasonings, butter, or oils, it's generally recommended you avoid giving your dog fruits and high-fat foods. Fruits won't necessarily exacerbate symptoms of diarrhea, but they are unlikely to help. You should withhold table scraps and treats as well.

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