Bland Food to Help Sick Dogs Recover Faster

Some dogs seem to have dodgy doggy tummies, and easily get upset stomachs leading to vomiting and diarrhea with any changes to their diet, environment, or routine. Other dogs seem to be able to eat almost anything, and that is the problem, they do eat almost anything. Eventually, their luck runs out, and they ingest something that makes them sick!

When digestive problems occur, pet owners should determine the cause, if possible, and obtain appropriate veterinary attention to address possible blockages, poisoning, or other digestive conditions. Some digestive conditions require medication, or even surgical intervention. However, if it is determined your dog is just suffering from some run of the mill tummy upset, recovering from surgery and anesthetic, or if they need help recovering from more serious digestive conditions after appropriate medical attention has been provided, a bland diet to help their digestive system recover normal functioning may be recommended.

Starting a Bland Diet
If your dog has experienced a bout of tummy trouble with vomiting and/or diarrhea it is usually advisable to withhold food for several hours to allow the dog’s system to clear whatever is upsetting their digestive system. If a day or two is required without food, water supplemented with Pedialyte can be provided to maintain electrolyte balance during fasting. Water should be offered in small amounts, and if no vomiting occurs, then a bland diet can be introduced slowly. It is important to ensure the dog stays hydrated, so if they are vomiting on water, you should seek supportive care from a veterinarian that can provide intravenous fluids if necessary.

What Makes a Bland Diet so…. Bland?

The key to a bland diet is to provide foods that are easily digestible and do not contain seasonings or fat that can cause further gas or stomach upset.

Examples of bland diets include:

-Boiled lean meat, including chicken, hamburger, or turkey, mixed half and half with boiled white rice.
-No spices or seasoning should be added
-Fat should be skimmed off boiled meat
-Fish can also be used as a meat
-Potatoes, sweet potato, or oatmeal can be used if rice is unpalatable to your dog
-Yogurt can be provided to reestablish healthy gut flora and can make bland food more palatable
-Canned pumpkin may help firm up stool after diarrhea.
-Commercially available bland diets are usually available from your veterinarian, if you are unable to, or do not wish to make your own

Small amounts, about 1 tablespoon, should be offered at first, and then wait to see if vomiting occurs. If not, you can gradually increase the amount, and the frequency of bland food offered, to ¼ of their usual diet 4 times a day. After a day or two, you can start combining bland food with their regular food, until they are gradually back on their usual diet. Bland diets should not be continued for the long term as they lack some nutritional requirements your dog needs.

When to Go Bland
When dogs experience a distressed digestive system due to something they have eaten, digestive disorder, disease, or after a surgical procedure, a bland diet that does not further stress their digestive system allows the dog time to recover while providing food that soothes their digestive system and gets things “moving” again, so to speak! Boiled meat, rice and potatoes are good components of a bland diet that can be fed for a few days until your dog is able to process their normal diet again. Commercial foods are also available to meet the requirements of a bland soothing diet. We all know what it's like to feel sick and queasy, and a simple bland diet for a few days helps support your dog's digestive system and allow it to return to normal functioning without causing further distress.
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