What Are Easily Digestible Foods for a Sick Dog?

A canine bland diet is food that is easily digestible and low fat to aid in stomach discomfort. Lean, cooked meats and rice or nonfat yogurt give a sick dog food that tastes good while soothing his stomach. Dogs and puppies alike can sometimes consume things they shouldn't and have gastrointestinal distress that manifests itself as vomiting or diarrhea.

Puppy eating
A small puppy next to some dog food.
credit: vichuda/iStock/Getty Images

Bland Diets

Long grain rice close up
Long grain white rice.
credit: MaaraJuberte/iStock/Getty Images

Your veterinarian can suggest bland commercial dog foods for your sick pet, or you can make your own food at home.

A bland diet can be made from normal "people food" that most pet owners have on hand. Pour 6 cups of water into a pot on the stove and add 1 cup of long-grain white rice and 1/2 pound of lean meat such as hamburger, ground chicken or turkey. The meat should have no bones or skin to decrease the fat content that can irritate a sick tummy. Boil the ingredients and simmer on low for 25 minutes. Allow the food to cool before offering it to your dog in small amounts.

You can substitute tofu or nonfat cottage cheese for the meat. If you use cottage cheese, add it after the other ingredients are cooked. Store the food with cottage cheese in your refrigerator.

Feeding Schedule

Golden Retriever
A golden retriever lying on grass next to a bowl of water.
credit: Dragon2573/iStock/Getty Images

Withholding food and water from your sick dog allows his digestive tract to rest so he doesn't vomit or have diarrhea. Do not offer a dog who is vomiting or having diarrhea anything for 24 hours for an adult or six hours for puppies less than 4 months of age.

Feed very small amounts to your ailing dog several times a day for three days and offer him small amounts of water. The smaller portions allow reduction of the stomach acid at each meal to decrease stomach irritation. Gradually increase the amount of food and water intake each day.

Liquid Diet

Chicken stock, bouillon, broth, clear soup
A bowl of chicken broth.
credit: Photosiber/iStock/Getty Images

If your dog is not drinking any water for 12 hours, dehydration sets in. You can put equal amounts of unflavored electrolyte replacement and water in your pooch's water dish.

Your sick friend may be enticed to drink liquids if you offer him low-sodium beef or chicken broth without onions.

Rice water gives your dog some nutrition if he will not eat. Boil 1 cup of long-grain white rice in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes, allow it to cool and pour the liquid off.

Allow your dog to have as much liquids as he wants, unless he starts vomiting. If he vomits, limit the liquids. But don't allow him to become dehydrated.

Veterinary Visit

Happy Veterinarian Checking Dog In Hospital
A smiling vet with a dog.
credit: tetmc/iStock/Getty Images

Dog's who are on bland or liquid diets and do not show marked improvement within three days need to see your veterinarian. Another underlying cause may exist than just an upset tummy that needs attention.