Bland Diets for Dogs With Diarrhea

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Acute diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance and, over time, lead to nutritional deficiencies and an overall health decline. To treat acute, intermittent diarrhea, feed your dog a bland diet and fresh, filtered water to allow the gastrointestinal system to rest and recover. Watch for other symptoms, including lethargy, confusion, vomiting or blood in the stool; these can indicate a more serious problem.

Withhold Food

  • Begin by withholding food for 12 to 24 hours to allow the gastrointestinal tract to rest and flush any toxins from the system. If she shows signs of dehydration, provide salt-free broth to encourage fluid consumption.
    Test for dehydration by pulling the skin between her shoulder blades. It should snap back into position immediately. If the skin snaps back slowly---or worse, stays ridged--your dog needs fluids quickly. Fill a needleless syringe or turkey buster with water. Tilt your dog's head back slightly and squirt the contents towards the back of the throat. If this is not practical or possible for you, contact your veterinarian. Dehydration is serious and your dog may need intravenous fluids.

Introduce A Bland Diet

  • After your dog's fast, feed a bland diet. Mix two parts cooked, cooled white rice and one part boiled ground chicken or beef. Feed about half of your dog's daily rations in four to six servings for a day. If your dog will not eat white rice, plain boiled potato or cooked oatmeal can be substituted. A tablespoon of yogurt can be added as well. If you wish to use cottage cheese, squeeze as much liquid from the cheese as possible to reduce the lactose content.

Slowly Reintroduce Regular Food

  • Over the next three days, mix your dog's regular food with the bland foods, tapering off the rice and meat mix and increasing food volume until quantities have returned to normal.
    If your dog's symptoms return, your dog may have a food sensitivity to an ingredient in her food. Switch to a limited-ingredient dog food to test for hidden allergies. Limited ingredient foods contain alternative proteins like duck or venison and do not contain many of the common sources of food allergies and sensitivities such as corn, wheat or soy. These commercial dog foods are nutritionally complete and can be fed indefinitely.

    Consider adding a probiotic supplement to your dog's diet to increase the beneficial bacteria found in a healthy gut.

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