Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
The recipes for a bland dog diet were quite popular when we got frantic last-minute calls from owners dealing with doggy diarrhea at the vet's office. It was often too late for scheduling the dog to come in, yet symptoms were mild enough to skip the after-hour emergency hospital referral. So, after performing a form of patient triage over the phone, we often gave out these recipes. We had these recipes readily stored in our notebooks so we could glance at them as needed, but most of us knew them by heart after giving them out over and over.
Most clients were often grateful of being offered bland diet recipes for dogs option since it saved them often from a vet trip and a costly bill, and not surprisingly, the case of digestive upset often resolved on its own, and the dog's chart was put back on the shelf. I could almost count on my hands the number of dogs who came in a few days later still with some issues.
So when should you try a bland diet for dogs with digestive issues? Bland diets should be exclusively used for mild cases when you are aware of what could have possibly been the culprit, and it's not a medical emergency. For instance, if you just switched your dog's diet and didn't follow the protocol of introducing the new food gradually or if you know your endured in a dietary indiscretion such as lapped up some milk and you know for a fact that he is a bit lactose intolerant. Other examples where a bland diet may be helpful is when dogs get a bit of a tummy upset from being in the car, moving or undergoing changes that make them a bit stressed.
You shouldn't try a bland diet if you're not sure what your dog ingested and what could have triggered the digestive upset. There are chances your dog may have ingested something potentially toxic, and in such a case, you definitively shouldn't wasting your time on trying home remedies! Also, you shouldn't be trying a bland dog diet if your dog has severe symptoms such as continuous vomiting, continuous liquid diarrhea, lethargy, bloody or tarry stools, lack of appetite, fever and other worrisome symptoms that should warrant a vet visit.
There are also many other medical conditions that may look like a case of digestive upset, but that can be a much more serious issue. Puppies with vomiting or diarrhea should see the vet as they can get dehydrated quickly and to rule out life-threatening parvo. There are many other serious conditions that warrant a vet visit. Please use extreme caution and common sense when trying to treat something at home. Time is of the essence in some cases, so don't make the mistake of regretting a choice that could turn out risky. When in doubt, get on route to your dog's vet. Adhere to the better safe than sorry protocol to prevent any anguish.
Bland Dog Diet Recipes
What's a bland dog diet recipe? It's a recipe meant to be given to dogs with some form of self-limiting digestive upset. In this case, we're tackling mostly bland diets for dog diarrhea. For bland diets for upset stomach and vomiting protocols, read my article on vet approved dog upset stomach home remedies.
The most common recipes for bland diets include low-fat foods. The following are several recipes of bland diet for dogs with digestive upset. Dr. McCullough on the College of Veterinary Medicine - University of Illinois website suggests withholding food (not water) for 12 to 24 hours prior to feeding a bland diet. If you own a very young puppy or a small breed prone to dog hypoglycemia, consult with your vet first.
Recipe 1: Classic Rice and Hamburger Bland Diet for Dogs
- White rice
- Lean Hamburger
Boil the rice in a container and make sure it's well cooked and tender. Cooking it separately from the hamburger helps reduce the absorption of fat. In the meanwhile, boil in another container some lean hamburger, making sure you drain off all the fat and that you're using a lean cut. For greater benefits, the rice should comprise the bulky part of the meal. "Start your pet on small frequent meals of the boiled hamburger and rice and see if the diarrhea stops" further suggests Dr. McCullough on the College of Veterinary Medicine - University of Illinois website.
Recipe 2: Classic Rice and Chicken Bland Diet for Dogs
- White rice
- Chicken breast
Boil the rice in a container and make sure it's well cooked and tender. In the meanwhile, boil in another container the skinless and boneless chicken breast. For greater benefits, the rice should comprise the bulky part of the meal. Veterinarian and Just Answer expert Dr. Fiona suggests a mixture of 75% cooked white rice, and 25% low-fat protein such as boiled chicken breast with any fat scooped off.
Recipe 3: Ground Turkey and Plain Pumpkin Bland Diet for Dogs
- Ground turkey
- Plain pumpkin
This recipe is recommended by veterinarian Karen Becker (see video below) which offers an interesting twist on the classic bland diet recipes many vets recommend. She states that even lean hamburger contains fat which is not ideal for a bland diet and can exacerbate the diarrhea and that rice can ferment in the dog's stomach causing gassiness. She therefore suggests cooking ground turkey and adding pureed plain pumpkin (not the pie type with added spices).
Recipe 4: Plain Scrambled Egg
Don't have rice or chicken or hamburger or turkey or pumpkin? Don't despair. Some scrambled eggs may be an option for your dog's bland diet according to South Peninsula Veterinary Emergency Clinic.
How long should you feed this diet? .It should be fed for a minimum of 3 to 5 days, by which the stools should be better formed. Afterward, you can start gradually mixing the bland diet with your dog's regular diet over the next several days until the regular diet replaces the bland diet totally according to Mokena Animal Clinic.
Disclaimer: this article is not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary or nutritional advice. If your dog has a digestive issue, consult with your vet so any serious conditions can be ruled out. By reading this article, you accept this disclaimer.
Veterinarian Karen Becker Explains Causes of Diarrhea and the Best Bland Diet
For Further Reading
- Dog Health: Why is My Dog Vomiting?
This article addresses common causes of dog vomiting and a guide to help pinpoint the problem. If in doubt, see your vet as vomiting in dogs can be caused by serious problems.
- Dog Health: Understanding Pancreatitis in Dogs
What is canine pancreatitis? Why does the dog's pancreas get inflamed? What are treatments for pancreatitis in dogs? Learn more about this debilitating condition.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2013 Adrienne Farricelli
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 23, 2020:
Stress can certainly play a number on dogs when there are routine changes and their favorite person is suddenly going go work, however, it would be best to play it safe and consult with a vet on this, just to make sure there isn't anything medically going on, also considering that she didn't go to greet your brother. If she has been vomiting, it could the that she hasn't had many bowel movements due to not being much food in her stomach.
AmylvdMerwe on May 23, 2020:
Our Husky x Labrador had been vomiting at least once a day the last week. she is 8 years old Got all her vaccinations etc. Usually when the other dogs play she plays with, but she was just laying there, it was a mixture of water, slime, and food she brought up, from last night's food as well as a bit of. she usually lies on a specific spot on the stoop but this morning while I was chatting to my neighbor on a safe distance of cause, she came and lie in a very strange place she never did. lied there before. could it be cos my brother started working again after the lockdown after 3 weeks about now it is his dog?
Could it be that she is stressed perhaps?
She also at first didn't want to eat the rice and chicken tonight but ate it now. or constipated perhaps as I haven't seen heer feces anywhere?
What can we give here to stop stressing if it is that or for constipation if it is that?
as I was sitting with here today she wined a little bit soft and she did not come to greet him by the door.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 23, 2018:
Zella, there are many causes for diarrhea. Since it's been going on for 4 days despite the bland diet, you should really see your vet so to find the underlying cause. Bring a stool sample in as well to have it tested for parasites.
zella farmer on August 23, 2018:
can someone help me my 10mo old puppy has been having diarrhea for 4 days been giving him chicken and rice not forming normal bowel moment yet what can I do now ?
Nancy on October 07, 2016:
How much rice and how much turkey meat would be the right amount for a 25 pound cocker spaniel?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 16, 2016:
It's not meant to be given long term as it's not nutritionally complete. That's what the vets told us to tell our clients.Generally, should be stopped when the stools are back to solid. Sounds like your dog is trying to convince you to give it all the time, smart dog!
SewHappy58 on August 10, 2016:
How long is too long? Our dog was experiencing stomach problems that included diarrhea and grumbly stomach. We put her on a bland diet of rice and chicken and now she is so much better. She has been on the bland diet for about a week. We also gave her a dog multi vitamin just to be sure she got her nutrition. How long should we leave her on this diet? Obviously she loves it to the point she is licking her bowl!
Tim Zernick on July 15, 2016:
My advice for bland - is use the same water you boil your chicken in for your rice (skim the fat first). Dog loves it.
If you do egg, use the microwave.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 27, 2015:
If your dog eats a lot more, it's normal to poop a lot more. While dogs can get blood in their stool from being stressed, there are many other causes for blood in stool. You may want to see your vet to rule out other conditions. An increase in eating can be due to not engaging in other activities, but as with blood in poop, there are also medical conditions that can cause an increase in appetite, especially in senior dogs. There are many activities dogs with visual impairments can engage in. For meal time, you can spread his kibble around the house so he must use his nose to find them, you can google games for blind dogs to try to keep him from feeling stressed by this change.
Shirley on September 20, 2015:
We found out a month ago our dog is blind from macular Degeneration:( he now wants to eat all the time. Is this normal ? He poops alot more now. Today I saw blood in his stool:( is he eating more now because he is stressed out about being blind. And is the blood from stress? I am so sad about his blindness. He went from swimming everyday to not wanting anything to do with the pool ! He also loved to play with his tennis balls. Not any more:( he was like a puppy before this happened. Heartbroken in Tennessee. I love my fur baby. Tucker is his name.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 01, 2013:
ClaireDixon, I hope your dog gets better soon! Thanks for stopping by!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 01, 2013:
Some dogs aren't really too fond of these diets until the meat component is added to entice them.
Claire Dixon from Billingham, Cleveland. UK on April 30, 2013:
I have a husky with a very sensitive stomach, at one point he looked so bad you'd think he had been neglected/abused. He has never eaten properly (some of which I blame the breeders for - he has had lots of health problems) he wouldn't even entertain the diet that the vet put him on which included rice and fresh fish. I shall keep the recipes on hand just in case we go through another bad patch. Thank you! :)
Agnes on April 30, 2013:
I never had to feed my dog like this, but I KNOW he would be in heaven :-)
Phoebe Pike on April 27, 2013:
Now, if only I had a dog...