I am a software professional from India interested in dogs, technology, travel, and real estate.
Diarrhea and upset stomach are common issues for canines. If you have a pet dog, you know that they often eat things that they shouldn't. It's normal for their digestive system to respond by becoming sensitive and purging itself through vomiting or diarrhea.
Nearly all dogs will experience nausea and diarrhea at some point. Depending on your dog's diet, age, and temperament, this issue will vary in frequency, extent, and intensity. Usually, an upset stomach or diarrhea are acute, meaning they're a spontaneous response to something the dog ate. Chronic, or repeated, digestive issues may indicate a serious issue. If your dog vomits or has diarrhea often, contact your vet immediately to rule out the possibility of a chronic illness.
If the problem is only temporary, consider these 12 foods that can help alleviate an upset stomach, help avoid dehydration, and help your dog feel better.
Foods to Give Your Dog When They Have Diarrhea or an Upset Stomach
All of the following foods should be served plain and unseasoned:
- white rice
- boiled boneless, skinless chicken breast meat
- mashed boiled potatoes
- mashed cooked carrots
- cottage cheese
- pumpkin (canned or pureed)
- mashed sweet potatoes
- boiled egg
- vet-approved probiotics
What to Do When Your Dog Has Diarrhea
When dogs are suffering from an upset stomach or diarrhea, they need more of your care and attention. Here are some things you can try to help relieve their upset stomach and make them more comfortable.
- Call Your Vet: Just to be on the safe side, call your vet and let them know your dog has diarrhea. It's a common issue for dogs, but your vet will ask you questions to help determine the cause and best treatment.
- Fasting: The American Kennel Club recommends withholding food for 12-14 hours while providing adequate amounts of fresh water. Water consumption may relieve dehydration. Note that fasting is only recommended for healthy adult dogs. Dogs under one year of age and geriatric dogs are at risk of developing hypoglycemia/low blood sugar if they do not eat. Also, dogs with a chronic illness (like diabetes) should not fast unless their vet suggests otherwise.
- Bland Diet: After fasting, you can start feeding your dog a bland diet of three parts plain cooked rice and one part boiled, unseasoned boneless and skinless chicken breast.
- Slowly Incorporate Regular Food: With the support of your vet, you can slowly incorporate your dog's regular food into his diet (e.g., 1/4 dog food and 3/4 bland food from the list below, then 1/2 and 1/2, and so forth).
- No Physical Activity: Any physical activity, such as long walks, running, chasing, jumping, or playing with another dog should be avoided until your dog is behaving normally. Strenuous physical activity will slow down recovery and could make your dog even sicker.
- Watch for Dehydration: If your dog is losing body fluids through vomiting and/or diarrhea, keep an eye on them for signs of dehydration. See below for what to look for and how to respond.
When to Call Your Veterinarian
If your dog has diarrhea, call your veterinarian to be on the safe side. Your vet will ask you a series of questions to determine how severe the diarrhea is:
- When it started.
- How many bowel movements your dog has had.
- What the poop looks like (especially, is there blood in it?).
- How your dog is behaving (fever? in pain? vomiting?).
- Whether your dog has recently eaten something toxic.
1. White Rice
Vets often recommend white rice as the most ideal option for curing diarrhea caused by dehydration because it is easily digestible. Rice contains soluble fiber that absorbs water passing through the GI tract, which helps to stabilize the stool.
How to prepare and serve:
- Boil a cup of white rice in 4 cups of water for 20-30 minutes (or until it becomes creamy white).
- Do not add salt or sugar.
- Don’t serve the rice warm. Serve at room temperature instead.
- You can serve the rice with plain boiled chicken or unseasoned ground beef.
2. Boiled Chicken Meat
Boil some boneless, skinless chicken meat and then shred it into small pieces. The best way to serve this food to your dog is to spoon out three parts cooked plain rice and combine with one part cooked chicken. This combination is recommended by many veterinarians in cases of canine diarrhea, but only if the dog has not vomited for six hours.
Pumpkin is another good food option to calm an upset stomach and treat diarrhea, as recommended by the American Kennel Club.
- Pumpkin is a rich source of soluble fiber and water, which helps to delay gastric emptying and slow down GI transit times (and the number of episodes of diarrhea).
- It is also easily digestible and delivers instant energy.
How to prepare:
1. Canned Pumpkin
Give 1-4 tablespoons of unsalted, canned pumpkin per meal depending on the size of your dog, says Dr. Rachel Barrack, a veterinarian in New York City. Pumpkin provides about five calories and .4 grams of soluble fiber per tablespoon.
2. Cooked Rice and Boiled Mashed Pumpkin
- Boil pumpkin until soft.
- Mash the pumpkin into a purée and mix with a little bit of rice. Serve at room temperature. Don't add sugar or salt.
4. Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes are a good source of vitamins C, B6, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Note: Dogs should only eat mashed potatoes occasionally because they contain high amounts of sugar and starch, which can develop into fat and cause weight gain.
5. Boiled and Mashed Carrots
Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A, contain good amounts of vitamins K and C, and are good sources of potassium and fiber. Because they are soft, bland, and packed with nutrients, cooked carrots are good for dogs suffering from diarrhea or digestion problems.
How to prepare:
- Make sure to remove the end of the carrot and wash thoroughly before cooking.
- You can cut carrots into little pieces and cook together with rice.
- Another option is to boil and mash the carrots into a purée.
6. Baked and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are among the richest food sources of Vitamin A. They also contain vitamins C, B6, B5, manganese, potassium, and fiber. Like pumpkins and carrots, the fiber in sweet potatoes may help alleviate an upset stomach.
How to prepare and serve:
- Make sure to cook sweet potatoes thoroughly. Never serve raw.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into quarters and boil for about 20 minutes. Then mash with a potato masher.
7. Boiled Egg
Eggs are very nutritious and contain ample amounts of protein and vitamins.
How to serve:
- Never feed your dog raw eggs. Raw eggs may contain bacteria like salmonella, which can cause food poisoning.
- Either mash up boiled eggs or make them scrambled and mix with white rice. Again, don't add salt or any other seasoning.
Probiotics are microorganisms that help stop bad or undesirable bacteria from overgrowing in the gut. Vet-approved probiotics for animals, like Fortiflora made by Purina, increase the level of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Fortiflora comes in a powder form that can be sprinkled over food.
Oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber, which helps delay gastric emptying and helps control diarrhea. It is very effective for senior dogs with bowel irregularity issues.
How to serve:
- Cook thoroughly. Raw or half-cooked oatmeal can be dangerous, especially when your dog is suffering from diarrhea.
- Don't add any sugar or flavoring. Serve at room temperature.
10. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese contains high amounts of protein and fat, which help solidify waste. Vets recommend feeding cottage cheese to dogs sparingly, and only if the dogs do not have lactose intolerance. Cottage cheese may be too rich and could exacerbate diarrhea if served in excess. Try mixing it with rice for a well-balanced meal.
Watermelon is low in fat, calories, and cholesterol but high in vitamins A, B6, C, and potassium. It also contains lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and strengthens the immune system. The high fiber and water content in watermelon also serve double-duty to relieve your dog of dehydration and solidify waste.
Note: Some dogs may not take well to watermelon. Stop feeding immediately if unusual symptoms appear.
How to serve:
- Remove the seeds. Seeds will cause intestinal blockage and worsen the problem.
- Remove the rind. Ingestion of the rind may be dangerous.
- Cut into small pieces for easy digestion.
Dr. Rachel Barrack, a veterinarian in New York City, recommends offering banana to dogs with stomach upset or diarrhea. Some vets even suggest offering sliced banana as a treat for healthy dogs.
How to serve:
Mash banana and offer it alone or with rice. You can also slice the banana up and serve it in small pieces.
Signs That Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach
- Licks lips and/or swallows repeatedly. This may be a response to acid reflux.
- Eats grass. Grass can soothe a dog's upset stomach, or induce vomiting.
- Loss of appetite.
- Behavioral changes (lack of interest).
If your dog has any of the following symptoms, there may be a more serious issue going on. Contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Fever and/or shivering.
- Mucus or blood in stool.
- Sudden weight loss.
- Appears to be in pain.
- Lethargy or listlessness.
What Causes Upset Stomachs and Diarrhea in Dogs?
- They ate something that didn't agree with them. Dogs are curious and tend to mouth or ingest things they shouldn't.
- A change in their diet.
- Anxiety. Separation anxiety, lifestyle changes, or environmental stressors may cause upset stomach in dogs. A dog's stomach is influenced by the nervous system.
- A mild food allergy.
- Antibiotics. Upset stomach and diarrhea are common reactions to antibiotics. Call your vet, as your dog may not be keeping their medication down.
- Medications served on an empty stomach that were prescribed to be given with food.
Less common, but potentially more serious, causes of stomach irritation and diarrhea include:
- Bacterial or viral infection.
- Parasites, including roundworms and tapeworms.
- Viral fever.
- Accidental ingestion of human medications.
Signs of and Treatments for Dehydration in Dogs
One of the biggest worries for owners of pets that have diarrhea is that their animal will become dehydrated. Diarrhea leads to more rapid-than-normal fluid loss, which can lead to dehydration. This condition is particularly dangerous for puppies, juvenile dogs, and geriatric dogs, who could potentially develop emergency organ failure if dehydrated.
Some signs of dehydration include:
- Loss of appetite.
- Sunken eyes.
- Dry gums.
- Lack of skin elasticity. Lift the skin on the back of your dog's neck. If it doesn't slip back into normal position when you let go and stays tented, your dog may be dehydrated.
If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, contact your vet. Your vet may administer intravenous fluids. You can also give your dog unflavored Pedialyte at home to help them rehydrate.
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.
© 2016 ARADHYA
CiCis Mom on September 04, 2020:
I have a 2 year old Chihuahua Mini Pin (her name is CiCi) and we recently got a puppy (his name is Cinco) to give to my grandma because her dog died and CiCi after being around the pup for a week and a half developed diarrhea all of a sudden.. I asked my husband if CiCi ate grass when he took her out last and he said yes.. Could that be due to the pup?? The only time CiCi growls at the pup is when he goes for her bones, etc.. We don't give CiCi what she shouldn't have and she is up to date on all her shots.. Please what is your advice?? No blood or anything like that has been seen..
ARADHYA (author) on June 06, 2020:
You can feed boiled brown rice in less quantity (Half or less than his normal diet).
Alfie shitzhu age 10 on May 29, 2020:
Ok on eukanuba but won’t eat without some thing added but gets diarrhoea easily. Ok with Cesar added. Is this ok don’t know what else to give him. Chicken gives him diarrhoea please help.
Deepika on February 06, 2020:
I have a 8 month old mini golden doodle and he had been having chronic diarrhea for the past two months. He was on Hills Turkey I/D and has tried several things including: metronidazole (which helped but as soon as he is off it, we have mucosy bloody stools), fortifloura (instant diarrhea), hills chicken stew id (instant diarrhea). All his advanced fecal tests and giardia tests came back negative. His mal digestion profile shows an elevated folate account and he was prescribed Tylan powder for a month. We are on week 3 now and the diarrhea is gone after I switched him to health extension chicken and brown rice little bites and his poop is now soft. Probably due to added fiber because of the brown rice. I also feed him a spoon of pumpkin twice a day with his meals. I am going to try yogurt next. Is there anything else I can do short of trying different kibbles and seeing which one works?
ARADHYA (author) on January 18, 2020:
You must give them little warm water and rest.
And any if these suggested good in little (less than their normal diet) .
And if you see no improvement within few hours then must visit vet.
Also please check another part of this article what should not feed.
john gronvold on January 17, 2020:
i have 2 healer 3 month old pups and having digestive problems not eating diarrhea and not eating what can i give them to
Mess. Jeanie Elmes on January 16, 2020:
I have a 6year old Maltese xmini jack russel, she has lots of excerise,usually has a healthy diet I have always given her raw chicken breast ,sometimes My Dog she will not eat anything else,2days ago she had her yearly 2 needles and has not done a poop since is this normal she still has her usually chicken please advise me thank u
ARADHYA (author) on November 22, 2019:
Yes this is recommended by vets, but depends to breed, age and condition.
So, better to consult you vet.
Gayle on November 10, 2019:
Can I give my dog people pepto bismol?
Jackie on October 09, 2019:
Is it possible your GSD may have a fungus infection? My daughter’s GSD who just turned 4 yo has a fungal infection that is very serious. I know the UCDavis vet said it is common in the GSD breed. I’m not sure of the correct spelling of it but it is something like aspergillus.
Lover of German Shepherds on September 17, 2019:
I have bred and owned German Shepherds for 12 + years. I'm stumped now with my 2 yr. old female GSD. We recently lost her Mom, Grandma and Great uncle and sold the last puppy. She started having digestive issues within that week. Its been 6 weeks of visiting the Vet, Blood work, x rays. The Doctor put her on antibiotics for 2 weeks, stomach medicine going on 6 weeks. As soon as we finish meds, she is ill two days later. We are feeding chicken salmon, rice, sweet potatoes, dog probiotics. When she is ill, its coming out both ends, bloody, foul smell. Tests were all negative.
ARADHYA (author) on June 04, 2019:
If I can suggest, you should start with small amount / alternative days and iniatially keep observing for few days.
Mara D on June 03, 2019:
My German Shepherd loves pumpkin (no sugar, bland) cut up carrots washed and shave skin off, sweet potato baked and cooled, plain whole fat yogurt, boiled chicken and white rice cooled. I am going to try hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese and oatmeal. Thanks for suggestions
Al R on March 21, 2019:
Eggs can actually cause diarrhea, sure did in my Labrador!
German Queen on March 16, 2019:
Dogs defintinetly cant handle cut up potato carrots or onions they will become sick
Anonymous on January 04, 2019:
While some of this post is very helpful it’s very condescending. Dogs can handle a raw diet, this is what their systems are actually for. If dogs were out in the wild as their descendants (wolves) they would be hunting animals. They cannot go hunt kibble... Their systems can handle more than humans systems can. Raw is the best diet my dog every went to (whiter teeth, less shedding, better coat, amazing temperature).
Maryam scott on December 26, 2018:
Very helpful, i have an older Pom,and every time i change diet, her tummy gets upset. Maybe i wont change any more!!!! Was advised it’s good to change or add but not for her obviously.
So shes been rather bored of chicken and rice- being 3rd day!! Pumpkin and egg was a fave.
Hoping to get her back to the usual diet tomoro .... or s l o w l y over next 2 days more like it.
Annie on September 30, 2018:
I was wondering if could feed my dog rice all the time
Janet on September 24, 2018:
Thanks for the information. I thought it was the mashed potatoes. He must of ate something else wrong. Is grain free food good for dogs? He's an old Lab 12 yr. old.
Eunice on July 31, 2018:
This was so helpful my dog Kocoa has upset stomach & I was looking up what I can do as well as our vet was tell what to do at home. She said the same thing what to give her. Thank you
Adelina savala on July 13, 2018:
Can you please help me with my dog and her Diarrhea, it's going on a week, I have given her bland chicken and rice for over 2 weeks, and today she won't have nothing to do with rice or chicken.
Dr has given me medication for her sickness n diarrhea and still nothing is working. I’m at my wits with my poor dog and this constant diarrhea. I feel so bad for her. What can I give her to stop
TITO on June 17, 2018:
Tito lapped up some grease and as a result has the runs. Should I wait to feed him? Can I replace his regular dog food with something from the list above unroll the diarrhea stops?
Maxy on May 15, 2018:
My dog has orange stool and very soft
Ren K on March 14, 2018:
Very helpful and informative! Our
4 yr old Pekipom has had diarrhea for 24 hrs, dehydrated, bloated tummy, among other symptoms! It's been a horrible stressful day. Vet told us to give her boiled chicken and rice. It's taken a long time, not sure if its helping. Hopefully tomorrow will be better day for her! If not, I'll try something else from list or take her to her Dr.
Sandra West on February 09, 2018:
Very informative. Thank you
ARADHYA (author) on July 03, 2017:
Happy to know that this article was useful and worked for your puppy. Hope she is doing good, wish for the best.
Yang on July 03, 2017:
This is absolutely of informative and comprehensive, my 10 month's old Malinois puppy suffers from frequent diarrhea which resulting of weight dropping from the day we adopted her from the rescue centre. Poor girl. And thanks for your kind sharing. Many thanks again. God bless you.
Andy on November 16, 2016:
I have ALWAYS used yogurt for any times my dogs have had diarrhea. It clears up the problem quickly. I always use plain. If I don't have plain and it's an emergency I have used low fat vanilla. I have never had any problems and was taught to do that. It has worked every time I've used it.
Anna Patfield on September 13, 2016:
Please never add stock cube powder to anything for dogs - perhaps 'chicken powder' means something other than stock. Stock cubes have onion powder and should never be used. Thanks. Anna
ARADHYA (author) on March 21, 2016:
Thanks grand old lady! Happy to know that :)
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on March 21, 2016:
This is a very helpful list of foods for dog owners. It's very interesting, too.
Richard Lindsay from California on March 20, 2016:
Good to know, I have dogs and they do sometimes need a little digestive help.