12 Human Foods to Give to Dogs With Diarrhea or Upset Stomach

Updated on August 13, 2018
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I am a software professional from India interested in dogs, technology, travel, and real estate.

Diarrhea and upset stomach are common maladies for dogs.
Diarrhea and upset stomach are common maladies for dogs.

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 He Has 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
  • banana
  • pumpkin (canned or pureed)
  • watermelon
  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • boiled egg
  • oatmeal
  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Plain white rice is a good food to offer a dog with diarrhea or an upset stomach.
Plain white rice is a good food to offer a dog with diarrhea or an upset stomach.

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.

Boiled chicken is a good food to offer your dog when they have diarrhea. Make sure the chicken is plain (unseasoned), boneless, and skinless.
Boiled chicken is a good food to offer your dog when they have diarrhea. Make sure the chicken is plain (unseasoned), boneless, and skinless.

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 a good source of fiber and will help bind your dog's stools when they have diarrhea.
Pumpkin is a good source of fiber and will help bind your dog's stools when they have diarrhea.

3. Pumpkin

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.

Dogs should only eat  potatoes occasionally because potatoes contain high amounts of sugar and starch.
Dogs should only eat potatoes occasionally because potatoes contain high amounts of sugar and starch. | Source

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.

Cook and mash carrots before offering them to your dog.
Cook and mash carrots before offering them to your dog.

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.

The fiber in sweet potatoes can help alleviate an upset stomach.
The fiber in sweet potatoes can help alleviate an upset stomach.

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.

Served cooked eggs either boiled or scrambled. Don't add salt.
Served cooked eggs either boiled or scrambled. Don't add salt.

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.

8. Probiotics

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.

The soluble fiber in oatmeal helps alleviate diarrhea and stomach problems.
The soluble fiber in oatmeal helps alleviate diarrhea and stomach problems.

9. Oatmeal

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.

Only feed your dog cottage cheese sparingly and if you know they can handle milk products.
Only feed your dog cottage cheese sparingly and if you know they can handle milk products.

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 high in fiber and water, helping relieve both diarrhea and dehydration.
Watermelon is high in fiber and water, helping relieve both diarrhea and dehydration.

11. Watermelon

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 serves 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.

12. Banana

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.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Fatigue.
  • 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.

For Puppy Owners

Puppies experiencing vomiting and diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible in order to rule out life-threatening conditions such as parvovirus (black and tan breeds and terriers are particularly susceptible).

What Causes Upset Stomachs and Diarrhea in Dogs?

  1. They ate something that didn't agree with them. Dogs are curious and tend to mouth or ingest things they shouldn't.
  2. A change in their diet.
  3. Anxiety. Separation anxiety, lifestyle changes, or environmental stressors may cause upset stomach in dogs. A dog's stomach is influenced by the nervous system.
  4. A mild food allergy.
  5. Antibiotics. Upset stomach and diarrhea are common reactions to antibiotics. Call your vet, as your dog may not be keeping their medication down.
  6. 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:

  1. Bacterial or viral infection.
  2. Giardia.
  3. Poisoning.
  4. Parasites, including roundworms and tapeworms.
  5. Viral fever.
  6. 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.
  • Lethargy.
  • 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 him 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

Comments

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    • profile image

      Annie 

      7 weeks ago

      I was wondering if could feed my dog rice all the time

    • profile image

      Janet 

      8 weeks ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Eunice 

      3 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Adelina savala 

      4 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      TITO 

      5 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Maxy 

      6 months ago

      My dog has orange stool and very soft

    • profile image

      Ren K 

      8 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Sandra West 

      9 months ago

      Very informative. Thank you

    • srai01 profile imageAUTHOR

      ARADHYA 

      16 months ago

      Hello Yang!

      Happy to know that this article was useful and worked for your puppy. Hope she is doing good, wish for the best.

      Thanks!

      ARADHYA

    • profile image

      Yang 

      16 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Andy 

      2 years ago

      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 profile image

      Anna Patfield 

      2 years ago

      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

    • srai01 profile imageAUTHOR

      ARADHYA 

      2 years ago

      Thanks grand old lady! Happy to know that :)

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      2 years ago from Philippines

      This is a very helpful list of foods for dog owners. It's very interesting, too.

    • lrdl3535 profile image

      Richard Lindsay 

      2 years ago from California

      Good to know, I have dogs and they do sometimes need a little digestive help.

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