Dogs normally love food. But what happens when your pup gets an upset stomach?
You might notice that he won’t even touch his favorite foods. At this point, it’s natural to wonder what to feed a picky dog with an upset stomach.
But don’t worry … there are actually plenty of foods you can offer to help soothe your dog's stomach and get him feeling better in no time. We’ll walk you through a few general foods you can use, and some strategies for extra picky dogs or diabetic dogs.
Signs Of Upset Stomach In Dogs
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what to feed a dog with an upset stomach, it's important to know what signs to look out for. Dogs can't tell us when they're feeling off, so we need to pay attention to their behavior and any physical symptoms they might display.
Some of the most common signs of an upset stomach in dogs include loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, excessive gas, and abdominal pain or discomfort. If you notice any of these symptoms in your furry friend, it's important to take action. If his symptoms are severe, or don’t resolve after a couple of days, you may want to talk to your vet to make sure there's nothing serious going on.
Now that you know what to watch out for, let's dive into what you can do to help your dog feel better.
What To Feed A Picky Dog With An Upset Stomach
The first answer is – nothing, for a meal or two!
If your dog has diarrhea or an upset stomach, don’t feed him anything for 12-24 hours. He can have water and maybe some bone broth if he seems hungry, but no solid food. Many dogs will fast themselves naturally when they don’t feel well, so if he isn’t looking for food, don’t try to entice him. This gives the digestive system a break so it can recover.
Caution: Don’t fast puppies under 6 months, very small dogs, diabetic dogs or those who get low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). For these dogs, go straight to the foods recommended below.
Solid Food For A Dog With An Upset Stomach
After that, what’s best to feed him when he’s feeling under the weather? Here are some safe, healthy foods that are easy to digest for your dog's upset stomach:
1. Boiled Turkey
Boiled turkey is an excellent option to feed your dog when he has an upset stomach. Not only is it a great source of lean protein, but it's also gentle on a sensitive digestive system.
Boiling the turkey helps to remove any excess fat and makes it easy to digest. Remove any skin or bones before serving it to your pup.
Note: many people (and vets) recommend chicken, but many dogs are sensitive to chicken, so turkey is safer for a dog with an upset stomach.
Pumpkin is another option that even picky dogs will love. It's not only high in fiber but also contains essential vitamins and minerals that can help regulate your dog's digestive system.
Pumpkin is also known to help soothe upset stomachs and relieve constipation in dogs. You can try feeding your dog plain, canned pumpkin, or even make your own by cooking and pureeing fresh pumpkin.
Just make sure to serve it in small portions and gradually introduce it to your dog's diet to avoid any digestive upset.
3. Cooked Sweet Potato
Cooked sweet potato is another good choice when it comes to feeding your dog with an upset stomach.
Sweet potatoes have fiber and nutrients that can help calm your dog's stomach. They're also low in fat and easy to digest, making them an ideal food for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
You can boil, bake or steam the sweet potato and serve it in small, easy-to-digest portions to your pup.
Caution: Don’t give sweet potatoes to diabetic dogs, because they’re also high in starch.
RELATED: Why starch is bad for dogs ...
Start off by feeding small amounts of these foods to avoid further upsetting your dog’s stomach. After a couple of days on the bland diet, your dog should be feeling better and ready to transition back to his normal diet.
Feeding Guidelines For A Dog With An Upset Stomach
You don't have to feed only the food suggested above ... but do stick to simple, bland foods that are easy for your dog to digest. So don't add a bunch of spices, seasonings, or fats. Keep things as simple as possible.
Don’t feed rice. Vets and others often recommend it for dogs with upset stomachs because it's easy to digest. But rice is a very starchy food that spikes blood sugar, and can be contaminated with arsenic, which is toxic.
RELATED: How to stop dog diarrhea …
What To Feed A Diabetic Dog With An Upset Stomach
The key for diabetic dogs is to focus on low-carbohydrate foods that are gentle on your dog's tummy and also won't cause his blood sugar levels to spike.
Again, boiled turkey is a great option here. You can also try plain scrambled eggs or green beans. These are all foods that are easy to digest and won't aggravate your pup's already-irritated stomach.
Skip the sweet potato for diabetic dogs, because they’re high in carbohydrates that can cause blood sugar spikes.
Homemade Dog Food For Upset Stomach
Still wondering what to feed a dog with an upset stomach? You can always try homemade dog food. Making all your dog’s food at home gives you maximum control, and lets you ensure that he’s getting only high-quality, nutrient-rich food with minimal additives.
Guess what we recommend as the base protein for your homemade dog food? Boiled turkey!
You can change things up by combining boiled turkey and a small amount of steamed veggies like carrots or green beans. While this homemade dog food is on the bland and boring side, it’s easy to digest, can help soothe your dog's stomach, and the veggies will provide some vitamins and fiber.
Again, avoid adding any spices or seasonings that can upset your dog’s stomach even more.
Other Things To Try
If your dog's upset stomach persists or you want to try other options to help ease his discomfort, there are a few supplements and specific foods you can consider:
- Bananas are a good source of potassium and can help soothe your dog's stomach.
- Probiotics are another great option as they can help maintain proper gut bacteria and support healthy digestion.
- Ginger is another natural remedy that may help ease nausea and vomiting in dogs.
What If Your Dog Has An Upset Stomach And Is Not Eating?
As mentioned earlier, it's common for dogs with upset stomachs to lose their appetite and refuse to eat. That’s okay (but not if your dog’s a puppy, very small dog, diabetic or hypoglycemic). Your dog can safely fast for 12-24 hours and that will give his digestive system time to recover.
There are some exceptions: don’t fast a puppy, very small dog, or diabetic or hypoglycemic dogs. For these dogs, try to entice them to eat as suggested below.
To get your dog to eat, try offering him some bone broth, or a very small amount of boiled turkey. Some dogs love scrambled eggs and will eat those. If you really need your dog to eat, you might have to syringe some broth or puréed food into his mouth.
Make sure your dog is getting plenty of water, to prevent dehydration. You can encourage him to drink by adding some broth to his water, or syringe water into his mouth if necessary.
If your dog still isn't interested in eating after a day or two, or if his symptoms worsen, it's time to see your vet, to make sure it isn’t something more serious than an upset stomach. Take a fecal sample with you if you can, as your vet may want to run tests to rule out any underlying health issues.