Do Dogs Go Hungry on a Bland Diet?

by Adrienne Farricelli Google
It's definitively time to invest in a dog-proof trash can.

It's definitively time to invest in a dog-proof trash can.

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If Scruffy got into the trash can and ate a good serving of your leftover tortilla, chicken burrito and vanilla ice cream, expect some sort of digestive problem on the way. Should vomiting or diarrhea occur, a bland diet is an effective, natural way to help settle a grumpy tummy. Along with that, veterinarians often recommend a temporary fast to give Scruffy's tummy some deserved rest. Don't worry, Scruffy won't starve during this time.

Giving Tummy Rest

After pigging out, it's normal for Scruffy's stomach to be a tad bit upset by the dietary indiscretion. To make peace with an irritated tummy nothing works better than some rest. With no food in the stomach, the stomach and intestinal lining should heal and the inflammation should diminish. If your dog is still not eating on his own, listen to his gut's feelings and don't force him to eat; otherwise, he may continue to vomit, further increasing the irritation of the esophagus and stomach.

No Big Deal

While Scruffy may always act as if he's starving, a 24-hour fasting period is a far cry from going hungry and starving. Occasional fasting is a normal, natural phenomenon that isn't harmful as long as your pooch appears strong and has good energy levels, explains veterinarian William Pollak. However, if your dog happens to be vomiting, appears weak and is not bright eyed and bushy tailed as usual, then a vet visit is warranted.

Special Considerations

Scruffy won't likely turn voracious if he's fasted for 24 hours; however, there are exceptions to the rule. For instance, if you have a puppy, a briefer fasting period lasting about 12 hours is recommended. With a very young puppy or a toy or teacup puppy you'll need to watch for hypoglycemia, a condition that may pop up when a meal is skipped or the pup has an upset stomach. Don't risk it with these small fellows; consult with your vet.

Bland Diet

After the 12- to 24-hour fast, you can start feeding a bland diet. Food choices on the menu include one part plain boiled skinless and boneless chicken and two parts boiled white rice, equal parts of boiled rice and low-fat cottage cheese, one part cooked drained lean hamburger and two parts plain boiled pasta or equal portions of turkey baby food and boiled rice. Because you'll be feeding this bland food in small, frequent amounts about every two to four hours for a couple of days, you shouldn't ultimately worry about Scruffy getting all "rumbly in his tumbly" during this time.

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About the Author

Adrienne Farricelli has been a writer since 2005, serving as an editor, steward and writer for several online publications. She brings expertise in canine topics, previously working with the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification as a dog trainer from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Farricelli offers reward-based training and behavior consults at Rover's Ranch Home Boarding and Training.

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