When your pooch is suffering from diarrhea or an upset tummy, a temporary specialty diet can get his belly back on track. A bland diet provides your pup an easily digestible food for a few days until his tummy is settled. This diet is OK after moderate diarrhea, but if your pooch is showing other symptoms such as lethargy or severe vomiting, consult your veterinarian.
Reasons for the Bland Diet
In most cases, the bland diet is needed for a only few days to help your pup's digestive tract get back to normal after gastrointestinal problems. Diarrhea, vomiting and certain intestinal diseases are treatable at least in part with a bland diet. The bland diet is low in fiber and residue, which helps your dog's sensitive tummy. For certain dogs with terminal problems, a long-term or permanent bland diet is necessary. Follow your vet's guidance.
Most recommended recipes include boiled, skinless chicken or turkey mixed with white rice. Tofu, lean ground beef, cottage cheese and pasta sometimes are ingredients or replace either the rice or poultry. Remove skin and fat and boiled the chicken, simmering the ingredients with it; drain, then stir and mash together what's left. Don't use any seasonings in the recipe. In addition, chicken or turkey baby foods that don't contain additional spices or ingredients can be used instead.
Several dog food manufacturers make bland kibble or canned food; usually it's available through your vet and specialty pet-supply stores. These may have the words "bland" or "low-residue" on the label. These are more expensive than the regular formulas of dog food. Some are available by prescription only.
Implementing the Bland Diet
Gastrointestinal upset is uncomfortable and can be dangerous when not treated. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause your pet to lose water, electrolytes and nutrients. After vomiting or diarrhea, or when recommended by your veterinarian, withhold water for six hours and food for 24 hours. Offer your pooch 1/4 cup or so of water every few hours, then start introducing completely cooled bland food after the waiting period. Feed the bland food in small portions every three to four hours. After two or three days, your pup should be back to normal. Reintroduce his regular diet gradually.
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.