Every dog gets sick on occasion, vomiting up his dinner or something he shouldn't have eaten in the first place. After his stomach settles, a bland diet for a few days helps get his gastrointestinal system back into shape. Other dogs suffer from sensitive stomachs, so they'll require a bland diet every day. If your dog experiences stomach issues, ask your vet about the right type of food for Buddy.
Occasional Bland Diet
If your dog throws up or has diarrhea, it's not a good idea to feed him his regular food until his system settles. Don't feed him for about a day after such an incident, unless he's a puppy under four months of age. With puppies, you should try the bland diet within six hours of the last episode of vomiting or diarrhea.
The Virginia-based Greenbrier Animal Hospital recommends a bland diet consisting of 6 cups of water; 1 cup of long-grain white rice; and one-half pound of either ground turkey, chicken or hamburger, or 1 cup of 2 percent fat or lower cottage cheese. Boil together, unless you're using cottage cheese. After reaching a boil, turn the heat down low and let the mixture simmer for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it stand between 20 and 30 minutes. If using cottage cheese, mix it in while the rice is standing. This makes about 5 cups of food. A bland diet alternative uses chicken or turkey baby food in lieu of boiling chicken or turkey.
Feed your dog small amounts of the bland diet for the next few days, in small portions served several times daily. If he's doing well and no longer throwing up or experiencing diarrhea, start mixing in his regular food after a couple of days, transitioning him back to his normal rations over the course of a week. This bland diet is not a substitute for a complete and balanced dog food, so it shouldn't become his regular fare.
Just like some people, some canines experience lifelong stomach problems. If your dog often has loose stools -- not quite diarrhea, but not firm feces -- excessive gas or vomits regularly, take him to the vet for an examination and work-up. It's possible he'll do fine on high-quality dog food if you cut out any treats or table scraps. If that doesn't work, he might need a bland diet that doesn't bother his stomach but provides adequate long-term nutrition. Your vet might also conduct allergy tests, as food allergies are common in canines.
Your vet can prescribe a diet specially formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs that contain all the nutrients required for a complete and balanced dog food. Bland prescription diets contain high fiber and little fat for easy digestibility. They usually contain one protein source, such as chicken, rather than a mix. Bland diets also contain vitamins and antioxidants to aid your dog's immune system. If your dog suffers from food allergies, you might have to go through some trial and error before you find a food that doesn't trigger intestinal reactions.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.