Everyone who has had a dog knows they will, from time to time, eat something they shouldn’t. When they do, they will suffer through various levels of illness. Most common is diarrhea. Basically, a bunch of bad bacteria takes over the digestive system and food and water doesn’t get properly processed and absorbed. Whenever your dog shows signs of discomfort or illness we always advise consulting with your veterinarian, especially if they are sluggish, or showing loss of balance, or not eating. If JUST not digesting food well but otherwise their usual self, you might want to try the ‘Bland Diet’ for a few days. This is also the diet your vet will likely recommend if they’ve been administered antibiotics to address whatever bug has infiltrated their system.
The treatment process is pretty straight-forward. The antibiotics kill off the bacteria, but it kills off all bacteria – even the good stuff which aids in digestion. For this, it’s important to give your dog simple foods which are easy on their digestive system. Even if not using antibiotics and taking the wait and see approach, this simply diet will help eliminate many variables in diagnosis and give your dog’s system a chance to recover.
We recommend you cook up most of these ingredients in bulk and refrigerate in portions to save yourself time. You’ll typically administer the bland diet for up to a week, and definitely for a day or two past the time when your dog’s stool is again normal. It is generally better to give your dog smaller amounts more frequently rather than one single feeding a day during this time.
The Bland Diet Recipe:
- 75% white rice, plain pasta, or cooked potato. (No shortening or seasoning.)
- 25% of the following (whatever you have available will do).
- Cottage Cheese
- Cooked Egg (no salt, butter, etc)
- Skinned white poultry meat
- Boiled ground beef
Keep in mind:
- Give water in small and frequent amounts. Don’t just leave out a large bowl. A couple of ice cubes throughout the day works well.
- If vomiting or diarrhea persists, or your dog’s condition declines, contact your vet.
- This diet is good for any short term period, but should not be used for any length of time. 4-5 days of the Bland Diet is typical, followed by 2-3 days of the Bland Diet mixed in with increasing amounts of regular food.
If you prefer to not cook, ask your veterinarian about commercial solutions such as the Purina EN line of canned food.
(Creative Commons photo courtesy sparklemotion0, Flickr)