What foods help dogs with upset stomach?

A rumbling tummy and a forlorn expression – upset stomachs are a common woe for both humans and our furry friends. While a gentle tummy rub can offer temporary comfort, the key to canine digestive recovery often lies in dietary intervention. Selecting the right foods can significantly alleviate discomfort and expedite a return to normalcy.


The Bland Diet: A Gentle Reset for Upset Tummies

When a dog’s digestive system is in distress, a bland diet acts as a gentle culinary reset. This temporary dietary modification minimizes further irritation and allows the gut to focus on healing. Here are the key players in this bland buffet:

  • Plain White Rice: This readily digestible carbohydrate provides essential energy without overwhelming the digestive system. Its bland profile minimizes any potential for further irritation, making it a perfect base for recovery meals.

  • Boiled Chicken: Lean protein is crucial for tissue repair during recovery. Boiled, skinless chicken is an excellent source, offering essential amino acids without the added fat of fried or roasted options. Simply boil boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs until cooked through, then shred or chop them into manageable pieces for your dog.

  • Bone Broth: This savory liquid goes beyond flavor. Bone broth provides much-needed hydration and replenishes electrolytes lost due to vomiting or diarrhea. The warm broth can also be soothing for a sensitive stomach. Homemade bone broth is ideal, but low-sodium commercial options can be a convenient alternative.

Beyond Bland: Introducing Probiotic Power and Digestive Enzymes

Once the initial digestive turmoil subsides, we can cautiously venture beyond the bland. Here are some power players that can further support gut health and recovery:

  • Probiotic Powerhouses: The canine gut, like ours, is teeming with bacteria. Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that can help restore the delicate balance of gut flora, often disrupted during digestive distress. Plain yogurt (with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners) and kefir are excellent sources of probiotics for dogs. Start with a small amount and gradually increase as tolerated.

  • Digestive Enzyme Support: Our furry companions naturally produce digestive enzymes to break down food. However, during times of upset stomach, enzyme production might be compromised. Digestive enzyme supplements can be helpful in these situations. These veterinarian-approved supplements provide additional enzymes to aid nutrient breakdown, easing the digestive process for your dog.

  • Pumpkin: A Fiber Feast for Digestive Harmony: Pumpkin is a superstar ingredient for canine digestive health. This versatile gourd is rich in soluble fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements and promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Canned pumpkin (unsweetened, with no added fillers) can be mixed with your dog’s bland diet or offered as a standalone treat.

Dietary Missteps to Avoid: Foods that can Worsen Upset Stomach

While certain foods can offer comfort and support, others can exacerbate digestive woes. Here are some dietary missteps to avoid during your dog’s recovery:

  • Fatty or Spicy Foods: Fatty and spicy foods can be incredibly irritating to a sensitive digestive system. Fried foods, processed meats, and spicy human meals should be strictly off-limits. These culinary culprits can worsen inflammation and prolong discomfort.

  • Dairy Products: Many dogs, like humans, are lactose intolerant. Lactose, the sugar found in milk, can cause diarrhea and further gastrointestinal upset. Avoid cow’s milk and dairy products unless specifically recommended by your veterinarian. There are lactose-free yogurt options available if you want to continue offering probiotics.

  • Table Scraps: Resist the urge to share your dinner with your furry friend during recovery. Human food might contain ingredients that are difficult for dogs to digest, causing additional stomach upset. Stick to a veterinarian-approved bland diet or recovery food to ensure your dog’s digestive system has the best chance to heal.

Hydration Heroes: Keeping Your Dog Properly Hydrated

Dehydration can worsen digestive upset. Ensuring your dog has access to fresh, clean water throughout their recovery journey is paramount. Here are some tips:

  • Offer Multiple Water Bowls: Place water bowls in various locations around the house, making them easily accessible for your dog.
  • Consider Flavored Water: Entice your dog to drink by adding a splash of low-sodium chicken broth to their water bowl.
  • Use Ice Cubes: Adding ice cubes to their water bowl provides a refreshing option, especially during warmer weather.

Monitoring Progress and Knowing When to Seek Professional Help

While the aforementioned dietary strategies can be incredibly helpful, it’s crucial to monitor your dog’s progress closely. Here are some signs that indicate a visit to the veterinarian might be necessary:

  • Persistent Vomiting or Diarrhea: If vomiting or diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours, or worsens in severity, seek veterinary attention.
  • Loss of Appetite: A dog that refuses food for more than a day could be experiencing a more serious underlying condition.
  • Lethargy or Weakness: Excessive lethargy or weakness can indicate dehydration or a more serious illness.
  • Blood in Stool: The presence of blood in your dog’s stool always warrants a trip to the veterinarian.


Remember, selecting the right food is just one piece of the puzzle when dealing with canine upset stomach. If your dog’s digestive issues persist for more than a day or two, or are accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy or loss of appetite, consulting a veterinarian is crucial. They can diagnose the underlying cause and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan, including dietary modifications and medications if necessary.

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