Should I Feed My Dog if He has Diarrhea?
Dog diarrhea (frequent bowel movements and watery poop) is a common issue in dogs. So, it is normal for pet parents to wonder “what to feed a dog with diarrhea.“
The answer depends on the severity of the bout of diarrhea and the underlying cause. While some foods are generally good for the digestive tract, others need to be avoided.
Common causes of diarrhea (acute & chronic diarrhea) in dogs are sudden changes in the dog’s diet, dietary indiscretions, food allergies, gastrointestinal tract irritation (gastritis and colitis), and inflammatory bowel disease.
Diarrhea can also be caused by bacterial infections (Salmonella, E. coli), viral infections (distemper, parvovirus, coronavirus), and intestinal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms).
Finally, dog diarrhea can result from the ingestion of toxins, pancreatitis, and systemic conditions such as kidney disease or liver disease.
What Can I Feed My Dog to Stop Diarrhea?
If you are wondering what to feed a dog with diarrhea, here are some practical answers:
- Lean Protein. Proteins such as chicken breast (without skin), turkey, and other lean meats can be excellent protein sources that can be easily digested by dogs. Lean beef is another option as it is nutrient-dense yet easily digestible.
- Rice. White rice is a great source of carbohydrates, and the starch content helps with diarrhea management. The rice water is beneficial as well. Brown rice is also healthy and nutritious, but white rice is more soothing for dogs with diarrhea.
- Bland Diet. During the diarrhea bout, dogs need bland food. The bland diet consists of plain and boiled white rice mixed with a lean protein source, usually chicken-breast. For dogs able to process dairy, low-fat cheese such as cottage cheese can be added.
- Potatoes. Both regular potatoes and sweet potatoes are easily digestible starches, making them ideal for dogs with diarrhea. It has to be noted that dogs cannot eat raw potatoes. Make sure that the potatoes are thoroughly cooked before you give them to your dog.
- Canned Pumpkin. Pumpkin for dog diarrhea is an excellent choice. It is rich in dietary fiber or prebiotics, which are great at managing the dog’s diarrhea and loose stools. Plus, they have a calming effect on the dog’s stomach.
- Food for Sensitive Stomach. If your dog has a sensitive stomach and cannot digest a regular diet, foods meant for a sensitive stomach can help them go a long way. These foods promote a healthy gut and regulate the dog’s stools.
- Probiotics. Probiotics for dogs keep the gut bacteria in the dog’s stomach in balance. They promote gastrointestinal health and boost the dog’s immune system. Probiotics are available in the form of supplements and are naturally present in certain foods such as kefir or yogurt. Probiotic supplements are available over-the-counter and straightforward to use.
What Should I Not Feed My Dog With Diarrhea?
Now that you know what to feed a dog with diarrhea, it is important to know what to avoid. Here are some foods dog owners must not give a dog with diarrhea.
- New Foods. During a bout of diarrhea, it is inadvisable to add new foods to the menu. Any new food can upset the dog’s stomach and intestinal tract, thus worsening diarrhea.
- Milk/Dairy. This is a no-no when it comes to dogs with diarrhea. Milk and dairy products can cause bloating and make their stools a lot worse if not monitored. Even in healthy dogs, dairy products can be troublesome, especially if the dogs are lactose intolerant.
- Fatty Foods. High-fat foods are hard to digest and put more pressure on the upset stomach. Fatty foods need to be avoided until the dog’s stomach settles down and the diarrhea resolves.
- Human Foods. We like sharing food with our pets. However, our food is hard to digest and can wreak havoc on the dog’s digestive system. This is true even for healthy dogs, and in a dog with diarrhea, human food will worsen and prolong the bout of diarrhea.
- Table Scraps. Table scraps are definitely prohibited for dogs with diarrhea. They are loaded with fats and often contain seasonings that will upset the dog’s stomach. Giving table scraps to healthy dogs may trigger diarrhea. In dogs that already have diarrhea, table scraps make things worse.