An upset stomach can quickly turn even the most food-loving of dogs into a picky eater … which leaves a lyou wondering what to feed a dog with an upset stomach.
We’ll share some food options for dogs with upset stomachs, including dogs who are picky eaters, sick dogs with no appetite, and even diabetic dogs.
Signs Of Upset Stomach In Dogs
First, you want to be sure the reason your dog isn’t eating is really because his stomach is upset … and not for other reasons.
Lack of appetite can definitely be a sign of an upset stomach, but it’s also a common sign of just about any illness or disease in dogs.
Luckily, if your dog has an upset stomach, there are some textbook signs and symptoms that he’ll likely display.
Here are the most common signs of upset stomach in dogs:
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive drooling or lip-smacking
- Lethargy or lack of energy
- Abdominal pain or bloating
- Frequent gurgling or rumbling stomach noises
- Constipation or straining during bowel movements
- Flatulence or passing gas
If you see the above signs of upset stomach in dogs, it’s likely your dog is just having digestive trouble.
However, keep an eye on his condition to make sure it doesn’t develop into something more serious. If your dog’s symptoms don’t improve, he may have a more serious condition that needs a different approach.
For example, upset stomach in dogs can be a symptom of these more serious health complications:
If you suspect your dog has any of these conditions, it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Note: In a puppy, be on the lookout for bloody diarrhea with a distinctive metallic smell. It could be parvo, and then your dog needs urgent diagnosis and treatment, so take a stool sample to your vet right away.
What To Feed A Picky Dog With An Upset Stomach
Dogs are notorious for loving food, but that can quickly change when they’re not feeling their best. Seeing your dog turn his nose up at his favorite food can be frustrating, but the good news is that there are plenty of options you can use to entice him.
The first option is to simply not feed him for 12-24 hours. Fasting can give the digestive system a break and give your dog’s stomach time to settle. Some dogs will naturally fast themselves if they have tummy issues, and that’s fine. Make sure he has access to plenty of fresh filtered or spring water.
Next, when you do feed your dog, don’t give him rich or spicy foods, or anything that’s really high in fat or fiber. You want to feed bland, easy-to-digest options that won’t aggravate his already sensitive stomach.
Bone broth is a really good way to start. It’s nutritious and gentle on the stomach, and it’s easy to make yourself. If you buy bone broth, make sure it doesn’t have any harmful ingredients like onions.
If your dog’s ready for more solid food, boiled chicken or turkey (or whatever meat fell off when you made bone broth – always save that!) is a great choice for a picky dog with an upset stomach. The meat is easy to digest and provides essential protein. You can give the meat in more bone broth, or give it with some canned pumpkin, which also helps the digestion. Other alternatives are steamed or puréed veggies like carrots or sweet potato. These are gentle on the stomach and contain fiber that can help firm up loose stools, as well as provide nutrients.
Another option is plain scrambled eggs. Again, these are easy to digest and provide a good source of protein … and most dogs love them!
Small, Frequent Meals
And … it’s not only what you feed, but how and when you feed it. To feed a picky dog with an upset stomach, offer small, frequent meals throughout the day. This ensures his stomach isn’t overloaded with food and is easier on his digestive system.
Staying hydrated is also important, so remember to keep plenty of fresh filtered or spring water available for your pup at all times.
What To Feed A Sick Dog With No Appetite
Even though many dogs will choose not to eat when their stomach is upset, if your dog has no appetite at all for more than a day or so, he may have a more serious sickness. So, if your dog refuses to touch his food for more than a day, you may want to talk to your holistic vet, in case it’s a sign of a deeper problem.
Let Him Fast
So, the initial answer of what to feed a sick dog with no appetite is to let him decide. Let him fast for 12-24 hours if he wants to. Again, that gives his digestive system a rest so it can heal. Dogs can go for several days without eating … and of course, in the wild, a dog would only eat when he found food, so it’s perfectly natural.
Then choose some of the options above: bone broth, boiled turkey or other meat, steamed or pureed veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes or pumpkin, or plain canned pumpkin.
Sometimes serving the food warm can help to make it more appealing – and the aroma will entice him too! You can also add more bone broth to his food.
Some dogs love to be babied when they don’t feel good, so you can also try hand-feeding your dog.
Don’t Force Him To Eat
Remember to be patient and don’t force-feed your dog, as that can cause more harm than good. And again, if your dog still won’t eat after a couple of days, it’s time to see a vet.
What To Feed A Diabetic Dog With An Upset Stomach
if your dog is diabetic, that can restrict your options and make things a little trickier, as you don’t want to feed anything that can spike his blood sugar.
Don’t fast a diabetic dog who’s on insulin or other diabetes meds, as that could cause dangerous low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Instead, go straight to bone broth or light meat options as described above.
If you feed veggies, be aware that starchy veggies like sweet potato may increase blood sugar, so feed only small amounts.
These are just general tips, though. When dealing with a diabetic dog, it’s best to work closely with your holistic vet to create a suitable meal plan to help get your dog back on track with his regular diet.
Best Homemade Dog Food For Upset Stomach
You might have noticed all the foods above are homemade.
In general, homemade dog food is the best option for soothing your dog’s upset stomach. That’s because cooking at home allows you to control exactly what’s going into your dog’s food, which in this case should be light, easily digestible fresh foods.
Bland, plain whole foods are the best way to get your dog through his digestive troubles. Don’t give in to your vet’s urging to feed prescription dog food. Prescription diets offer very poor nutrition, and they are highly processed with added synthetic vitamins and minerals that aren’t well absorbed by the body.
Instead, the best homemade dog food for upset stomach is food like plain cooked turkey, or lean ground beef, combined with veggies like pumpkin, sweet potato or carrots (steamed and pureed for digestibility). You can mix and match these at home to create a variety of easy and nutritious, tummy-friendly meals for your dog.
If your dog tolerates dairy, you can also add some plain kefir or yogurt for added flavor and nutritional benefits.
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Bottom Line | What To Feed A Dog With An Upset Stomach
When it comes to feeding a dog with an upset stomach, it’s important to offer small, frequent meals of easy-to-digest foods.
But if your dog has an underlying medical condition like diabetes, always check with your veterinarian before changing his diet. And if your dog isn’t eating at all for more than 24 hours, then it’s also time to call your vet.
By following the tips above, you can help your dog feel better and get back to his playful, happy self in no time!