Dogs may be in need of a “bland diet” for a variety of reasons – recovering from surgery, having a bad case of diarrhea, suffering from a bacterial infection, vomiting because they’ve eaten something outside or in the garbage that didn’t agree. It can be a lot of reasons. Some can be easily identified, but we recommend seeing your veterinarian to make sure of the cause.
A Fasting Period
Often times, your vet will recommend giving your dog a bland diet as part of the solution. The bland diet allows your dog’s digestive tract a chance to clear out and settle down so they start to feel better. Your vet may also recommend a fasting period before starting the bland diet, sometimes even up to 24 hours.
Our natural inclination is to feed them something, but listen to your vet. Animals can go for a long time without eating, so you’re not starving your dog. You won’t cause them any harm unless they have a medical condition that requires regular food intake. Keep water available, and your vet may want you to add an electrolyte replacement to their water to replenish what they lose by having diarrhea.
RELATED: Doggie Diarrhea - What Do I Do?
The Main Ingredients
After the fasting period, you can start feeding your dog the bland diet. This diet will soothe the digestive tract and give them the right fiber to firm up the stool. The most common diet recommended is a meat and rice diet. Some vets still recommend hamburger and rice, but chicken is found to be much leaner. If you do choose to use hamburger, be sure to double boil the meat.
As far as the starch, some diets are now using white potato, pumpkin, sweet potato or brown rice. It’s important to remember that you want a low fiber diet at this point, so the traditional white rice is always good choice. Very easy on the digestive system and a good binder for the stool.
Unless your vet has given you other instructions, continue to feed this diet for at least several days until the digestive health has been restored and your dog’s stool is back to normal. Then slowly switch them back to their normal diet by a process of weaning. For example, after they’re back to normal, cut back ¼ of the bland diet and add ¼ of the normal food for the first day. Increase that to ½ less bland and ½ more of the regular on the second day; and ¾ less bland, ¾ more regular diet the third day. By the fourth or fifth day, you’ll be back on the normal diet. If your dog displays a return of the vomiting or diarrhea during this process, consult your veterinarian.
RELATED: Could Puppy Love Make My Dog Sick?
A Convenient Solution
Thanks to the Internet, there is a lot of information on making a bland diet. But another option to making it yourself is purchasing a freeze dried mixture of white meat chicken and quick cook white rice that we've just introduced. It eliminates the guessing game, and is a very convenient option to running to the store and making it yourself. All the ingredients in our Chicken & Rice are human grade quality, sourced in the U.S.A. and manufactured in the U.S.A. And, because it is freeze-dried, the packages have a long shelf life. So you can keep these packages on hand for several months to be ready for the next need for a bland diet for your dog!
This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather™, provider of products for sick pets. Learn more about our Chicken & Rice Bland Diet.