Let’s face it. Most dogs are indiscriminate eaters. Sometimes they digest things that disagree with them and give them diarrhea. Unless you’re dealing with an emergency, there are foods you probably have in your pantry that you can feed your pup to help firm up his poop and heal his gut.
Sometimes I got a call from a client whose dog was suffering from diarrhea. After collecting some history and information, I would suggest the owners bring their furbaby in along with a fecal sample. As long as the symptoms didn’t point to an emergency, I’d also recommend some things the owners could do at home to help soothe their dog’s gut and firm up the stool.
In this article, we’ll look at 15 foods you can feed your dog to help control diarrhea symptoms. We’ll also cover several other ways you can help your furbaby recover from an upset stomach and loose stools.
Sometimes diarrhea points to a more serious issue than an upset stomach. So, we’ll explain when you need to call your veterinarian.
Let’s get started.
15 Foods That Can Help Dogs With Diarrhea
If your dog has diarrhea, it’s best to start with a fasting period. Most dogs can handle skipping a meal or two unless they have diabetes or another metabolic condition. For small breed dogs and puppies, limit the fast to about 8 hours. After that, you can try feeding one or more of these foods.
Skinless chicken or turkey breast
Low-fat sources of protein are bland, gentle on the gut, and provide your pal with key nutrients. Try boiling some skinless chicken breast, or turkey breast until the meat is cooked. Don’t add any seasonings, butter, or oil. Dice the meat and feed it in small portions to your pooch to see how he tolerates it. You can mix the poultry with some boiled white rice.
Like lean turkey, lean hamburger provides your pooch with needed protein that’s digestible and shouldn’t irritate the gut. When preparing ground beef for dogs recovering from diarrhea, you should cook it fully by boiling it and then drain off the water. Let the hamburger cool and feed to your pooch in small quantities. It can be added to boiled white rice to add some bulk to the food.
Boiled White Rice
Rice helps to bind liquid and works to soothe the gut. It’s an easily digestible food that contains fiber and provides energy for your pooch. You can boil quality white rice as you normally would for your family or add extra water and make a soft porridge. Do not add any salt or butter to the rice. Drain and cool the rice and feed it to your pup in small portions for your first few meals after fasting. You can mix it with lean meat.
You can feed your dog plain canned pumpkin, pumpkin puree, or fresh steamed pumpkin to help firm the stool. Do not use pumpkin pie mix because it contains spices that could irritate your pal’s gut. Pumpkins are high in soluble fiber and water. Along with being a readily digestible energy form, it also helps to slow food’s transit time through the gastrointestinal system. This means the intestines have more time to absorb liquid so that the stool is firmer. Depending on your dog’s size, you can add 1-3 tablespoons of canned pumpkin to his food or mix pumpkin puree with some boiled rice.
Boiled, Skinned White Potatoes
Another source of readily digestible energy and fiber, white potatoes also contain magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B6 and C. Feeding mashed potatoes in small quantities can help to bind liquid and firm up loose stools. Never feed raw potatoes to your pooch because the vegetable contains a chemical called solanine which is toxic to dogs. Fortunately, cooked potatoes are significantly lower in the chemical and should not be a problem. To prepare some potato for your pooch, skin the potato and cut it into small pieces. Bake or boil until thoroughly cooked and allow it to cool. Do not fry the potatoes or add butter, salt, or oils.
Oatmeal is an excellent source of digestible dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It can help to soothe your pup’s stomach and firm up the poop. Like pumpkin, oatmeal helps to delay gastric emptying and control diarrhea. When you feed oatmeal to your pooch, avoid using instant oats or products with added sugar. Cook the oatmeal in water and allow it to cool before you give it to your dog. Don’t add milk or any seasoning or flavors.
Similar to pumpkin, sweet potato is packed with fiber which supports digestive health. It’s also a rich source of beta-carotene, manganese, and vitamins B6 and C. It’s best to feed your pooch sweet potato that’s cooked and skinned because this tuber is too hard on your pal’s digestion when it’s raw. Because of the fiber content of sweet potatoes, start by mixing small amounts with your pal’s kibble. Too much too fast can upset the gut.
As long as your dog can tolerate dairy products, you give him some plain, low-fat yogurt with active cultures. The probiotics in the yogurt can help encourage healthy microflora in your furbaby’s gut and normalize your pal’s poop. Add a few spoonfuls of yogurt to your pal’s food to help soothe irritated intestines.
Packed with fiber and other nutrients like potassium and vitamin C, banana helps to soothe an irritated gut and firm up loose stools. This fruit helps to boost the immune system and provides your pooch with needed electrolytes. You can mash a banana and mix it with rice or cut it into slices to give to your dog as a treat. Be careful that you don’t overdo it because overfeeding bananas can cause constipation.
Carrots provide your pooch with an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, and potassium. They can help add bulk to the stool to reduce diarrhea. To feed carrots to your pooch, cut off the top and cook them thoroughly. Mash the carrots and let the mixture cool before you feed it to your pup. You can also dice the carrots and cook them with white rice.
Eggs are an easily digestible source of protein for dogs, and they contain some essential vitamins. They make an excellent transition food after fasting your pup. When you give eggs to your pup, you can either serve them boiled and mashed, or you can make scrambled eggs and mix them with boiled white rice. Do not use butter, salt, or any seasonings.
As a great source of fiber, chia seeds help to absorb water in the intestines. They also contain omega fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation in the gut. These combined effects help to firm up your pup’s stool. Always soak chia seeds before feeding them to your pooch and talk to your veterinarian about the proper dosage for your furbaby’s weight.
Watermelon contains fluid and nutrients like vitamins A, B6, and C, and potassium along with fiber. It also has a chemical called lycopene that boosts the immune system and neutralizes free radicals. Feeding watermelon can help prevent dehydration and solidify loose stools. To feed your pooch, cut it into bite-sized pieces and offer it as a treat. Be sure to observe your pooch because some dogs react to the fruit. Stop feeding watermelon if you notice any unusual behavior or symptoms.
For dogs that aren’t lactose intolerant, cottage cheese can help dogs with diarrhea. The fat and protein in this food work to firm up loose stools. You can add a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese to your pup’s food at mealtime. Be careful to not feed too much. Excessive amounts of this rich material can have the opposite effect and increase diarrhea rather than stop it.
Although it’s a liquid, bone broth is packed with electrolytes and nutrients that can support your pup in the transition from fasting to a bland diet. It’s also full of natural gelatin which helps to firm the stool and soothe the gut. To make bone broth, fill a stock pot with water and cover the bottom of the pot with raw bones. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to help extract the beneficial nutrients. Bring the water to a boil then cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for 16-24 hours. Allow the broth to cool and remove the bones. You can add a few tablespoons to your pup’s food or mix it with water.
Other ways to help dogs with diarrhea
In addition to fasting your pooch and feeding him a bland diet, there are other ways you can help him recover from diarrhea.
Supplement with Probiotics
Probiotics help normalize healthy bacteria in your dog’s gastrointestinal system. Get a recommendation for a quality probiotic from your veterinarian. It’s best to find a product that contains strains of two or three different microorganisms. Bacteria that are particularly helpful for diarrhea include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bacillus subtilis.
Supplement with L-glutamine
The amino acid L-glutamine helps to heal intestinal cells and restore a healthy mucosal barrier.
Give your pooch an anti-diarrheal medicine
Several over-the-counter products can help stop diarrhea. Some human products can be used safely on your dog, but there are also substances made specifically for dogs. Talk with your veterinarian about the best fit for your pooch.
Add moisture to your pal’s food
You must provide your dog with ample fluids to avoid dehydration. When a pooch has diarrhea, they lose water and electrolytes, and that can push your pooch into a medical crisis. By adding some water to your pup’s food or feeding canned products, you can entice your pup to ingest more liquids.
Try a different food
For some dogs, the cause of diarrhea is their food. If you think your pooch has a sensitivity to their kibble, try a different brand or formula. You should start with products that are highly digestible and contain limited ingredients.
When should I consult with a vet?
Several symptoms tell you it’s time to call your vet:
- You’ve tried feeding your dog a bland diet for 48 hours with no improvement.
- Your dog is also vomiting.
- There’s blood in the stool.
- Your pooch has a fever.
- Your dog is lethargic.
- Your pup recently had vaccinations or other medicine.
Any of these signs alone or in combination could point to a more serious issue.
Various human foods may help your pooch recover from diarrhea. For example, many fruits and vegetables contain high levels of fiber that can help to bind water and add bulk to the stool. Other helpful materials include lean cooked protein and boiled white rice. If your pup’s diarrhea persists beyond a few days or he has other symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, or bloody stools/vomit, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. He may have a condition that requires immediate attention.
One of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs is sudden changes in the diet. If you’re planning to switch dog food formulas, do it gradually over a week or two. When your dog has a bout of diarrhea, start by putting him on a fast for one or two meals. This will give the gut a break. After that, switch to a bland diet to help the stools firm up.