What can I feed my dog when it’s sick?

August 25, 2018
What can I feed my dog when it’s sick?

Do you hear roaring sounds coming out of Fido’s tummy?

Do you suddenly smell him emitting the funkiest odour a little too often?

Or even worse, has Fido been getting runny stools every so often?


An upset tummy is no fun for your pet dog or for you. It’s difficult to think of what to give your dog to ensure you don’t make it worse. Sometimes a little overindulgence or an episode of Fido being a sneaky bandit could result in a fair amount of turmoil in the stomach. Here’s some suggestions of what you can do while your dog is on the mend.


Important Note: If diarrhea persists for over 48 hours or vomiting for over 24 hours, please contact your Vet immediately. If you know it is just a matter of ‘we overdid it a tad bit’, try these remedies to ease your pet.

Let your dog eat Grass

Grass is an instinctive remedy that dogs resort to when they’re feeling unwell. You may be surprised why your dog is suddenly looking to chomp grass and get terribly upset when he vomits after eating some. This is perfectly alright (as long as it’s not your favourite couch or heaven forbid, your pillow!). The little episode of vomiting maybe just what your dog needs to feel better. Ensure there is plenty of water around to keep him or her hydrated. If you pet is continuously vomiting, or going for the grass every single time he is taken on a walk, please contact your pet’s Vet.  

Easy to digest food

Consider feeding your dog easier to digest food when you feel it’s tummy is in trouble. You can try a warm chicken broth (because chicken soup is magic for a dog’s soul too!) or smaller amounts of its regular diet instead of a full meal. If you pet looks dubious and doesn’t eat his meals, consider a simple arrowroot flour made with water and a small amount of salt + sugar to ensure he is kept hydrated. An arrowroot broth will prevent dehydration which is a bigger danger as compared to a mildly upset tummy.


You may need to do nothing!

Your pet may just be feeling gassy, nausea or just a sense of fullness and refuse his food. This is not to be worried about for about 24 hours as long as he is continuing to drink water. A dog may go upto 48 hours without ingesting solid food and this is fine as long as they are drinking a LOT of water. Anything beyond this or the refusal to drink water (at any point) warrants an immediate call to your pet’s Vet.

Checking for Dehydration

  1. Check their gums: It should be pink and shiny (wet appearance, not dry). Press your dogs gums until you see the colour fade to white. Remove your finger and note how long it takes for the pink colour to come back. It should become pink immediately and if it takes a couple of moments longer, your dog could be heading towards dehydration.
  2. Skin Test: Pull the skin on scruff of your pet’s neck up, the way a mother dog lift their puppies. On releasing your fingers if it immediately snaps back down, it is fine. However, it is takes more than 5 seconds to retract, your pet could be feeling dehydrated.

You could offer your pet some electrolyte rehydration solution which could help replace electrolytes they may have lost during vomiting. However, if you feel that your pet is dehydrated, it is strongly recommended that you visit your Vet as dehydration can quickly rollercoaster into a myriad of other problems, some of which can even be life-threatening.


Preventing your Pet’s Tummy Troubles

It is highly recommended that your feed your pet a good quality, easy to digest, nutritious diet. Providing your pet a high quality food is the first step to ensuring good gut immunity.

Dr. Indrakshi Banerji is a RESQ Veterinarian at Pune’s largest animal rescue centre, RESQ Charitable Trust (India). Follow her endearing encounters with animals and her journey of discovery through helping animals on @draks_the_dogtor

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