What Should You Feed a Dog If It Has a Stomach Issue?

There is nothing pleasant about stomach problems. As humans, we can relate to how bad they can make you feel, from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas and other problems, however, as humans, we can most often times, identify what the cause is or determine whether we need to go to the doctor or not, and can take care of what we need to eat. Dogs are not that lucky. They rely on their human to help them determine the issue and take of their nutritional needs during stomach troubles. So, what should you feed your dog if he has a stomach issue. Here is more on the subject.


If certain symptoms, like vomiting and diarrhea continue for longer than a 24 hour period, or they are associated with other symptoms, like lethargy, lack of appetite, it’s always smart to have him checked by a veterinarian to make sure there isn’t anything serious going on. For the most part, many stomach ailments can be taken care of at home with changes in their dietary needs until the issue passes.

Apply Traditional Chinese Medicine Principles to help with nutritional needs during stomach issues

During acute onsets of stomach problems, Marc Smith, DVM, likes to use Traditional Chinese Medicine food therapy as a guide to help balance the qi (life force) by balancing the internal energies of yin (cold) and yang (heat). He says that all foods have properties that contain either a body warming mechanism, or they cool the body and are neutral.

According to Smith, the majority of the gastrointestinal problems are due to excess yang, or heat. When this is the case, cooling them with yin foods is the treatment. Marc Smith, DVM, is a Traditional Chinese Veterinarian and owner of Natchez Trace Veterinary Services in Franklin and Nashville, TN. He is also co-owner of PET TAO Holistic Pet Products, and here is his advice on what to feed a dog with stomach issues.

1. Fasting

Dr. Smith says that to withhold food is fine when your dog’s stomach is sick, just do not withhold water, as this will cause worse problems, like dehydration. He explains how digestion takes energy, which can further deplete an organ that is already compromised. Letting the GI tract rest and repair so that it will be able to receive the nutrients you introduce back to your dog. As mentioned, water should always be available to your dog when trying to get over stomach problems.

2. Cooling proteins

One food that many people think is a good food for a dog with an upset stomach, is chicken. But Dr. Smith, says that chicken is actually considered a “hot” protein that has the potential to deplete the yin energy even further. Lean cool proteins, like turkey, white fish, low-fat cottage cheese, even pork and organic tofu, is better for your dog. Avoid the yang proteins during upset stomachs, like salmon, venison, lamb, goat, and beef until your pup is better.

3. Millet

Many people like to stick with rice when they have gastrointestinal distress, and typically white rice, however, Dr. Smith says that white rice is actually warming as opposed to cooling. On the opposite spectrum, brown rice is the cooling rice and better for your dog, which is better and more easily digested. Millet is another food that is cooling and is high in protein, plus vitamins and minerals, like B vitamins and manganese, all of which are important in times of an acute GI distress episode.

4. White potato

Not only are potatoes cooling, but they are bland and easy for your pup to digest. They can help sooth an upset stomach, plus give your dog energy without actually putting a strain on the GI system. The best way to prepare potatoes for a sick dog is to boil, steam, or make them, then mash them good. Remove all the skin so it is easier to digest.

5. Banana

Bananas not only cool, but they moisturize the GI system to help restore your dog’s yin energy and help hydrate their bodies. It is also a soluble fiber that helps to bind water in the colon and coat the GI tract. Bananas come loaded with potassium, which is an electrolyte that often gets depleted during episodes of vomiting and diarrhea. You can feed your dog 1 teaspoon of mashed banana per 10 pounds of body weight.

6. Applesauce

Just like bananas, apples also have a lot of pectin that will help rectify loose stool issues and soothe the intestines. An easier version of the apple to eat, is apples made into applesauce. This is easier to digest. Feed your dog approximately 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight of unsweetened apples.

7. Peppermint

Peppermint cools and soothes an upset stomach. It helps ease stomachs battling indigestion, like reduce spasms and calm the muscles in the GI tract that can trap gas and make it difficult to pass. It may also contain antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, and so much so, that it doesn’t take much to help soothe the tummy. You can feed your dog 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint to a small dog, 1/2 teaspoon to a medium dog, and 1 full teaspoon to a large dog. If your dog has reflux disease, (GERD), do not give your dog peppermint as it can worsen these symptoms.

If nothing seems to help in a 24 hour period or gets worse, take your dog to get checked pretty quick so that they can get treated as soon as possible

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