What to Feed Your Dog When It's Sick

It's upsetting for us as owners when our canine companions are not well and of course, we want to do our best to aid their recovery. It can be a challenge to feed a sick dog, perhaps they are recovering from illness, have an ongoing condition or are just suffering a bout of diarrhea, have decreased appetite, or a stomach upset.

There are 3 things you need to take into account when feeding a sick dog:

  1. firstly you may need to entice them to eat so presenting them with enjoyable food is important,
  2. it also needs to be bland so as not to exacerbate the situation and cause more sickness; and
  3. thirdly it needs to provide the right nutrients and energy so your four-legged friend can get back on his paws as soon as possible.

The following 7 foods can be offered to dogs suffering from nausea, mild stomach complaints, diarrhea and those recovering from surgery or loss of appetite due to illness.

Always check with your vet to rule out further health risks and discuss whether dogs with existing conditions such as allergies, cancer, and diabetes need further nutrition to ensure they stay healthy.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is a mild liquid meal that is easy to prepare, easily digested and provides extra nutrients to your four-legged friend's diet, for dogs recovering from illness or ones that do not feel like eating after surgery


  • Marrow bones, lamb, turkey or chicken bones/carcass
  • Apple cider vinegar


  1. Place the bones into a slow cooker, cover with water and add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (the acidity brings out the nutrients from the bones)
  2. Simmer gently for 20-24 hours.

  3. Allow to cool, scoop off the layer of fat and strain (never feed cooked bones to your dog)
  4. The broth can be frozen and fed as required, this tasty broth is a great way to encourage dogs with reduced appetites to eat either on its own or added to dry food.

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs are good if your canine companion is suffering from diarrhea or vomiting. Start by offering a small amount of the cooled eggs, every couple of hours, and if this is kept down you can slowly increase the amount. As things improve you can add a little plain cottage cheese or some plain boiled rice.  Like humans, many dogs suffer from allergies with dairy and egg being quite common so only feed eggs to your dog if you are sure it will not cause further problems.

Boiled Chicken

Boiled chicken is easily digested for dogs with an upset stomach and can also be an incentive for dogs who have lost their appetite. Packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, fats, amino acids, and minerals, boil skinless, boneless chicken breasts in unseasoned water for around 15 minutes, leave to cool and shred or chop into small pieces. Feed as a snack or mix with some plain boiled rice to make more filling.

Sweet Potato Balls

Sweet potato is often added to dog food because it is high in fiber and essential nutrients. Good for dogs with constipation or diarrhea it is rich in magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C and B6

Peel, boil and mash sweet potatoes, form into small balls and give as a tasty treat  They make a healthy addition to your pet's existing diet, but you should consult your vet about how much sweet potato to feed your four-legged friend as too much vitamin A can be bad for them and even though they have a lower glycemic level than normal potatoes they can cause problems for dogs suffering from diabetes.


If your pooch doesn't suffer from grain allergies, oatmeal can be an extremely beneficial addition to their diet not only is it bland, easily digestible and nutritious it can also have the following benefits

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Help wounds heal quicker
  • Reduce fatigue and nausea
  • Aids in the production of red blood cells
  • Keeps the coat and skin in good condition
  • Helps the dog's body metabolize of proteins and fats giving them more energy
  • Helps retain a healthy immune system
  • Stabilizes the digestive system

As with any addition to your four-legged friend's diet, you should feed oatmeal in moderation generally one tablespoon of oatmeal per 20lbs of your dog's weight, make sure you choose a good quality oatmeal and cook with water, not milk.

Baby Food

Baby food is easy to digest, nutritious low in fat and tasty making it excellent for senior dogs who have lost their interest in food and soothing for those suffering from stomach upsets. It is recommended you choose organic, stage 2 food containing lean meats, such as turkey, lamb, and chicken, ensure there is no garlic or onion in the ingredients as these can be bad for dogs. It is also a great way to administer medication. Of course, baby food isn't nutritionally complete and should not be fed as a complete food but a few teaspoons a day can at least get some nutrients into your canine companion.

White Fish

Another food which can be incorporated into a bland diet for sick dogs is white fish such as cod or coley, rich in protein, easily digestible, and low in fat it is especially good for dogs who have been suffering from digestive upsets or ones that have kidney or liver disease. Poach the fish lightly in water making sure to remove all the bones and serve small portions with plain boiled rice or vegetables such as grated carrots, green beans, fennel or squash. These veggies are beneficial for various types of worms in dogs and feeding 1/2 a teaspoon per 10lbs of your dog's total weight twice daily will help keep those pesky parasites at bay.


None of these foods should be used instead of proper medical care, and if Fido is vomiting or has lost his appetite you should consult with your vet. However, feeding a bland diet, when your four-legged friend is recovering from illness can help to alleviate some of your dog's discomfort and get him back on his paws as soon as possible.

Author Bio
John Devlin
Owner - Dogsbarn.com

Husband, father, and avid dog lover. Currently the proud owner of George a pedigree Golden Retriever that barely leaves my side. However, cute this sounds a little break from the dog hairs every now and then would be nice!


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