When dogs don’t eat, it’s unusual. Sure, there are some picky pups out there, but for the most part, a healthy dog eats well. But what do you do when your dog isn’t eating well or feeling well? Here’s what to feed your dog when they are sick.

Give it Time

If your dog is sick or if they won’t eat, the first step to take is simply to wait. Sometimes your dog just might have a stomach bug that will clear up after a day or so. Believe it or not, your dog could even be down in the dumps. If your dog is feeling depressed, they may not want to eat. The good news is that if your dog is just feeling down, they’ll probably feel better tomorrow or even later that day. If your dog has a stomach bug that’s making them not want to eat, they’ll probably get over that too. All you’ll have to do is give them time and make food available for whenever they’re ready to give it a try.

Change Food Brands

If your dog has decided to stop eating, they might be telling you that their food stinks. Most dogs are perfectly content eating the same dry dog food each day. But some dogs get bored with their kibble. If this is the case, try to mix things up a bit. Head over to your local pet store and see if they have samples of dog food. Most pet stores get free samples to give away to customers. Otherwise, they might have very small bags for you to purchase. This will give your dog the chance to try a few different foods, and you might have better luck finding something tasty enough for your dog.

If you’ve got a huge bag of food that your dog doesn’t want to eat, you can try adding a small amount of wet food at mealtime. The wet food can be used to coat the dry food. This will likely get your dog to eat the dry food you already have so it doesn’t go to waste.

Chicken and Rice

Chicken and rice are two foods that are normal ingredients in a lot of high-quality dog foods. Rice is also very bland and easy for your dog to digest. Your dog will also find white rice easier to digest than brown rice. If your dog isn’t feeling well, prepare them some chicken mixed with white rice. It will be one of the easiest things for your dog to digest, especially if they are under the weather. Just make sure that the chicken is cut into bite-sized pieces and that you have removed all bones. Chicken bones have a tendency to splinter when chewed and can get caught in your dog’s throat.

Pureed Pumpkin

If your dog is not feeling well, pumpkin and sweet potato are two veggies you can give to them to help nurse them to health. They both are great sources of fiber which can help to regulate your dog’s digestive system. They also contain tons of vitamins and minerals like thiamin, niacin, iron, and magnesium to name a few.

You can even use pumpkin puree to help your dog regulate their bowel movements. You can make pumpkin puree yourself, or simply use pumpkin puree from a can. If you go the canned route, be sure to check the label to make sure it only contains pumpkin. Many cans of pureed pumpkin also contain spices and sugar as they are meant for baking pies. If you were to feed that to your sick dog, it might send you both to the vet in a hurry.

Baby Food

Baby food is naturally easy to digest as it’s meant for babies. They are also very affordable if your dog is only going to be eating them until they become well. Stick to stage two baby foods which are normally meat-based. Also, double-check that there are no spices like onion or garlic powder. This can make your dog even sicker than they already are.

Stay Away from Spices and Salt

When humans are sick, it is usually recommended to eat bland foods. Chicken soup and crackers are pretty common ways for us to fight off a cold. The same advice goes for your dog. Give them bland foods as long as they are willing to eat them. Don’t give them anything that contains spices as this can irritate their already delicate digestive system. Also, stay away from adding too much salt to their food. They don’t need their food to be salted. Adding too much can throw their hydration off.

Remember, when your dog is sick, usually less is more.

When to Call the Vet

A common cold is no reason to rush to the vet. Your dog will likely feel better in a day or two. However, there are times when you’ll want to get to the vet to make sure they are fine. You should immediately go to the vet if your dog has these symptoms:

  • Your dog is dehydrated
  • Your dog refuses to eat for two days
  • Your dog starts to act strangely or acts confused

For seasoned dog owners, a dog getting a bit of an upset stomach isn’t usual. We’ll often see our dogs munching on grass and occasionally may vomit. Before you know it, they are back to their normal behavior. If the tips above don’t work, always reach out to your vet. The biggest risk to your dog is dehydration, which can be fatal if untreated.