In case of illness (diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting), puppies can be given a bland diet consisting of boiled chicken and white rice. It is not recommended to keep a puppy on a bland diet longer than 3-4 days. They will miss out on key vitamins and minerals crucial for their development.
One of the first things a new dog owner needs to figure out, aside from what to name their new puppy, is what they will feed it.
Sometimes, your dog will need a special diet. They might need it to lose weight or because they are vomiting or have shown signs of diarrhea. Or maybe they might need a special diet because they’ve had a few too many treats recently, and they’re showing signs of nutritional imbalance.
A bland diet can cure a lot of ills. But should you put your puppy on one? And if so, how can you do it safely?
What You'll Learn
Bland Diets for Puppies
First, you might want to know what is considered “bland” in the world of dog food. Don’t most dog foods look pretty boring?
While most puppy foods don’t contain a lot of variety when you look at them, they aim to give your dog a balanced diet. They’re full of healthy fats, protein, and other nutritional ingredients that your puppy needs to grow up healthy and strong.
But a bland diet differs slightly from a regular puppy food diet because it contains a single protein source that is low fat and low fiber.
Think about it; if your dog is vomiting, don’t you want to give them something that will be gentle on their stomach? And if they have diarrhea, is that the time to provide them with a high-fiber meal? Obviously not.
A bland diet is good when your puppy can’t handle regular puppy food.
It is easy to make a bland meal for your puppy if you like to cook. For example, you might boil some chicken and a bit of white rice. Just make sure that there are absolutely no seasonings on either the chicken or the rice. And make sure that you are only feeding the puppy a small portion. The last thing you want is to be scrubbing more vomit out of the carpet because they ate too much!
You can get a little fancier with your cooking skills under the bland diet umbrella, adding sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs, but keep it simple.
Plenty of blogs offer full recipes that don’t actually look too bad for humans to also consume. You can go that route and share a lovely, bland meal with your puppy, but it might help to remember that your puppy doesn’t have a distinguished palette.
They’re not going to toss your boiled chicken back at you and demand that you fry it with some lemon juice and capers, so don’t worry about pleasing your dog in that sense. The more boring, the better!
Why Put a Puppy on a Bland Diet?
You might want your puppy to be on a bland diet because they have diarrhea or an upset stomach. You may also want them to be on a bland diet because they were recently vomiting, and you want to reintroduce gentle foods because you think they are ready.
Sometimes, dogs throw up. And there is nothing really wrong with them. They just needed to get something out, and they needed to do it fast. If they recover right away and don’t seem sluggish, they might not need a bland diet because they solved the problem on their own.
However, consult a veterinarian whenever your puppy has an upset stomach or is experiencing diarrhea and or vomiting. You never really know if there’s another issue at play.
Sometimes innocuous symptoms are part of a larger problem. But if you called your vet, and they’ve confirmed that your puppy likely ate something they shouldn’t have and is experiencing some symptoms based on that unwelcome meal, then feed them a bland diet until symptoms improve.
Remember, a bland diet DOES NOT contain all the nutritional value required out of a regular puppy diet, so you don’t want to keep your puppy on this diet any longer than you have to.
As always, make sure that you’ve ruled everything else out. If your puppy continues to appear ill, take them to the vet as more steps must be taken to ensure their health and safety.
Potential Dangers of a Bland Diet For Puppy
There are a few dangers associated with a bland diet for puppies. You should be aware of these dangers before changing anything.
For example, a bland diet is not nutritionally balanced. Even if you are feeding them the whole ingredients listed on the dog food bag, you are not giving them everything they need nutritionally. You are taking out a lot of the vitamins and minerals when you feed your puppy a bland diet… vitamins and minerals that your puppy requires to grow up strong and healthy.
Also, you can’t keep your puppy on a bland diet for too long. If your puppy continues to show symptoms a few days after you have started a bland diet (longer than 3 to 4 days), then a bland diet is not the answer. If they’re still showing symptoms, the bland diet isn’t working.
Be Cautious With a Bland Diet
How do you know if you should put your puppy on a bland diet?
There are a lot of things to consider. Puppies have sensitive stomachs, but if they seem especially ill and you have contacted your vet, a bland diet might help.
Soft foods are ideal, but puppies should have small amounts of whatever they eat throughout the day rather than having fewer bigger meals.
If you put your puppy on a bland diet, you should be nearby to monitor your puppy’s progress. Give them small portions of a bland diet throughout the day, and then monitor whether or not they have any reaction to it or if their meals are digesting correctly.
Reintroducing Regular Meals
Eventually, you need to reintroduce regular puppy food. Slowly incorporate small amounts of their regular food mixed in with some of the wet ingredients from the bland diet and see how the puppy does.
If the symptoms start back up again, you may have returned them to their regular diet too soon. If no symptoms appear, continue to gradually increase the amount of regular puppy food and decrease the amount of bland foods, such as chicken and rice.
Also, don’t be shy about looking at their feces. Do they have a normal color and smell to their poop, given what they have eaten recently?
If their poop looks normal, they may be ready for a regular diet again. So don’t be afraid to go out there and look at your dog’s poop!
Remember not to keep your puppy on the bland diet for too long. You don’t want them to miss out on vital nutrients. You also don’t want to be on the hook for cooking chicken every night for your puppy.
If followed responsibly, a bland diet can help get your puppy back to good health.
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