Does Oatmeal Work For Dogs With Diarrhea?

bowl of oatmeal

Oatmeal is recommended for dogs with diarrhea since it is high in starch and fiber. The fiber will absorb the liquid in the intestines, which should put an end to diarrhea. However, too much fiber can have the opposite effect and lead to diarrhea. Feed your dog one tablespoon of oatmeal per 20 pounds of weight. 

Dogs love to eat what we eat. There may be times where you sti down to eat your tasty breakfast, only to feel guilty as you watch those soulful eyes staring up at you. Even though we know people food is generally not ideal for dogs, sometimes we will give in and slip him a bite. 

While healthy “human” foods such as avocado, grapes, and garlic can be toxic to dogs, some foods we eat can actually have health benefits for our furry friends.

Dogs may also need a change from their typical dog food when they have an upset stomach with diarrhea or vomiting. Diarrhea is one of the most common reasons for pet parents to take a trip to the vet. 

We’ve heard that oatmeal can help settle the stomach in humans. But can oatmeal help a dog with diarrhea?

Is Oatmeal Even Safe For Dogs?

The short answer is yes, you can give oatmeal to dogs! As with all things, it is important to remember balance when giving your dog oatmeal. Eating too much of any one thing can create problems.

The Benefits of Oatmeal For Dogs

Oatmeal is high in fiber and is an excellent choice for dogs sensitive to other wheat or grain products.

It can be helpful for dogs who have irregular bowel movements and can also help regulate a dog’s blood sugar. 

Oatmeal also contains many nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants which can add several health benefits to your dog’s diet. 

Oatmeal is a good source of carbohydrates and contains vitamin B and linoleic acid. Rolled oats also contain more nutrients than the processed, instant version. 

These nutrients can help your dog keep his heart, pancreas, and spleen healthy. They can also contribute to a healthy coat and skin to keep your dog looking (and feeling) his best.

Keep The Oatmeal Bland

Though we enjoy dressing up our oatmeal with things like milk, butter, cream, sugar, and other additives, it is important not to prepare it for your dog this way. 

Contrary to popular belief, dogs can’t tolerate milk easily. Their stomachs aren’t built to break down lactose like human stomachs are. Especially if your dog is already struggling with G.I. issues. Stick to boiling the oatmeal in water and keep it simple.

How Much Oatmeal to Feed a Dog With Diarrhea

If you want to include oatmeal in your dog’s diet, the American Kennel Club recommends keeping it to about one tablespoon of cooked oatmeal for every 20 pounds of body weight… or a half cup of cooked oatmeal 1-2 times a week max for large dogs. They also note that oatmeal should not be used as a substitute for the usual kibble.

Why Oatmeal Helps With Doggy Diarrhea

Foods high in starch are typically the most helpful for stomach upset in dogs. Since oatmeal is high in starch and carbohydrates, it is often recommended for dogs with diarrhea. 

Also, it contains soluble fiber, which can help absorb liquid in the intestines and reduce diarrhea. It is important to note that fiber can also contribute to diarrhea, bloating, or vomiting if eaten in excess. If your dog struggles with diarrhea, be careful with how much fiber you introduce into his diet.

What Else Can I Feed My Dog?

If you want to skip the oatmeal, other foods are high in carbs and low in fiber, which can benefit your dog if he is dealing with diarrhea. Some of these choices are white rice, pumpkin, and chicken (among others).

White Rice

White rice can help your dog’s stomach find balance. White rice is low in nutritional benefits, but it’s high in starch. The starch can help to absorb toxins and help balance the stomach.

Canned Pumpkin

Canned pumpkin can also help reduce your dog’s diarrhea while adding other health benefits. Pumpkin is known for its high fiber, carbohydrates, vitamin E, and carotenoids.

Besides helping your dog’s stomach balance, it can also promote heart health and aiding muscles and nerves.

Plain Chicken

Adding plain chicken to white rice or oatmeal will add essential protein to your dog’s diet while he is feeling down. Preparing it boiled and skinless will help eliminate fats that may be difficult for your dog’s stomach to absorb.

Why Does Your Dog Have Diarrhea in the First Place?

When dogs have diarrhea, it is not a disease in itself, but usually points to something amiss in the dog’s G.I. tract. 

The most common reason for diarrhea in dogs is when nutrients aren’t absorbed properly by the dog’s stomach and fluid backs up in the intestines instead of being absorbed. 

This causes the dog’s stool to become soft or watery. Often acute diarrhea will pass in a day or two and is nothing to worry about. 

Make sure that your dog is drinking plenty of liquids so he doesn’t become dehydrated. Young puppies, senior dogs, and toy breeds can be affected much more quickly by dehydration.

Causes and Underlying Conditions

While diarrhea can be caused by something as simple as too many treats, a change in dog food, or other minor issues, it can also be caused by some more significant issues, including:

  • Ingestion of spoiled food/foreign objects
  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Parasites (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia, and Giardia)
  • Overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Toxins/poisons
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Stress

If your dog continues to show signs of vomiting and diarrhea after two days, it is always advisable to have a vet check him out to see if other issues may be going on.

Vets are a great resource. A quick call can help you know if your dog may need to go in for a check-up or if there is nothing to worry about. Signs that can help the vet diagnose what problem your dog may have are:

  • The color of the stool
  • Presence of blood in stool
  • Presence of mucus in stool
  • Recent changes in food or treats
  • Anything your dog could have swallowed, such as bones/toys/toxic substances

Your vet can also recommend the best food choice for your dog to get him over his stomach blues and feeling liek his normal perky self.

Nobody Likes Diarrhea – Not Even Your Dog

When your dog feels poorly, carbs and starches will help by giving him a source of energy and absorbing some of the excess liquid in his intestinal tract. Oatmeal is a great food to try… just make sure to cut the butter and milk! 

The soluble fiber can help firm up his stool, but make sure he is not getting too much fiber. Too much fiber can actually cause diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating…which is what we are trying to avoid! 

Following the AKC’s guidelines for portion control can help your dog get what he needs without overdoing it.

There are other options that are high in starch and low in fiber that may be able to help get your dog’s stomach back into balance. 

It is always our recommendation to call a vet if you have any doubts about your dog’s health or the best food choice to solve his troubles. With the right dietary choices and some expert advice from the vet, your dog should be back on his feet in no time.

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