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What Can Dogs Eat When They Are Sick?

When your furry best friend is feeling under the weather it just breaks your heart. They are always there when you need them and seeing your poor pooch ignoring food and moping is a recipe for panic. Frankly, most of us would just take our own plate and put it down for them but the wrong foods can make things worse.

So, what CAN dogs eat when they are sick?

The good news is that your best friend is an omnivore, so we’ve got a lot of options, but we need to choose carefully since your dog may not eat a little of whatever you choose. Also, you are going to want to watch closely. These tips can help with minor stomach upset and diarrhea but if you think that something more serious is going on then don’t hesitate to bring your vet into this!  

That said, let’s talk about sick-doggy comfort foods with some kick!

First things first, we need to get your dog motivated. Since your dog has a super-sniffer, a little beef bouillon powder on the food that you select will smell appealing and might get your dog to give the food a try. You can also try breaking a favorite treat into pieces that you mix into the food in front of them so that they know it’s there.

Finally, the answer might even be in your own backyard. If your dog needs to vomit to feel better then a quick trip to the yard or simply a brief walk will show you.

Your dog will start eating grass.

Let them, as this is instinctual and can help, also if your dog vomits more than once during this process then that can be a sign that an immediate vet trip is warranted. If he or she just eats a little and vomits not at all or only once then we are ready to try some choice foods that can help.

Here are some foods of the best foods your dogs can eat when they are sick:


Dogs eat weird things sometimes and more than a few seem to be fond of pumpkin. This is great because peeled, unseasoned pumpkin can be boiled soft and has a lot of useful vitamins and minerals. It also happens to be high in fiber and that can help your poor pooch with digestion.  

Chicken and rice soup

A large number of commercial dog foods out there have chicken and rice in them for a good reason. It’s nutritious and easy on their tummies. If you get some boneless and skinless chicken breasts you can chop them up, boil them, and serve them to your ailing dog with a small amount of rice mixed in. Just be sure to leave out the salt so that we don’t risk further dehydration.

Boiled, grated chicken

If you don’t have rice, just boiling up the chicken is fine, just shred it a little with a grater to make it into small, easy to eat pieces. These you can feed to your dog by hand if they won’t eat it out of the bowl, just handle it like a treat and encourage them.

Boiled Cod

Dogs are picky and some will turn their nose up at chicken but just about knock you down for a good piece of fish. Try some boiled cod either alone or with rice for your fish-loving dog if chicken simply will not do

Baby food

Veterinarians often recommend Stage II meat-based baby foods, provided that they do not have powdered garlic or onions in them. Go to the store and you can get a variety, such as turkey, chicken, and lamb. It’s got a 2-year shelf life, so you can stock up on this for emergencies!

what can dogs eat when they are sick

Rehydration and a quick warning about Pedialyte

You may have heard that Pedialyte can help to hydrate a dog fast. We recommend that you avoid this. In some cases, it can upset your dog’s stomach further and even lead to MORE diarrhea. This is because it is an electrolyte formula designed for humans, not for dogs. You also want to make sure that you give your dog water in small doses.

As we know, our furry buddies sometimes overdo it with food or water and if your dog drinks too much then they might vomit again. Boil some water, let it cool quickly in the fridge, and serve it sparingly so that your dog can keep it down along with the food you’ve just gotten them to eat.  

Some final advice

If you are able to get your dog to eat then encourage them to continue, feeding them every 2 to 3 hours the first day to help them build up their strength. The next day you can try larger volumes of food and if your dog is improving then he or she may soon be ‘in the clear’.

That said, if your dog won’t eat anything or if the vomiting and diarrhea still seem to be getting worse then you should get your dog to the vet immediately. Your vet will quickly sort things out and if it’s something serious then you’ve got a head-start. We wish you and your dog the best and hope that you both get to feeling better soon!

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