When a dog has an upset stomach, it’s important to take a conservative approach when offering food, as it will take some time for the dog’s stomach to calm. Offering food too soon or offering too much food can result in prolonged stomach upset and vomiting in a dog.
When to Offer Food to a Vomiting Dog
Wait until your dog has stopped vomiting for a period of at least eight hours before attempting to offer food. During this time, you can offer honey or maple syrup to combat hypoglycemia. In addition, mix 1 part unflavored Pedialyte with 1 part water and encourage your dog to drink to avoid dehydration.
After your dog has gone for eight hours without vomiting, offer a very small amount of food — just a bite or two. The following foods — known as bland foods — are suitable for a dog with an upset stomach:
- Cottage cheese;
- White rice;
- Plain skinless chicken; and
- Boiled hamburger meat with the fat drained away. Remove additional fat by placing the meat on a paper towel; blot the meat before serving. Fat and grease is “heavy” and it will upset the dog’s stomach.
Generally, it’s best to mix a meat with a bit of cottage cheese or rice. Offer just a bite or two, then wait two hours. If the dog keeps the food down, offer a bit more — about 1/8 of the dog’s normal meal size. (about twice the size of the first meal.) If the dog vomits, wait six additional hours before trying again.
If the dog does not vomit after eating the second meal, wait two hours and serve a third meal that’s 1/4 of the dog’s normal meal size.
Then, switch to feeding 1/4 of the dog’s normal meal size four times per day, every six hours. Do this for two full days, using the bland food.
Switching Back to Your Dog’s Normal Food After a Bout of Vomiting
Dogs may vomit if you suddenly switch back to their normal dog food or kibble, so the transition must be a gradual one, performed over the course of 48 to 72 hours (depending on the sensitivity of your dog’s stomach.) Use the following strategy:
- Meals 1 and 2: 1 part normal dog food, 3 parts bland food;
- Meals 3 through 6: 2 parts normal dog food, 2 parts bland food;
- Meals 7 and 8: 3 parts normal dog food, 1 part bland food;
- Meals 9 and after: Serve your dog’s normal pet food.
If your dog continues to vomit and he does not show improvement after 24 hours, it’s important to take your pet to the veterinary clinic for an assessment. Dehydration is a very real concern in a vomiting dog, and your pet may require a fluid injection to combat dehydration. In fact, dehydration can cause nausea and vomiting, so it becomes a self-perpetuating problem. In addition, dehydration can lead to organ failure in a matter of hours.
Your veterinarian my prescribe anti-nausea medication or an appetite stimulant, depending on the precise nature of the dog’s health problem.