There are two keys to feeding a dog after a bout of vomiting:
- Keep the portions small and gradually increase the amount per meal; and
- Feed a bland food that’s easy on the pet’s stomach, then gradually re-introduce the dog’s normal food.
If your dog vomits just once or twice and he/she is able to hold down water, re-feeding can be attempted after 12 hours. If the vomiting is recurrent and/or the pet cannot hold down water, then it’s best to wait for 24 hours before attempting to feed a meal. This fasting period will allow the stomach to settle. If vomiting continues. if there are other symptoms present, or if your pet has an underlying health condition, an urgent visit to the veterinary clinic is in order.
In cases where your pet is fasting for 24 hours, it’s important to provide supplementation so the dog’s blood sugar doesn’t drop. This can make the animal feel sick, resulting in a refusal to eat, even once the nausea has passed. Therefore, provide the pet with maple syrup. Provide 1 teaspoon of maple syrup per 20 pounds of body weight, every 6 hours. If the dog won’t lick the syrup, simply rub it on his or her gums.
Preparing Food for a Dog With an Upset Stomach
It’s important to avoid feeding your pet’s normal food immediately after a bout of vomiting. This will likely result in additional vomiting. Instead, provide your four-legged friend with a bland, stomach-friendly food such as:
- Boiled skinless chicken, with the fat blotted away;
- Cottage cheese;
- Plain white rice; and
- Boiled hamburger meat, with the fat drained away.
In the case of boiled hamburger meat, place the cooked meat on a paper towel and blot up the fat and grease. Fats are “heavy” and difficult for the pet’s stomach to process.
If serving chicken, shred the meat so it’s in tiny, easy-to-digest pieces.
Feeding a Dog Who Has Been Vomiting
Begin by serving a very small meal — just a bite or two. The pet may be hungry and he/she may want to eat more, but this will result in another bout of vomiting.
Wait for three hours — this is the amount of time that it takes the pet’s body to process the meal, moving it through the duodenum and into the small intestine. If the pet holds down the meal, feed a second meal — 3 or 4 bite’s worth of food — that’s approximately twice the size of the first meal.
If the pet vomits after eating the first meal, wait for 6 hours then try again. This time, use a blender to turn the food into a milkshake consistency. This makes it easier to digest. If the dog still cannot hold down the meal, it’s time to visit your veterinary clinic.
If your dog holds down the second meal, wait another three hours and then feed a third meal that’s the same size as the prior meal. Repeat this process two more times. If the pet stays vomit-free, you can start serving a small meal four times per day (every six hours.) The meal should be approximately one-quarter of the pet’s normal serving size. Continue this routine for 48 hours.
After 48 hours, begin mixing the bland food with the dog’s normal pet food. The normal pet food will be re-introduced over the course of 48 hours. Continue feeding the dog four times per day, every six hours.
Use the following mixing schedule to re-introduce the dog’s normal pet food:
- 1 part normal pet food, 7 parts bland food;
- 2 parts normal pet food, 6 parts bland food;
- 3 parts normal pet food, 5 parts bland food;
- 4 parts normal pet food, 4 parts bland food;
- 5 parts normal pet food, 3 parts bland food;
- 6 parts normal pet food, 2 parts bland food;
- 7 parts normal pet food, 1 part bland food; and
- Eliminate the bland food and resume normal feeding.
If you observe any additional vomiting during this part of the process, simply back up a step and feed the same food combination for three or four meals. Once the pet is stable, resume the transition to his or her regular food.
Your veterinarian may also prescribe the use of acid reducing medication or Pepto Bismol for your dog. The dosage is based on weight and other factors, such as pre-existing health conditions and other drugs, so it’s important to consult your vet before giving one of these over-the-counter medications.
If your pet vomits on a frequent basis, this may be the result of an underlying health condition or even a food sensitivity. There are medications and special prescription pet foods available to help prevent vomiting or lessen its frequency, so consult your veterinarian.
Notably, the same basic method can be used for cats who are vomiting, though Pepto Bismol is generally not recommended for felines.
Also, there are exceptions to the rules for treating a dog who has been vomiting. For instance, if your dog is vomiting yellow liquid, this is a sign of an upset stomach due to the over-accumulation of stomach acid. The remedy? Feed the dog and alter her feeding schedule so she eats more frequently. Acid reducers such as Pepcid can also be useful in these instances.
See PetLvr’s related article to find out how to determine when and if you should take your pet to the vet clinic due to vomiting.