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Upset Stomach - What To Feed

It can be so tough to know what to do when our woofers are feeling under the weather. It's important that we recognize what we can help at home and what requires a trip to the vet.



There's also contradictory information online about what to do and I hope in reading this post you feel more confidence in helping your dog feel better 💜


You may be advised that a "Chicken and Rice Diet" is what's highly recommended when your dog is sick and let's chat about why this unfortunately ISNT the best option and can actually do more harm than good in this scenario.


First, rice is a heavy carbohydrate that is not easily digested by our dogs. It takes significant effort for their more carnivorous system to break down. Rice also has a very high glycemic index (white rice has a GI of about 72, brown rice has a GI of about 68) which means it will cause a spike in your dogs blood glucose levels. White rice in particular is very starchy, which contributes to yeast issues in dogs like ear and skin infections. It also really has nothing nutritionally to offer our dogs and is just a filler.


I also do not typically recommend feeding chicken to a recovering dog as chicken is very high in Omega 6's, and excess of these fatty acids will trigger the body to produce a pro-inflammatory response. In Chinese medicine, chicken is classified under a "hot" protein, which again, produces a pro-inflammatory response which is exactly the opposite of what we want! For a dog that hasn't been feeling well we should focus on more "cooling" and/or "neutral" proteins when possible such as turkey, beef, rabbit, duck and pork.


On that same note, you all know how my career is designed to get pet owners to include fresh food to their dog's kibble diet, HOWEVER, if you have a dog that has been kibble fed for an extensive period of time and then we suddenly introduce chicken and rice once they aren't feeling well, that's not ideal either. We don't want to completely switch the diet and add new things when they aren't feeling well and their digestive system isn't at its best. This will just contribute to MORE digestive stress.


So what can we do that WON'T trigger inflammation and will soothe the gut?


  • Fast for 12 hours *but for healthy adults only. Fasting is not for young puppies, older senior dogs or those with medical conditions such as diabetes or cancer. Skip this step if so. Especially if they've eaten something that's the cause of the upset, this will help clear their system and start over.


  • HYDRATE! Never, even for sick dogs, withhold fresh clean drinking water. Encourage your dog to drink throughout the day, add water to every meal and even offer ice cubes if your dog likes them. Other great hydrating options include Bone Broth (an excellent source of important minerals and can help boost the immune system. Bone broth is also loaded with glycine, which aids digestion by helping to regulate the synthesis of bile salts and secretion of gastric acid), Goat's milk and decaffeinated organic green or chamomile tea.


  • Introduce their regular type of meal, but in small, more frequent quantities. Rather than give the system a large meal or two in a day, take the time to offer smaller meals throughout the day which is must easier of their digestive system. For


  • For raw fed dogs, offering Turkey is a great option to be easy on the digestive system. Turkey, although classified as a "warming" protein is still a great alternative to chicken. Turkey is much easier to digest and contains marginally higher levels of Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin B6 as well as Vitamin B12 making it an overall better choice to chicken. It is also not a protein dogs are often allergic too. Beef is a "neutral" protein and is also a great choice. Ground Turkey and/or ground Beef are great options.


Vomiting


  • If your dog is vomiting it's important to know the difference between "hunger pukes" and concerning vomiting.


  • Hunger pukes are the result of having too much time in between meals and the stomach sits empty, then produces bile. The vomit will be yellow-orange and foamy. The solution to this is feeding your dog their meals closer together and this usually fixes the issue (also giving a small snack such as an egg before bed if happening over night).


  • Your dog could also be having acid reflux issues if it happens after meal times


  • Concerning vomiting would be happening frequently, your dog is gagging without producing anything, is paired with diarrhea, is blood tinged or they can't hold water down. In these cases do not offer anything but water and see your vet as soon as possible.


Diarrhea


  • Contrary to the popular belief, occasional diarrhea is NOT common or normal in our dogs. Occasional diarrhea is a sign of digestive imbalance, a food intolerance, lack of fibre or something bigger.


  • If your dog is having routine or occasional diarrhea they should be on quality pre and probiotics in order to repair and support the growth of health gut flora. I always recommend doing a 10 day cycle of pre and probiotics every 3 months throughout the year to keep the beneficial bacteria healthy and thriving and also boost their immune system. I only use The Adored Beast Line and the "Gut Soothe" is ideal for those suffering occasional diarrhea.


  • Concerning diarrhea would be it happening in a young puppy or senior dog, it is happening every few hours with no improvement, is accompanied by vomiting or is bloody. If this is the case, offer nothing but water and see your vet as soon as possible.


Herbal supports


  • Pre and Probiotics as mentioned above


  • Slippery Elm Powder. This is a substance that when mixed with water created a gel that covers the mucosal lining of the digestive tract which makes is helpful for both vomiting and diarrhea. A study in 2013 concluded that 82% of the dogs in the study with vomiting responded to slippery elm within 2 days or 4 doses and


  • Mint Leaves are a calming and soothing herb, and can be used to soothe an upset stomach and nausea, reduce gas and aid in digestion. Sprinkle a small amount of fresh, chopped mint onto your dog's meals.


  • Organic Ginger Root which is known for its ability to to soothe an upset stomach and nausea and aids in digestion. Veterinarian Demian Dressler (Dog Cancer Vet), recommends the following dosages


Fresh organic Ginger Root:

Under 35 lbs … ½ tsp, 3 times daily

35 lbs or more … ¾ tsp, 3 times daily


Powdered Ginger:

10 to 20 lbs … ⅛ to ¼ tsp

20 to 50 lbs … 1 tsp

50 to 100 lbs … 2 tsp

Over 100 lbs … up to 1 tbsp


Ginger tea:

You can buy ginger tea or make your own from fresh ginger root.

10 to 20 lbs … ¼ cup, 1 to 3 times daily

20 to 50 lbs … ¼ to ½ cup, 1 to 3 times daily

50 to 100 lbs … ½ to 1 cup, 1 to 3 times daily

Over 100 lbs … up to 1 cup, 1 to 3 times daily


Capsule:

10 to 20 lbs … ½ to 1 capsule, 1 to 3 times daily

20 to 50 lbs … 1 to 2 capsules, 2 to 3 times daily

50 to 100 lbs … 1 to 2 capsules, 3 to 4 times daily

Over 100 lbs … adult human dose

*Do not give ginger to dogs on blood thinning medications.


  • Simple Fiber. Some dogs, especially raw fed, low carbohydrate fed dogs can have an issue with fiber content being too low which results in occasional loose stools. Adding in healthy sources of fiber can help bulk things up. Cooked sweet potato and green beans are great options. Some people opt for canned pumpkin which works great as well, but it does have a high glycemic index (75) and should be limited in the diet and not a daily addition.


If the symptoms do not improve after 3-5 days, your dog becomes lethargic or restless, is constantly drooling or has bloody vomiting or diarrhea, please contact your Vet team for further diagnostic tests right away.


Key steps for stomach upset recap

  • Fast

  • HYDRATE

  • Introduce regular meal type in small, frequent amounts

  • Add herbal supports


If your dog suffers from routine occasional stomach upset and you'd like to have a custom wellness plan to repair their gut please reach out! wooferwellness@gmail.com






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