Dogs think their stomachs are made of iron, but there are times when your dog will get into something that will upset her tummy and can cause problems at both ends. You may have heard that rice is good for digestive problems in dogs, but it doesn't coat the stomach.
Rice for a Troubled Tummy
If rice won't coat your dog's stomach you probably wonder why it is recommended when Trixie's tummy is acting up. Rice is usually given as part of a bland diet for dogs with digestive problems because it is so easy to digest. If your dog has diarrhea or is throwing up, keep her from eating for several hours, up to 12 hours or until she stops vomiting, then try feeding her a mixture of two cups cooked white rice with one cup of cottage cheese or shredded cooked chicken. Go slowly at first. She may be hungry but eating too much too quickly can upset her digestion again.
Rice in Commercial Food
You probably see rice a lot as a common ingredient in commercial foods. Because it's easily digested there's nothing wrong with that, but it was actually first used because there was such low incidence of allergic reaction to it. Rice was initially substituted in dog food because of the need to find an ingredient that wouldn't cause itching and hair loss in dogs who had allergies to wheat or corn. The digestion issue was just a bonus. Rice as an ingredient in your dog's food is a plus, but it isn't necessary to choose a brand of food just because it contains rice -- unless of course your pup has an allergy that keeps her from eating other dog foods.
In addition to feeding your dog bland food to soothe her tummy, there are other home remedies you can try. Yogurt and cottage cheese will increase the good bacteria in her digestive system and help balance it back out. A few spoonfuls of canned pumpkin will help calm her stomach and will also alleviate diarrhea. Ginger is effective for calming nausea and plantains can bring your dog's digestion back to normal. Some over the counter anti-diarrheal medications for humans can be given to your dog, but you should always consult your vet before administering any medication to her to make sure it is safe and that you dose her correctly for her weight.
Keep Her Hydrated
When your pup isn't feeling well keeping her hydrated is essential to promoting a recovery. She needs fluids and electrolytes when she is sick just as much as you do. Make sure she has access to a supply of water at all times. If she seems reluctant to drink, give her an ice cube or two to lick on. To replenish her electrolytes, give her a pediatric electrolyte drink or even a sports drink -- just make sure it is one that only contains electrolytes only and isn't one that has caffeine or other energy enhancing ingredients.
- Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books
- Vet Info: Dog Upset Stomach Treatment with Home Remedies
- Dog Grooming for Dummies; Margaret H. Bonham
- Vet Info: Treating a Dog with an Upset Stomach
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.