Tips for Feeding a Sick Dog

Feeding a sick dog and ensuring he is getting enough nutrients are essential elements in the healing process. Typically, a dog healing from something like a broken leg can eat his normal diet, but those suffering from gastric or intestinal ills require a modified diet. This will prevent further disruption of their system and to return them to a healthy state. If you've taken your dog to a veterinarian for diagnosis, it's important to follow the feeding guidelines the doctor has established for your dog.

Feeding a Vomiting Dog

If your dog is vomiting, the most important thing to do for him is to make sure he's getting water in small quantities at frequent intervals throughout the day. The small quantity of water prevents additional upset to his stomach, while ensuring that his system receives fluids that are being depleted by the vomiting. Vomiting dogs can quickly become dehydrated, with those losing 10 to 12 percent of their bodily fluids being at risk of death.

During the period that your dog is vomiting, do not feed solid foods. This will only further irritate the stomach and promote more vomiting. Instead, feed small quantities of broth or beef bouillon 3 to 4 times daily. Not only will this provide some nutritional value, it will help with re-hydration as well. Once your dog has quit vomiting for 24 hours, you can start him on a bland diet of rice or Cream of Wheat in small quantities several times a day, gradually increasing quantity as his stomach becomes more stable. You can return to his normal diet when you're sure he will no longer vomit after eating.

Feeding a Dog with Diarrhea

If your dog develops diarrhea, stop feeding his regular food and switch to a bland diet that will also help his feces to become more solid. Rice, macaroni, cottage cheese or boiled milk are all acceptable dietary replacements. If diarrhea is severe, you can provide your dog with an over the counter medication such as PeptoBismol, to help firm up his stool. As with vomiting, it is important that a dog with diarrhea has access to water to help maintain proper hydration in his body.

Sick Dogs Who Are Too Weak or Refuse to Eat

If your dog becomes too weak to eat or refuses to eat, he needs your help to get nutrition into his system. This often involves getting creative with his food choices and hand feeding him. Choose foods that will entice him to eat, avoiding those that your veterinarian has restricted. If you have to feed a dog too weak to eat, either bottle feed broth or feed soft foods that can be easily swallowed in small amounts. For the soft foods, you can place a small amount at the back of your dog's tongue and then stroke his throat to encourage him to swallow.

One of the most important factors in caring for a sick dog is ensuring he is getting food and water to help him maintain strength, and to provide him energy to fight whatever infection or problem he is dealing with. The nutrients he takes in will help him to recover and return to a healthy state.