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What to Feed a Sick Dog with No Appetite

small white dog with nose to the floor staring at a dog bone

When dogs are unwell, they frequently stop eating, especially if nausea or vomiting is one of the symptoms. It can be challenging to encourage them to eat, but there are numerous things you can try.

Animals have a natural inclination to hide pain and sickness because it exposes them to danger. Because many common illnesses have similar symptoms, you must have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian if you believe they are unwell. 

There are a Few Bland and Easy-to-Digest Meals you May Provide:

Chicken and Rice in a dog bowl with a bit of kibble

Chicken and Rice:

A simple meal of shredded chicken breast and boiling rice is often served to ill dogs by their owners. Although chicken is inherently simple to digest, shredding it decreases the energy required to break it down. 

Bone Broth:

Another helpful alternative for dogs suffering vomiting episodes is bone broth. It’s also ideal for dogs that have food allergies. You may either buy it from a store or prepare it yourself. A deep roasting pan and a few beef bones with marrow in the center, or a chicken carcass with the joints intact, are all you need.

Simmer for 24 hours on low heat in the water. The more nutrients leak into the water, the longer they simmer. Allow the broth to cool after straining it to remove all the bones before pouring it over your dog’s supper. 

Sweet Potato or Pumpkin:

Sliced sweet potato next to a bowl of sweet potato puree

Sweet potato and pumpkin provide tremendous health advantages for dogs that experience constipation or diarrhea. They include vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as fiber and potassium. This aids in the regulation of a healthy gut and the prevention of constipation or diarrhea. 

Baby Food:

Certain varieties of baby food are frequently used at veterinary emergency clinics to feed the dogs in their care. Baby food is straightforward to swallow and digest, making it an excellent vehicle for administering oral medicines.

Veterinarians are advised in stage II of meat-based baby foods, such chicken, lamb, and turkey, as long as there are no garlic or onion powder present in baby meals. Eating a bland diet might assist ease some of your dog’s digestive suffering as well as offering him food he likes, even if none is supposed to be used in place of expert medical care.

These five dog digestive health recipes also make great treats for when your dog begins to feel better, so save some for later to thank your canine patient. 

Wet Food:

Try introducing wet food to your dog if he typically eats dry food. Wet food is a beautiful treat for many dogs. Wet food, with its high water content, can also help keep your dog hydrated.

Bone Broth:

Close up of bone broth in a stock pot

Bone broth is mild but nourishing, and it soothes an upset stomach. If your dog hasn’t been eating and has a reduced appetite, bone broth might be an excellent method to get them the nutrition they require. 

Allow the broth to cool in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours to allow the fat to develop a firm layer on top. Scoop it out and place the jelly-like broth in the fridge. If you wish to use the broth to moisten dry food, microwave it for just long enough for it to transform from a semi-solid jelly to a liquid, but not long enough for it to become hot, as hot broths might burn your dog’s tongue. For later use, freeze the broth in tiny containers such as an ice cube tray.

While bone broth contains nutritious bone marrow, cooked bones are incredibly harmful to dogs. Before serving, make sure that all of the bones have been removed from the soup. Save yourself a trip to the emergency department by straining the soup to ensure that no tiny bones have evaded your attention. 

Shredded Chicken:

Shredded chicken is gentle on sick stomachs and provides a significant feeding incentive for dogs with low appetites. Plain, seasonless, shredded chicken is easily digested and abundant in vital vitamins, minerals, lipids, and amino acids. Chicken may be refrigerated for three to four days or frozen for two to six months. 


pile of small bright orange pumpkins

Pumpkin is beneficial to your dog’s digestion. It is high in fiber and includes various vitamins, including iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and others. Feed your dog four teaspoons of canned pumpkin that hasn’t been seasoned. Avoid giving your dog pumpkin pie filling since the sugars and seasonings may irritate his tummy even more. 

Adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet might assist with minor constipation. Depending on the size of your dog, veterinarians prescribe one to four teaspoons of pumpkin. As long as it is unseasoned, canned pumpkin is a simple alternative to cooking pumpkin from scratch. Feeding your dog a can of pumpkin pastry can lead to a visit to the doctor since spices and sweets can upset your dog’s stomach and cause further problems.

How Can I Help Bring Back My Dog’s Appetite? 

As you are undoubtedly aware, the last thing you want to do when you are sick is eats, but a sick dog is a weak dog, leading to more severe symptoms. 

The ideal food is bland since it is easy to digest and does not irritate the stomach. Pour a little bone broth over the meal to attract your dog to eat it since it has a strong fragrance. 

Smaller amounts are also recommended because your dog’s stomach may be unable to tolerate a normal-sized meal. 

If your dog does not yet eat, consult a veterinarian. They may want to put your dog on a drip to replenish nutrients lost due to not eating. They may also recommend a veterinary-approved diet or medicine to help them feel better. 

Giving them wet food instead of dry kibble will help them get enough water in their diet and avoid dehydration. This is a frequent adverse effect of dogs that aren’t eating. 

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