The Best Bland Diet For Dogs
Let’s face it, when you are sick, there is nothing like a nice hot cup of chicken noodle soup. Since dogs can’t eat chicken noodle soup, the next best thing for them when they are sick is a bland diet. If you have a dog that is just getting over a GI issue, a bland diet is a key to getting back to optimal health. What is the best bland diet for dogs?
The best bland diet for dogs is made from chicken breast and a little white rice. There are other variations that can be used depending on the situation the dog is recovering from. It all comes back to lean protein from meat and a few carbs from simple rice. The bland diet that I use for my dogs is boiled lean chicken and rice.
I have had many dogs over the last 40 years, German Shepherds being my favorite breed. All of them including my current dog Clove have suffered from a GI issue at least once as a puppy. Every now and then the adult dogs would also have problems. So this is the method of making bland food for dogs that I have used for many years.
How to make a bland diet for your dog
The bland food I have made for my dogs over the years only requires a few simple ingredients. They can be easily purchased at your typical grocery store. In order to make the bland diet you will need the following ingredients:
- Chicken Breast (you can also use lean beef)
- White rice
With just those two ingredients you can make a food that will help get your dog back to eating its normal diet without causing any further GI issues. Once you have both items on hand, here are the simple steps to make the bland food:
Step 1 – Fill a large pot with enough water that it will cover all of the chicken you plan to use.
Step 2 – Add the chicken to the water, and place a cover on the pot. Do not add anything else to the water, this includes flavor-enhancing spices or any oils, it is not needed and can be harmful.
Step 3 – Bring the water to a rolling boil for about 30 minutes.
Step 4 – In the last 10 minutes add a cup or two of rice to the boiling water.
Step 5 – Save some of the water before you discard most of it, it can be nutritional for the dog to drink.
Step 6 – Drain the rest of the water, and separate the chicken from the rice.
Step 7 – Allow the chicken to cool for a few hours then it can be broken into smaller strips to be fed to the dog.
Step 8 – package both the chicken and rice into separate containers. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. The excess can be stored in the freezer for when it is needed.
The total time to make this can be about an hour if you factor in the water boiling time and the cooling off of the meat.
*** Pro Tip – just because the outside of the chicken is cool, does not mean the inside is. You can still burn yourself on the inside of the chicken after the outside is cool to the touch, it stays hot for quite a while.
How long should you feed a dog a bland diet?
The main thing is you want to make sure you do more good than harm to the dog. If you feed the dog a bland diet for too long, you will end up not giving it a balanced diet. Dogs do need other vitamins and minerals that are not present in rice and chicken. The main point of this bland diet is to give the dog some time to let its stomach and GI tract settle down from its ailments. This bland food is easier to digest than kibble or raw meat if you are using the BARF diet.
In reality, the dog should be fed a bland diet for about a week in total. The first day or two will strictly be bland food. After a few days with no further GI issues, you can slowly start to transition back to your dog’s normal food. As the days progress, you should be feeding the dog more of its own food and less of the bland food. I usually switch my dogs back over about 7 days.
How much bland food should you feed your dog?
This is something you need to be careful with, the first few meals should only be about 1/4 of a cup to make sure the dog is over whatever was causing it GI issues.
If you feed the dog a large amount all at once you are going to make it have issues all over again. The dog will need some time to allow its gut biome to build back up some healthy bacteria. You should be feeding the dog smaller more frequent meals for the first day or two.
It is certainly not an exact science, it is really based on the size of your dog, its age, and how sick it was. The 1/4 of a cup is a good starting point, if you have a larger dog you may even try a little more. My German shepherd puppy is about 45 lb and the last time she had an issue I was giving her about 1/2 of a cup 4X a day. The chart below shows how much I feed my dog.
|Day||Bland Diet Amount||Normal Food|
|1||1/2 Cup 4X a day||None|
|2||1/2 Cup 4X a day||1/4 of the normal daily total|
|3||1/2 Cup 4X a day||1/4 of the normal daily total|
|4||1/2 Cup 3X a day||1/2 of the normal daily total|
|5||1/2 Cup 3X a day||1/2 of the normal daily total|
|6||1/2 Cup 2X a day||3/4 of the normal daily total|
|7||1/2 Cup 2X a day||3/4 of the normal daily total|
|8||None||Normal Daily total|
A quicker way to make a bland diet for dogs
There may be a time when you don’t have a full hour to make the dog some bland food. There is another simple solution to this, you can buy canned chicken. Just be sure to buy the kind that is stored in water, and also look for a low-salt version. I keep a total of 4-6 cans at home in case of an emergency. This is essentially a canned bland diet for dogs.
You can also buy some steamed in the bag rice, just make sure it is plain rice with no spices. There are many spices that humans can eat that are harmful to dogs. Did you know onions can actually rip a dog’s red blood cells apart? In fact, anything in the allium genius can cause severe issues with dogs.
When should you give your dog a bland diet?
There can be many reasons for using a bland diet with a dog. This diet is considered gentle on the dog’s stomach so that is why it is used typically after a dog has been ill. Below are a few of the main reasons to feed your dog a bland diet.
- After a GI issue such as vomiting or diarrhea
- If you are having issues getting a sick dog to eat
- During a dog’s recovery from surgery if instructed by your veterinarian
What to do if you have leftover bland food?
If you find yourself in a situation where you made too much bland food, don’t worry it can have other good uses. You can use the boiled chicken as a treat for dog training. Dogs respond really well to high-value treats if they are at all food motivated. If training your dog is not something you actively do, you can also store it in the freezer for up to a few months.
Can you use dark meat for a dog’s bland diet?
It is not recommended that you use dark chicken meat for bland food. Dark meat is much fatter than lean breast meat. If you are in a pinch, it can be used, just boil it longer to get some of the fat to render out of the meat. In most cases, I will discard the extra fats, and you will see oil floating on top of the water. Dogs do not really digest the oils very well.
What is a safe way to help a dog gain weight after a bland diet?
The best way that I have found to help a dog gain weight safely is to use bone broth in conjunction with a bland diet while the dog is recovering from the GI issue. Once the dog is off the bland diet and transitioned back to the normal food, you can continue to give your dog the bone broth as a calorie supplement to get it back to its normal weight. For more information on homemade bone broth for dogs, check out my post.
What is the best bland food for dogs with diarrhea?
Plain old boiled chicken and rice are the best combination to give a dog when it is having diarrhea issues. The key is to wait until 24 hours after its last loose stool before feeding it the bland diet. If you jump right into feeding the dog right after a loose stool, you may just be contributing to the problem.