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11 Surprising Reasons to Introduce A Bland Diet for Dogs

Dogs are a lot like us when they don’t feel well.  Sometimes a bland diet for dogs is the perfect thing to do.

It’s hard to eat when you’re sick or recovering from surgery, especially when it affects the digestive system. 



If your dog has recently been ill or is recovering from surgery, he might not be feeling his best. Your dog might have a sore throat where the intubation tube was placed during surgery, or maybe he’s nauseated because of the anesthesia.


A poor appetite is usually accompanied by something else. Your dog might be tired, stressed, in pain, or suddenly not interested in the food you’ve been giving him all along.

In this case, don’t force your dog to eat. Dogs can actually go a long time without eating, so as long as your dog is staying hydrated, he/she will be fine. 


It’s not always easy to understand when or why your dog has an upset tummy. My golden retriever had an uneasy stomach the other night and the only way I could tell was from the loud rumbling coming from her belly.  It sounded like sludge being digested through a meat grinder.  Imagine that noise if you will.

In this case, remove your dog’s regular food and replace it with bland food until you think your dog’s feeling better. Signs of feeling better include more energy, “good” poops, and he/she might start sniffing around for their regular dog food.


There’s nothing worse than a dog with diarrhea. It’s awful to witness, and even worse when you’re out on a walk in public. You can’t clean up diarrhea from a sidewalk! 

The minute your dog shows signs of diarrhea, start him or her on a bland diet for dogs. Keep treats and human food out of reach in case he/she is the type of dog to get into the goodies, if you know what I mean.
If the diarrhea continues for more than a day or two, just give your veterinarian a call. There are lots of reasons for diarrhea including stress and parasites.

WARNING: If you see other symptoms along with diarrhea and vomiting including

  • bloody stool
  • blood in the vomit
  • extreme fatigue
  • weakness
  • extreme thirst

Get your dog to a veterinarian. Have a quick look around the house to be sure your dog didn’t accidentally swallow something he shouldn’t have. There are many poisonous plants, household cleaners, and other toxins that dogs should never have. That includes chocolate.


Sometimes, it’s not the cancer itself making your dog feel sick. Chemotherapy and radiation sometimes take a toll on the dog’s energy level and appetite. Your dog might be incredibly nauseated from the chemo side-effects. He/she might vomit and not want to eat anything at all.  If that’s the case, try to keep your dog hydrated with water or (if given the veterinarian’s okay), a drink with electrolytes such as Pedialite.


Gastroparesis forces peristaltic action in the gut. You know that rolling feeling you get just before you are about to throw-up? It’s something like that. Wavelike motions move through the stomach muscles causing cramping pain, excess gas and bloating, and difficulty digesting food.

Dogs with gastroparesis normally vomit shortly after eating. They may feel nauseated or not hungry at all.  In fact, your dog might suddenly starting eating non-food items like socks, nails, magnets, etc.  This condition is called pica.


Food allergies are the #1 reason for a bland diet for dogs. The only way to determine what food your dog is allergic to is to work through the elimination diet. During an elimination diet, you aren’t suppose to introduce any new food. A bland diet given before the actual elimination diet begins is a good way to settle the tummy before introducing the dog’s normal foods into his/her diet.

Speak to your veterinarian about how to do this. Not all clinics perform this the same way.

Keep reading! As a Thank-You for being here, I’m offering a free bland diet guide that you can scoop up below.


Dog depression is a condition affecting countless canine companions. Statistical reports are hard to find on this topic, but an article published in 2013 in the Telegraph suggests that possibly 1 in 4 dogs may suffer with depression (United Kingdom).

Veterinarians have been prescribing antidepressants to dogs since 1998 for a number of reasons. Antidepressants are thought to reduce anxiety and depression, enabling the dog to have a clear mind capable of learning new, better behaviors.

I have been in clinically depressed states before, and I can tell you that I certainly didn’t feel like eating.  If your dog goes through a longer period of not eating, you may need to slowly bring him back by integrating a bland diet.


Does can easily hurt the insides of their mouths, but how many of us would notice? Unless there are visible signs of blood or trauma, there’s a good chance you don’t know what’s happening in there.

Dogs can damage their teeth and gums from chewing on bones that splinter, biting on extremely hard toys, rocks, or other non-food items.  If your dog is suddenly pawing at his mouth, it’s a good sign that there’s something going on.

You should gently pry your dog’s mouth open and check for anything obvious, like an embedded object. If there is nothing, begin a bland diet of soft foods to make it easier for him/her to eat. After a few days, gradually integrate the normal dog food back into the diet.

If you still don’t see improvement, I suggest taking your dog to the veterinarian for further examination.


I brush my dogs’ teeth. Sometimes. When I think of it. They’re both getting older and you know how it goes. Things start to break down and fall apart.  A dog’s teeth are no different. It’s very likely that the reason your dog isn’t feel well is because of tooth pain.

You might notice your dog pawing at one side of his mouth and turning his head away from the food you give him. Try a very soft, bland diet and contact the veterinarian, especially if your dog has unusually bad breath. That type of bad breath might signify tooth rot and infection.


Sometimes I think that if I am comfortable, then my dog must be as well. That’s just not the case, however. The amount of sunshine and heat your dog can tolerate depends a lot on the breed, size, thickness of fur, and ability to breath clearly. Brachycephalic dogs (dogs with flat noses) find it difficult to keep cool. Pugs, boxers, and bull dogs are just a few examples of breeds prone to heatstroke.

Signs of heatstroke include:

  1. Intense panting, barking, or obvious signs of agitation.
  2. Excessive thirst and drooling
  3. Dark-colored (red or purple) gums or tongue
  4. Glassy eyes
  5. Elevated body temperature of 40ºC (104ºF) and up
  6. Watch for weakness and staggering
  7. Seizures
  8. Fainting

A trained veterinarian will replenish your dogs fluids. Once your dog is feeling better, a bland diet for dogs is a good way to ease him back into his normal food routine.

Introducing a bland diet for dogs happens for any number of reasons, but if you are facing that situation, you might need help deciding what and how much to give.

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