Managing Vomiting and/or Diarrhea in a Dog or Cat
The intestinal tract digests and absorbs nutrients. An acute gastrointestinal upset – in other words, vomiting and/or diarrhea – is best managed with nutritional therapy, and occasionally medication if the condition is not resolved. We recommend withholding food for 12 to 24 hours. Water is okay if it is kept down. If not, then that should also be withheld. This allows the intestinal system to rest and eliminate whatever is causing the problem. Fasting decreases the amount of unabsorbed nutrients in the system and decreases the stimulus to vomit or produce loose stool.
If there is still vomiting after 12 to 24 hours contact the office for further assistance. If frequent vomiting continues or you have reason to think the cat or dog may have eaten something that could cause a blockage, a trip to the emergency room for an x-ray may be in order. Vomiting in an older dog or cat requires a veterinary visit if it lasts more than 24 hours. Dehydration is more of a concern in older pets.
Once the vomiting and/or diarrhea have stopped, you can begin to offer a bland diet as follows:
- 1 cup raw white rice (white rice is easier to digest than brown rice)
- ½ pound unseasoned hamburger or boneless skinless white meat chicken or turkey
Boil the rice in two cups of water or according to package directions. Cooked rice should be very soft. If it’s not, use more water and cook longer.
Bring the meat to a boil in enough water to cover the meat by about ½ inch. Turn to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Drain off water and fat. Chop chicken or turkey in small pieces. Add to the cooked rice.
You could also use 1 cup of low fat cottage cheese or 2 jars of baby food chicken in place of the cooked hamburger, chicken or turkey. USE ONLY THESE PROTEIN SOURCES, AND DO NOT BAKE OR FRY THE MEAT. The point is to eliminate the fat.
Refrigerate leftovers. Discard any leftovers after 3 days.
For cats and small dogs under 5 pounds, feed ½ teaspoon at a time 3 times the first day, increasing to 1 teaspoon at a time. For cats and dogs 5 to 10 pounds, feed 1½ teaspoons to 2 teaspoons. For larger dogs increase the amounts. The idea is to feed several small meals the first couple of days. NO OTHER FOODS OR TREATS SHOULD BE GIVEN. Offer small amounts of water throughout the day.
If there is no more vomiting or diarrhea you can transition back to regular food by mixing increasing amounts of it with the bland diet over the next 2 to 3 days. If symptoms recur, contact the office.
The bland diet is not balanced and therefore is not intended for long term use. If you wish to continue home prepared food, contact us for assistance in balancing the diet.