What To Feed A Sick Dog

Your dog is looking a bit unwell, so you start to wonder what to feed a sick dog (it has to eat, right!?). Your dog is not just a pet, it’s a member of your family. When you notice your dog is feeling under the weather, it’s just as upsetting as your child feeling unwell. Luckily there are a few home remedies for when your dog doesn’t feel well.

One of the most common indications of sickness, is when your dog’s nose is dry. It could just be an indication of a little bit of dehydration or from too much time in the sun, but if you notice your dog looking unwell and its nose is dry as well, it is most likely a cause for concern.


Before we dig into what to feed a sick dog, let’s first make sure we figure out what to look out for to know if you dog is perhaps sick.

Symptoms of a Sick Dog

Let’s look at a few symptoms you need to look out for when you suspect your dog is feeling unwell. Firstly, trust your gut feeling, you know your beloved pet and you will notice when they start behaving funny. Rather be safe than sorry, don’t just dismiss your concerns as paranoia.

An obvious red flag is a lack of appetite. The average dog is a big fan of dinner time. When your dog refuses to eat it could indicate it has a fever, an infection or in more severe cases liver or kidney disease. Together with a lack of appetite, your dog might start vomiting or suffer from diarrhea.  The symptoms could be short-lived, but if your dog misses two meals in a row, you should take it to the vet for a checkup.

If your dog suddenly gains or loses weight unexpectedly, you need to keep an eye on it. If you had recently changed to a new food brand, you can keep this factor in mind, but if the problem persists a visit to the vet is advised. A new brand of food should help your pet maintain a healthy weight, make sure you select the best brand for your pet’s health. Excessive weight gain or loss could be indications of serious issues, such as a hormone imbalance or cancer.

Same as their human counterparts, dogs become grumpy when they feel sick.  As mentioned above, you know your pet, so when it starts acting in an unusual manner, you need to pay attention. When your dog is in pain, it might lash out at you in an attempt to protect itself.

Together with the grumpiness, a lack of energy is another indication that something is wrong. Some dogs are more docile than others, but when you notice a change in their usual behavior, you need to investigate what is causing the problem.

A fever is a classic symptom of an infection, this is when your dog’s body temperature is above 102.8 Fahrenheit. The dry nose is usually an indication of a fever. Click here for three ways to test your dog’s temperature.

A bit of a nasty one to inspect, but you need to pick up your dog’s poop anyway. If its droppings are too dry or too loose, it’s another indicator of a bigger problem. The poop should be firm and stick together when you pick it up. Dry droppings is an indicator of constipation. If the poop is too loose, close to being a liquid, this is in indication of diarrhea.

Together with your dog’s excretions, its water consumption must also be monitored. Drinking too little or too much is also cause for concern. If your dog refuses to drink water or eat food, plus possibly vomits, it is definitely a big red flag. If it drinks too much water, it could be a sign of a fever or dehydration. More severe symptoms include hormonal disturbances or kidney failure.

Home remedies for a sick dog

Luckily there are natural ways for dogs to deal with their health hiccups, such as eating grass. Who knows why, but it is an instinctual remedy that dogs will naturally seek out when they start feeling unwell. When you notice your dog munching on your lawn, keep an eye on it for the next couple of days to make sure it’s not a serious problem.

Sometimes it could just be a temporary issue, but to give you a time-gauge to go by: if vomiting continues for more than 24 hours or diarrhea for longer than 48 hours, you should take your pet to the vet. When your dog starts showing symptoms of being unwell, you need to make sure that they remain hydrated at all times. You could give your dog a children’s electrolyte drink if you suspect they are becoming dehydrated.

How to check for dehydration in dogs: Lift your dog’s lips and check the gums, it should appear wet and be pink. Press your finger against the gum and observe how quickly it returns to the normal color, it should happen immediately. If it takes a couple of seconds, it could be a sign of dehydration.


The following is a list of what to feed a sick dog, foods found in your home that are pet-friendly to help your dog recover from feeling unwell.

Chicken and Rice

These are mild foods, primary ingredients in lots of dog foods. The combination will soothe an upset stomach. All you need is boneless and skinless chicken with plain rice. Cook the chicken thoroughly and shred it into small pieces. The blandness of white rice makes it more suitable. Don’t add any butter, oils or seasoning – these will only irritate your dog’s stomach.

Shredded Chicken

Most dogs won’t be able to resist this treat and it’s an easy way to calm an upset stomach. The chicken needs to be plain and unseasoned. Boil it and shred it up so that it is easy to digest. Chicken has lots of minerals, essential vitamins, amino acids and fats to help your dog build up its strength.

Sweet Potato

Another great treat that dogs can’t resist and it is often used in dog food products. It’s full of vitamins and high in fiber as well. It also contains manganese and potassium.  The fiber helps to regulate your dog’s intestines, dealing with constipation and loose stools. Add plain, unseasoned sweet potatoes to your pet’s diet. Make sure you peel it before cooking it.


Similar to sweet potatoes, pumpkin’s high fiber content can help to regulate your dog’s digestive system. It also contains essential nutrients to help give your pet a quick boost when it’s feeling a bit under the weather. Same as the sweet potatoes, make sure you peel the pumpkin before feeding it to your dog and don’t add any seasoning.

Bone Broth

This is a mild, liquid meal that will soothe the most upset of doggy stomachs. Plus, it’s a deliciously nutritious way to add flavor and moisture to dry food, encouraging your pet who has lost its appetite. Fill a pot with beef marrow bones or any bones with plenty of joints such as chicken legs or turkey. Cover the bones in roughly two to three inches of water and cook it on low for about 20 to 24 hours. Place it in the fridge to cool off for 2 to 3 hours, so that the fat can form a hardened layer on top. Scoop off the fat before giving it to your dog.

Baby Food

This is a secret weapon of the emergency veterinary hospitals. The baby food is easy to swallow plus digest and an effective way to administer oral medications. The recommended type of baby food is Stage II meat-based like lamb, turkey and chicken.  Just make sure the food doesn’t contain onion or garlic powder.

Wrapping Up – what to feed a sick dog

Now you have a better idea of what to feed a sick dog and can look after your beloved pet with more confidence. These solutions are to be used in mild cases only, if any symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, you need to take your dog to the veterinary clinic for professional assistance.

Have Some Tips On what to feed a sick dog?

If you have some experience with a sick dog and want to share some advice on what to feed a sick dog with the rest of community, please share it with us in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!

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Catherine - January 28, 2018

My german sheppard is not feeling great she has had a bit of Diareha and not she feels she has to go out all the time but nothing comes out. She vomited once and she is not eating. Should i leave her ro rest or think it maybe something serious.


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