My Older Dog Has Diarrhea from Chicken – What to Feed Instead?

My Older Dog Has Diarrhea from Chicken: Safe Feeding Alternatives

my older dog has diarrhea from chicken what to feed instead

When your older dog has diarrhea due to chicken in their diet, it's essential to consider alternative nourishment. Digestive issues like diarrhea can cause discomfort and may be a sign of food sensitivities or other underlying health concerns. As dogs age, their dietary needs and tolerances can change, making it important for you to adapt their meals accordingly to maintain their health and comfort.


Finding suitable dietary alternatives to chicken involves selecting easily digestible proteins that are gentle on your dog’s system. Options such as lean turkey or cooked fish can be good substitutes because they are lower in fat and less likely to irritate your senior dog's digestive tract. Besides switching proteins, you may need to incorporate a bland diet consisting of foods like white rice or specially-formulated canine probiotics to help manage their symptoms and soothe their stomach.

Key Takeaways

  • Altering your senior dog's diet can alleviate diarrhea caused by chicken.
  • Lean turkey and cooked fish are viable protein replacements for chicken.
  • A bland diet accompanied by suitable probiotics can help stabilize your dog's digestion.

Understanding Diarrhea in Older Dogs

When your older dog experiences diarrhea from eating chicken, it's essential to identify the underlying cause and adjust their diet accordingly to manage the condition effectively.

Common Causes of Diarrhea

Diarrhea in older dogs can be triggered by a variety of factors, and it's crucial to identify whether chicken is the sole culprit or if other issues are at play. Common causes include:

  • Dietary indiscretions, such as eating spoiled food or non-food items
  • Intolerance or allergy to certain food ingredients like chicken
  • Infections caused by bacteria or viruses
  • Systemic illnesses such as pancreatitis, liver or kidney disease
  • Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, potentially due to inflammatory bowel disease

Symptoms to Monitor

Along with diarrhea, there are other symptoms that may indicate the need for immediate attention:

  • Vomiting, which can further exacerbate dehydration
  • Changes in stool consistency such as bloody diarrhea
  • General signs of discomfort or pain, such as lethargy or a loss of appetite
  • Physical changes like fever or a noticeable decrease in energy levels

When to Consult a Veterinarian

Knowing when to seek professional help is crucial for the well-being of your pet. Consult your veterinarian if:

  • Diarrhea persists beyond 24 hours
  • You observe bloody diarrhea or any signs of dehydration
  • Your dog’s condition includes vomiting, fever, or lethargy
  • There's a significant loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

Prompt veterinary care is essential to determine a diagnosis and create a treatment plan, which may include dietary changes and appropriate medication.

Dietary Alternatives to Chicken

When your older dog shows signs of diarrhea or food intolerance after eating chicken, it's crucial to identify alternative protein sources that are gentle on their digestive system. Ensuring a balance of fiber and fat in their diet is also important, whether you opt for home-cooked meals or commercial diets.

Suitable Protein Sources

Turkey is an excellent alternative protein source to chicken for dogs with sensitivities. It's lean and easily digestible, making it a good option for a bland diet that can soothe gastrointestinal problems. Other proteins to consider include:

  • Cooked lean beef: Avoid fatty cuts to prevent further irritation.
  • Fish: Ensure it's thoroughly cooked and bones are removed to prevent choking.

Note: Always introduce new proteins gradually to avoid exacerbating food allergies or intolerances.

Balancing Fiber and Fat

Fiber is essential in regulating digestion, while fat provides necessary energy—yet both need to be moderated for a sensitive stomach. Some fiber-rich foods to introduce to your dog's diet include:

  • Oatmeal: A good carbohydrate source that's also high in fiber.
  • Sweet Potato: Contains soluble fiber that can help with diarrhea management.

Maintain low-fat content in your dog's diet to ease digestion and minimize stress on their system. Fiber should be increased cautiously to avoid gas and bloating.

Home-Cooked Versus Commercial Diets

You can prepare a home-cooked bland diet for your dog, which may include ingredients like:

  • White processed rice (not grains): A simple carbohydrate that's easy on the stomach.
  • Boiled potatoes: Offer soft texture and digestibility without the skin.

Alternatively, commercial prescription diets formulated for dogs with food allergies or sensitive stomachs can be convenient and are tailored to address gastrointestinal issues.

Note: Consult your veterinarian before switching to a raw diet, as it requires careful balance to meet all nutritional needs and can have risks if not prepared correctly.

Creating a Balanced Bland Diet

When your older dog suffers from diarrhea after consuming chicken, it's essential to switch to a nourishing bland diet. This diet provides a gentle, digestible option that can help soothe your dog's sensitive stomach and mitigate loose stools.

Recommended Ingredients for Bland Meals

A vital component of a bland diet is cooked rice; white rice is preferred due to its low fiber content which is gentler on the stomach. However, brown rice or cooked macaroni can be alternatives if tolerated well, as they offer more fiber which can aid dogs with constipation but may not be suitable for all. Potatoes, including white and sweet potato, are excellent sources of easily digestible carbohydrates. Cottage cheese is a viable protein source, but it should be given in moderation due to its lactose content which some dogs may find hard to digest.

Probiotic-rich foods, like plain yogurt, can also be incorporated to help restore gut health, provided your dog is not lactose intolerant. Here are some simple options:

  • White processed rice: 1 part rice to 2 parts water, cooked until soft.
  • Sweet potato: Peeled, boiled, and mashed without any added seasonings.
  • Cottage cheese: Low-fat and in small amounts.
  • Probiotics: A spoonful of plain yogurt or a veterinarian-recommended supplement.

Feeding Guidelines and Portion Control

For portion control, a general guideline is to offer 1/4 to 1/3 cup of bland meal per 10 pounds of your dog's body weight, spread across several meals throughout the day. It's essential to avoid overfeeding as it can exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms like flatulence and loose stools.

Start by feeding small, frequent meals, and gradually increase the portion size as your dog's digestive system stabilizes. Carefully monitor your dog's response to the new diet; any sign of improvement in stool consistency is a positive indicator.

Remember, transitioning from a bland diet back to regular food should be done progressively, mixing increasing amounts of your dog's regular diet with the bland meals over several days. This slow process helps your dog's digestive system to readjust without causing further upset.

Monitoring and Adjusting to Dietary Changes

When your older dog experiences diarrhea from chicken, understanding how to monitor and adjust their diet is crucial for their health. Here, you'll learn to recognize whether the dietary changes are working and how to manage their diet long-term.

Recognizing Improvement or Side Effects

After removing chicken from your dog's diet and introducing an alternative protein source, observe your dog closely for signs of improvement such as solidifying stools or a reduction in gastrointestinal upset. You should also look for potential side effects that may include new or ongoing symptoms, such as itching, which could indicate a food allergy or intolerance. Establish a log to track these observations, noting any gastrointestinal problems or changes in behavior.

Consult with your veterinarian if your dog shows no improvement or if side effects emerge, as they may suggest adding probiotics to support the gut flora or conducting allergy testing. A veterinary nutritionist can provide guidance on vitamins and minerals that should be present in your dog's new diet.

Long-Term Dietary Management

Ensuring your dog’s long-term health involves consistent monitoring and sometimes making further adjustments to their diet. A diet that's balanced and gentle on their system is ideal, possibly incorporating easily digestible proteins and fibers. You may need to introduce new foods gradually to prevent upsetting your dog’s stomach.

Collaborate with your veterinarian to find a diet that minimizes the risk of gastrointestinal problems. A veterinary nutritionist can help design a customized plan that takes into account food sensitivities and ensures your dog receives essential nutrients. Together, you will create a strategy that includes regular check-ins to reassess your dog's dietary needs, adding or removing supplements, and perhaps introducing specially-formulated foods if your dog has an allergy or food intolerance.

Frequently Asked Questions

When your older dog has diarrhea from chicken, knowing what to feed them can help them recover more comfortably and safely. The following information addresses common concerns and provides straightforward guidance.

What is a suitable alternative diet for a dog with diarrhea if chicken is not tolerated?

If chicken causes diarrhea in your dog, consider easily digestible and low-fat protein sources. Examples include boiled ground turkey or lean beef, and cottage cheese. These alternatives can be less irritating to their digestive system.

Which type of rice is recommended for a dog experiencing diarrhea, and how should it be prepared?

Plain white rice is generally recommended for a dog with diarrhea because it's easy to digest and helps bind stool. Cook the rice in water without adding any spices or seasoning, and ensure it's thoroughly cooked to a soft consistency for easy digestion.

How much rice and a chicken-free protein should be provided to a dog with diarrhea?

A good starting ratio is three parts rice to one part protein for the bland diet. Begin with small, frequent meals; for example, if your dog typically eats two cups of food daily, start with a half cup of the rice-protein mix four times a day.

What are the most effective OTC remedies to alleviate diarrhea symptoms in dogs?

Over-the-counter remedies like probiotics designed specifically for dogs can help restore healthy gut flora. Additionally, dog-specific anti-diarrheal medications containing ingredients like kaolin and pectin may provide relief. Always consult your veterinarian before administering OTC remedies.

For a senior dog with diarrhea, what specific dietary changes can aid in recovery?

For senior dogs, a bland diet that’s low in fat and high in fiber, such as pumpkin or oatmeal, may be beneficial. Adjusting feeding schedules to smaller, more frequent meals can also help manage diarrhea.

After a bout of diarrhea, what is the recommended waiting period before feeding a dog again?

After diarrhea, it's wise to wait 12 to 24 hours before reintroducing food. This fasting period can help your dog's gastrointestinal tract rest and recover. When you resume feeding, start with a small serving of the bland diet and gradually increase the portion over the next few days.


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Dr. Jeff Kordell, DVM is a practicing veterinarian in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois Veterinary School. Dr. Kordell owns Animal Medical Center at Fort Sheridan and has had his own private practice for over 30 years. He is the co-founder of K&S Veterinary Labs LLC the maker of DiarRice.