The recommendation is to feed a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice for 24-48 hours when a dog has diarrhea. After 1-2 days on this diet, transition back to the regular dog food slowly over 3-5 days. Feeding chicken and rice for more than a couple days is not recommended unless specifically advised by your veterinarian, as it does not provide complete and balanced nutrition for long-term feeding.
What is the Chicken and Rice Diet for Dogs?
Chicken and rice is a bland diet often recommended for dogs with upset stomach or diarrhea. It is easy for dogs to digest and gives their gastrointestinal system a chance to rest and recover.
The chicken should be low-fat and well-cooked with no bones or skin. White rice is better than brown rice because it is lower in fiber. Too much fiber can further upset the gut during diarrhea episodes.
Benefits of Chicken and Rice for Diarrhea
There are several benefits to feeding a dog chicken and rice for diarrhea:
- Bland food is easy to digest
- Gives the GI tract a rest from rich foods that may be causing diarrhea
- Rice helps bind loose stools
- Provides carbohydrates for energy
- Chicken supplies protein for recovery
The goal is to give the intestinal tract a break while still providing balanced nutrition until the diarrhea resolves.
How Long Should You Feed Chicken and Rice?
It is generally recommended to feed the chicken and rice diet for 24-48 hours when a dog has diarrhea.
Here are some guidelines on duration:
- 24 hours – For mild, acute diarrhea
- 48 hours – For more severe or prolonged diarrhea
- 24-48 hours after diarrhea resolves – To allow the GI tract to recover
The 48 hour guideline is a commonly recommended timeframe by veterinarians. This gives enough time for the intestines to rest and recover, while not depriving your dog of balanced nutrition for too long.
Of course, the advice of your own veterinarian should take precedence over general guidelines if they recommend a specific duration.
When to Stop Chicken and Rice
After the 24-48 hour bland diet period, you can gradually transition your dog back to their regular food. Do this over 3-5 days by mixing in more of the regular food and less chicken and rice at each meal.
Going back to normal food too quickly can cause diarrhea to return. Give your dog’s system plenty of time to readjust to their regular diet.
Stop the chicken and rice diet if diarrhea persists more than 1-2 days or your dog shows signs of illness. Be sure to consult your vet.
Is Chicken and Rice a Complete Food?
Chicken and rice is not a complete and balanced diet for long-term feeding. According to veterinary nutritionists, it should not be fed as a sole diet for more than 2-3 days.
Here are some of the nutritional deficiencies of only feeding chicken and rice:
- Not enough protein – Dogs need 18-27% protein in their diet. Chicken alone is not enough.
- No vitamins or minerals – Rice only provides carbohydrates.
- No healthy fats – From fish, vegetable oils, etc. Fatty acids support the immune system and skin health.
- Lack of fiber – Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provide important fiber.
While chicken and rice is an excellent short-term solution for diarrhea, it fails to meet all nutritional requirements for maintenance, growth, and health over the long-term.
Feeding only chicken and rice beyond 5-7 days risks the following health issues:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Weight loss or muscle wasting from inadequate protein
- Weakened immune system
- Impaired growth in puppies
- Skin problems
- Hair coat dullness
To keep your dog healthy, they need a balanced diet that provides complete nutrition. Chicken and rice alone is not maintained beyond a few days unless directed by a vet.
When Should You Contact Your Vet?
Contact your veterinarian if:
- Diarrhea lasts more than 24 hours
- Your dog shows signs of illness such as vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, or dehydration
- You see blood in the stool
- Your dog is a puppy, pregnant, or has other health conditions
- Your dog does not improve after the chicken and rice diet
Puppies and pregnant dogs have increased nutritional needs. Senior dogs and those with medical conditions may not tolerate diarrhea as well. Watch them closely and contact your vet promptly if the diarrhea persists or you have any concerns.
Transitioning Back to Regular Dog Food
Once your dog’s diarrhea has resolved after the chicken and rice diet, you’ll want to transition back to their regular dog food. Here are some tips for a smooth transition:
Do it Slowly
Transition over 3-5 days. Abrupt changes to higher fat, protein or fiber foods could cause another GI upset. Go slow to allow the digestive tract time to readjust.
Mix the Foods
Gradually shift the ratio from more chicken and rice to more regular food at each meal. For example:
|Day 1||75% chicken and rice, 25% regular food|
|Day 2||50% chicken and rice, 50% regular food|
|Day 3||25% chicken and rice, 75% regular food|
|Day 4||100% regular food|
This slow change gives the gut time to readjust.
Monitor for Problems
Watch for any recurrence of soft stools as you transition. If so, go back to the previous ratio for another day or two before trying to increase regular food again.
In most cases, diarrhea will not return once the dog is back on their regular healthy diet. But some dogs may need prescription gastrointestinal or hydrolyzed protein diets. Discuss options with your vet if diarrhea is chronic.
Homemade Chicken and Rice Recipe
If you want to prepare homemade chicken and rice, here is an easy recipe:
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 4 cups water
- Boil chicken breasts until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Remove chicken from water, shred into bite-sized pieces.
- Add rice and 4 cups fresh water to pot. Bring to boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice is tender.
- Add shredded chicken and mix well.
- Refrigerate remaining portions for up to 4 days.
This simple bland recipe is easy to prepare. Make a batch to have ready to serve when diarrhea strikes.
Tips for Transitioning Back to Regular Food
Follow these tips for a smooth transition when diarrhea has resolved:
- Take it slow – Mix food over 3-5 days
- Start with more bland food – And decrease proportions each day
- Monitor stools – Watch for constipation or diarrhea
- Allow time to adjust – Stick with ratios for a couple days if needed before adjusting further
- Try probiotics – Ask your vet about probiotic supplements
- Call your vet – If diarrhea persists or your dog seems ill
With some patience, your dog should transition well back to their normal healthy diet and maintain good digestive health.
Should I feed my dog only chicken and rice?
No, chicken and rice should not be fed as a sole diet for more than 2-3 days. It does not provide complete and balanced nutrition for the long-term.
How much chicken and rice should I feed my dog?
Feed the same amount of chicken and rice as you would their regular food. Start with smaller meals of 1/3 their usual portion 2-3 times per day. Increase meal size as diarrhea improves.
Can I add anything else to chicken and rice?
Plain pumpkin or sweet potato can provide added fiber and nutrients. Check with your vet before adding any other foods.
Is chicken and rice good for dogs everyday?
No, chicken and rice should not be fed daily as a permanent diet. It lacks important nutrients dogs need for balance. Use it only temporarily for stomach and diarrhea issues.
What if my dog won’t eat chicken and rice?
Try microwaving it to increase aroma and flavor. If they still refuse, try mixing small amounts with their regular food. Contact your vet if poor appetite persists.
Chicken and rice can be a great short-term diet option for dogs with diarrhea. Feed for 24-48 hours then gradually transition back to regular food. Never feed only chicken and rice as a permanent diet. While this bland food is binding and easy to digest, it is not nutritionally complete. Prolonged feeding risks nutrient deficiencies and health problems. Use chicken and rice as a temporary tool to give your dog’s tummy a rest and return them to balanced nutrition as soon as possible. Check with your veterinarian if diarrhea persists or your dog seems ill. With the right monitoring and transition, the chicken and rice diet can get your canine companion back on their paws!