There are instances when pets may experience digestive upset and need a bland diet while their stomach settles. Many raw feeders are left wondering what to feed in these moments when a bland diet is needed because their pet’s normal raw diet is too rich.
There are many reasons why a dog or cat could experience digestive issues such as gas, bloating, vomiting, and loose stools. It is important to get veterinary assistance when your pet exhibits a sudden change in behavior even though the diet has not changed. Veterinarians often recommend temporarily switching the pet to a bland diet while overcoming gastrointestinal sickness.
The feeding guidelines below are used when transitioning adult dogs onto a raw diet, and are also useful when digestive upset occurs. There are six components to constructing a bland diet.
Foods to Avoid
The first step to creating a bland raw diet is to eliminate foods that are fatty and nutritionally rich because these ingredients often make gastrointestinal symptoms worse. These ingredients include:
Lean Protein & Raw Meaty Bones
It is easy to identify lean raw protein because the amount of fat can be visually identified. In terms of feeding a bland raw diet, it is recommended to select a lean white meat protein over red meat protein – options include:
However, some pets cannot eat any poultry which would require selecting a lean red meat option. Lean red meat options include:
Lean Raw Meaty Bones
Many raw meaty bones are naturally lean, especially when there is no additional skin attached. There are many options to choose from but be sure to remove the skin from all poultry raw meaty bones if they are selected. Lean raw meaty bone options include:
An energy source is needed when feeding a bland raw diet since the fat content has been significantly reduced. In these situations it is recommended to feed ingredients that provide higher amounts of carbohydrates, including starches. This is to ensure the diet has a sufficient energy source in the absence of raw fat. Carbohydrate options include:
In times of digestive upset, it is also recommended to provide ingredients that help to soothe the gastrointestinal tract. These ingredients help with calming the symptoms associated with digestive upset:
A bland raw diet is not balanced and is not to be fed as a long term solution for digestive upset. It is important to determine the root cause of the issue and address it appropriately. If the pet routinely has digestive issues that are resolved by feeding a bland diet, the pet likely has an issue with high fat meals and needs a balanced diet with more carbohydrates instead of raw fat. In these instances it is recommended to slowly introduce organ content following step 3 of the raw feeding transition, incorporate whole foods for essential nutrients, and to use starchy vegetables as an energy source.
Lean proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, and gut supporting supplements are the recommended components to include in a bland raw diet. A bland raw diet is not intended to be fed indefinitely because it typically is lacking in many essential nutrients since organs, fatty fish, and other ingredients are not included.
However, if specific ingredients are included, a lean diet can be balanced with all essential nutrients while using lean proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber. This type of diet is good for dogs who do not tolerate high fat meals.