Bland Diet Instructions

Why is your veterinarian recommending a bland diet?

Bland diets are used commonly in cases of diarrhea and sometimes vomiting as well.  They are easily digestible and are fed to rest the gastric system and help promote normal stool formation. Most often bland diets are fed in frequent, small meals and once signs are resolved the food is slowly transitioned back to a regular diet.  Gradually weaning your pet back to his/her regular diet allows you to assess stool consistency and allows the digestive tract to gently be re-introduced to regular ingredients as it heals.

What is a Bland Diet?

The bland diets we recommend usually consist of cooked white rice (approximately 75%), mixed with a small amount of boiled chicken or hamburger (approximately 25%).  Some owners find it simpler to mix some stage 2 baby food (chicken or turkey) into the rice, and other owners use a small amount of low-fat cottage cheese mixed with rice.  The main ingredient in the bland food is generally cooked white rice.  This is a highly digestible food so don't be alarmed if your dog produces very little stool in the first few days. We also have canned and dry versions of this diet available if owners prefer this.

How much should I feed?

In general, the amount of food during this time is not critical because the diet is very temporary while your pet is ill.  Frequent small meals are generally the best way to go, with gradually increasing amounts as the signs improve! Here are some general guidelines:

  • 20-30 pounds: 1/4-1/2 cup every 4-6 hours
  • 40-60 pounds: 1/2-3/4 cup every 4-6 hours
  • Over 60 pounds: 1 cup every 4-6 hours

When to Transition

Your doctor may decide to instruct you when it is time to wean your pet back to its regular diet, as some cases will vary.  In general, look for these signals that it is safe to begin the slow wean back to a regular diet

  • Formed / normal stool (usually we recommend waiting to see that 2 bowel movements in a row are formed)
  • No straining to defecate
  • No blood in the stool
  • No vomiting for 24-48 hours

Transition Schedule

Once you have fed 100% bland diet for a couple days or more and the signs as listed above are resolved,  you are ready to start the weaning process, unless your veterinarian directs you otherwise.  A typical weaning schedule generally spans a week to ten days.  Your doctor will let you know if they recommend adjustments to this schedule. 

  • Day 1 and 2:  Feed 75% of the bland diet to 25% of the new/regular diet
  • Day 3 and 4:  Feed 50% of the bland diet to 50% of the new/regular diet
  • Day 5 and 6:  Feed 25% of the bland diet to 75% of the new/regular diet
  • Day 7:  Feed 100% of the new/regular diet

**If stools become soft at all, any vomiting occurs,  or if any of the previous symptoms recur at any point, return to the previous day's feeding schedule and call us immediately at 508-653-1096.  It is important to note that some cases need much longer and slower courses of bland diet and weaning.