My Tummy Hurts! Caring for Your Ailing Pet

It's bound to happen sooner or later, even with the healthiest pets. Something causes an upset tummy that leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Usually, this happens on a weekend when your favorite veterinarian is not available. So here are some tips to help you cope. Of course, if the vomiting occurs more than a couple of times, there is blood in the vomit or diarrhea, or the pet is listless, you should contact an emergency service immediately.

Withhold food for 12 hours. Allow your pet to have water in small amounts every hour. Then start feeding small amounts of bone broth every few hours. Bone broth can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 3 months. If you don't have bone broth prepared (it will take 24 hours to make a batch), you can start with congee. Congee can be made in about 8 hours.

Preparing Congee

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast (if your pet has a chicken allergy, you can use lean pork), shredded or minced (this is easier to do if you pre-cook the chicken breast)

1 cup long cook white or brown rice

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root

8 cups water

Place all ingredients in a large pot on the stove top. Simmer on low heat for eight hours, stirring and adding water as needed. When finished, the congee should be a gruel. Congee can also be stored in the freezer.

Bone broth or congee can be used for 24 to 48 hours. Once your pet is feeling better, start introducing solid food. One of my favorite bland diets is boiled ground turkey and organic pumpkin, in a 3:1 mixture. Feed small amounts frequently, gradually introducing the normal diet once the tummy is settled.

There are products I like to keep on hand for the occasional bout of diarrhea. One of our dogs has this problem every time we travel because she gets so excited. Since we know this will happen, we start giving her clay in her diet the day before we leave, and continue using it until our return home. We also keep our pets on a daily probiotic, doubling the dose during times of stress or illness.

Hopefully, your pet will not suffer digestive ailments often, but it's great to be prepared.