Can dogs eat rice?
Rice is a popular food among people around the world, and your dog likely also eats rice—check the ingredient list on your pooch’s food bag and you will probably find rice. A common ingredient in most dry dog foods, rice is an excellent fiber source and a highly digestible carbohydrate. But, is rice safe for your dog when cooked separately? Let’s find out the rice safe for dogs, and its health benefits, plus a few easy recipes to add rice to your pup’s diet.
What rice types are safe for dogs?
While rice can be an excellent addition to your dog’s diet on occasion, not all varieties are equally nutritious and beneficial. Here are a few of the most common rice types safe for your pet:
- White rice — White rice, which has a lower nutrient content, less fiber, and fewer vitamins than brown rice, provides the fewest health benefits. Eating white rice is the equivalent of consuming empty carbs for your pet, but is much more ideal for calming an upset stomach than any other form of rice.
- Brown rice — One of the best options to feed your dog if they are not experiencing any gastrointestinal (GI) issues, brown rice is high in fiber and vitamins, and can help overweight pets feel full and shed those extra pounds.
- Wild rice — Best fed to dogs in its whole form, with no added spices or seasonings, wild rice is rich in fiber and antioxidants. Your dog may also find this form of rice to be delicious with its nutty taste.
With so many rice types available, one is sure to tempt your pup’s taste buds, and reap the health benefits of this wholesome grain.
What health benefits does rice provide for dogs?
Since rice is such a common foodstuff throughout the world,
- Reduces cholesterol level
- Is low in fat
- Is low in sodium
- Is rich in antioxidants to protect against disease
- Promotes healthy bones with high calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D levels
- Soothes GI distress
- Feeds good bacteria in the gut
- Regulates bowel function
- Provides fiber, which improves digestion
- Provides carbohydrates, which boosts energy and improves cognitive function
- Is rich in vitamins and minerals
Adding rice not only promotes health and well-being, but also can help your dog recover from GI distress. If your dog is vomiting and suffering from diarrhea, a common issue in puppies who put everything in their mouths, a bland, white-rice diet may be ideal for soothing their irritated GI tract. White rice is low in fiber, which helps bind the stool in diarrhea cases, and easy to digest, making it gentle on upset stomachs. Small amounts of boiled white rice and boiled chicken breast can help your dog recover from a GI upset, but always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet.
How can I add rice to my dog’s diet?
Although white rice is an excellent diet for pups with an upset stomach, you shouldn’t feed it all the time. Add small portions of rice to your pooch’s food two to three times per week to give them the nutrients found in brown or wild rice. Prepare rice for your dog the same way that you cook rice for yourself, but do not add any seasonings, spices, or other ingredients.
What should I avoid when feeding rice to my dog?
Take certain precautions to ensure your pooch reaps the benefits of rice, while avoiding health issues.
- Offer your dog small amounts of rice two to three times per week at the most
- Do not add spices, seasonings, or butter to the rice you prepare for your pet
- Skip the salt
- Keep rice simple and plain with no additional ingredients, such as onions or garlic, which are toxic to dogs
Rice is relatively safe or dogs when fed on its own, but be aware that any additional ingredients can cause health issues.
What can I feed my dog instead of rice?
While dogs thrive on diets rich in protein and fat sources, you may occasionally want to add a healthy carbohydrate source. If your pooch is not a fan of rice, try these carb options:
When offering your dog new foods, always contact your veterinarian before adding something different. Certain foods can exacerbate some health conditions, which would negate the health benefits of rice.