Rice is one of the most popular foods in the world and has been eaten for thousands of years. In fact, around half of the world’s population relies on rice as a staple food. But can dogs also eat rice?
Dogs are allowed to eat rice, and it is a good source of carbohydrates for dogs. Rice contains various nutrients that promote the healthy operation of the body’s systems, including vitamin B, vitamin D, vitamin E, fiber, iron, and calcium. However, dogs should only eat cooked rice, not raw rice. Rice can also help with digestive problems and diarrhea.
Because rice is so good for dogs, it is even an essential ingredient in many dog foods.
Not only is rice a good source of nutrients, but it can be particularly beneficial for your dog with stomach problems.
In this article, we’ll discuss when and how rice can be included in your dog’s diet and in which cases rice poses a risk to dogs.
Is Rice Suitable for Dogs?
In most cases, both white and brown rice are safe for dogs. Rice is also one of the most common ingredients in many dog foods.
In fact, rice is often used in dog foods meant to solve the odor problems of dogs with bloat. It binds some of the other ingredients found in many dry dog food formulas.
Rice in Dog Food
If rice is one of the main ingredients in commercial dog food, it means that your dog can safely eat it every day. Commercially available dog food is carefully formulated and balanced.
However, it would be best not to give your dog home-cooked rice daily. The only exception is if you have received special instructions from your vet. Rice is best consumed in moderation.
There is little scientific research that explores rice as a food for dogs. However, it is known that rice is a safe food for dogs and that they can digest it easily.
Research also shows that dogs with gastrointestinal problems can benefit from eating bland, easily digestible food to relieve symptoms.
Rice is also known to contain many vital nutrients that support your dog in staying healthy.
What is the Nutritional Value of Rice for Dogs?
Rice is packed with nutrients and has mainly carbohydrates that provide your pet with slow-release energy throughout the day.
Rice is also packed with vitamins and minerals that support the healthy functioning of body systems, including B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium.
White rice is good for dogs to digest and contains very little fiber. Brown rice is a little more challenging to digest as it still has its outer husk.
However, this makes it more nutritious, as all the nutrients are retained in the outer husk. Brown rice not only contains more fiber and protein but also a lower proportion of starch.
Can Cooked Rice Help Dogs With Digestive Problems?
For diarrhea or vomiting, it used to be recommended to give a dog boiled white rice for a few days. You can also include some cooked chicken or white fish. This is commonly referred to as a light diet.
Light food is easy to digest and helps to bind the stool. However, a home-cooked rice and chicken dish contains too few dog vitamins. It is now considered better to use a special medical food with chicken and rice.
Dogs with inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) need a low-fat, easily digestible diet, which is why rice can be a good source of nutrition for them.
If your pet has pancreatitis, you should discuss a long-term diet plan with your vet.
As dogs age, their digestive systems will change, as will their nutritional needs. Less active dogs should eat fewer calories to avoid weight gain.
Care should be taken with portion sizes, as white rice can be very high in calories. Therefore, brown rice may be better suited for older dogs as it contains more protein and fiber.
Can Cooked Rice Help Dogs With Diarrhea?
White rice is easy to digest and low in fiber. This makes it the perfect choice for diarrhea. In this case, you should avoid brown rice as it is harder to digest.
White rice helps to bind the stool by absorbing the water in the intestines. This allows the intestines to recover as peristalsis is reduced.
It is usually recommended to feed dogs with diarrhea little but often. So you can give your dog a small portion of boiled white rice with a bit of boiled chicken or egg every few hours.
As already mentioned, the medicated dog food provided by the vet is more suitable in such cases than home-cooked meals.
If your dog has diarrhea, you should take him to the vet. Although most cases of diarrhea go away independently, many dogs require further treatment.
If your dog won’t eat, is lethargic, or has excessive or bloody diarrhea, you should see a vet as soon as possible.
Bland Diet for Dogs
Feeding a bland diet to dogs with stomach upsets has long been recommended by vets. However, there is limited scientific research into the benefits of this diet.
It is generally accepted that bland diets such as rice and cooked chicken help to alleviate symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
You can also use cottage cheese and regular boiled or baked potatoes in moderation as part of a bland diet.
Your dog must continue to eat during diarrhea to maintain the intestinal barrier. It is also essential to regulate calorie intake.
It is known that well-digestible and low-fat food can alleviate the symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea, as gastric emptying is reduced and there is less stool.
However, it is also important to remember that white rice and cooked chicken together do not constitute a balanced diet for dogs. In fact, it lacks at least 17 essential vitamins and minerals.
This can make it difficult for your dog to recover from his illness. Although rice is a good temporary solution, you should replace it as soon as possible with a well-digestible, complete, and balanced canned food.
When is Rice Harmful to Dogs?
Like all foods, rice can be harmful to dogs under certain circumstances.
Let’s look at the circumstances under which dogs should not eat rice and when to consult your vet.
Rice in Large Quantities
The amount of rice you can give your dog depends on weight, age, and breed.
Too much rice will lead to weight gain over time, as rice is very high in calories. You should, therefore, make sure that your dog does not put on too many pounds.
You can use the 10 % rule for this. This means that only up to 10% of your pet’s daily food ration should contain rice unless your vet advises otherwise.
Certain rice dishes
Like any adequately fed food, rice is a good ingredient in your dog’s diet. However, some rice dishes are unsafe for dogs and can cause problems.
Uncooked rice is unsuitable for dogs as it will absorb fluid in their digestive tract and might cause indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea.
If your dog has consumed uncooked rice and feels unwell, ask your vet for advice.
Dogs should only be given regular, cooked rice. When preparing it, don’t add salt, oils, or spices, as these ingredients can cause stomach upsets.
It is also essential to make sure that the rice does not contain any ingredients that are not suitable for dogs. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, are toxic to dogs.
So ensure the rice contains no other ingredients that could harm your dog.
Is Rice Dangerous for Certain Dogs?
Some dogs have grain allergies, which can include rice. Although grain-free diets are now widely available, dogs with grain allergies should only eat grain-free food if recommended by a vet.
Even then, it is likely that they will only be allergic to one or two, not all. Dogs are more likely to be allergic to corn than rice.
If your dog has diabetes, rice can be a problem. It has a high glycemic index, so it can raise blood sugar levels if eaten too often or in large quantities.
If you want to give your diabetic dog rice, it is best to talk to your vet first.
Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Rice?
You can usually feed your dog rice without hesitation. Not only is it a good source of fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, but it can also help dogs recover from vomiting and diarrhea.
Rice can also become part of the daily diet if fed in moderation. However, it would always be best to speak to your vet before changing your dog’s diet or introducing new foods.