Rice is one of the world’s most consumed cereals. Almost every culture has a popular rice dish, and you’ll find it paired with all kinds of flavorings, from cilantro and lime to saffron or coconut milk. But delicious rice meals aren’t only for humans.
Read on as Spot Pet Insurance shares all you need to know before giving your dogs rice.
Can your dog eat rice?
Yes, dogs can eat rice. Check the label of many commercial dog foods, and you may be surprised to learn that they contain rice. Giving rice to your dog offers them lots of benefits, which is probably why many dog owners add rice to their dog’s diet, especially when they’re feeling ill.
Although your dog may like rice, be wary of giving your pup excessive amounts of rice because they might react adversely to it. Some dogs don’t tolerate rice very well, while others may have allergies or simply prefer something else.
How you prepare rice for your dog also influences its safety. Adding spices and salt to rice could potentially make rice more harmful than healthy for your furry friend.
If you’re thinking of introducing rice to your dog’s meal plan, speak to your vet. They know how best to structure your dog’s diet so they get the best nutrition.
White rice vs. brown rice for dogs
Dogs can eat both white and brown rice, and both types have their own benefits and risks.
Many dog parents give their pets white rice since it’s easy to digest and absorb. In fact, plain white rice and chicken is a popular meal combo for ill dogs because it’s so gentle on your dog’s gut.
On the other hand, brown rice has undergone less rigorous processing than white rice, meaning it still has a nutrient-dense outer coat. That means that it contains more nutrients than white rice.
White rice contains more carbohydrates, while brown rice has more protein. The outer coat makes brown rice more fibrous than white rice, which can help promote healthy bowel movements. Brown rice also has a lower glycemic index (GI) than white rice.
Is rice good for dogs?
Dogs can enjoy lots of nutritional benefits from eating rice, including:
The carbs in rice can help provide your pup with energy. Your dog can break the carbs in the rice into smaller sugar units. These simple sugars can enter your dog’s cells, where they’re burnt to yield energy.
Brown rice contains lots of fiber, which promotes satiety for dogs, especially if you’re managing their calorie intake. Fiber also helps improve the ease of digestion for your pup.
If your dog is on a low sodium diet, rice can fit in perfectly thanks to its low sodium content.
In terms of vitamin content, brown rice offers more nutrients than white rice. In particular, brown rice is rich in B vitamins, including folate, niacin, thiamine, and pantothenic acid.
This group of vitamins is vital for cell metabolism. They also keep your dog’s skin and hair lush and healthy.
Rice provides lots of minerals for your pup to help give them energy, strengthen bones and teeth, and support reproduction. These minerals include zinc, selenium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
What are the risks of giving your dog rice?
Many dogs love rice. Nevertheless, you should note these possible risks of giving your dogs rice.
Most dogs have no problem digesting and metabolizing rice. However, when dogs eat too much white rice, they might experience constipation since white rice has less fiber than brown rice.
High blood glucose
If your dog’s diet contains lots of white rice, you may want to step on the brakes. White rice is higher on the GI scale, so eating lots of it every day can have consequences.
Some dogs already have trouble balancing their blood sugar levels. A great way to avoid further trouble is to prepare brown rice for your dog instead and reduce how often rice features in your dog’s diet.
Humans who eat lots of rice may accumulate toxic amounts of arsenic in their bodies. However, since humans usually eat a varied diet and can speak up when they have unpleasant symptoms, this isn’t often a serious problem.
On the other hand, dogs usually eat the same foods every day for years. If your dog eats a rice-based diet every day, dangerous amounts of arsenic could build up. Researchers noted that dogs that eat lots of rice had significantly more arsenic in their fur.
Allergies and Sensitivities
Your dogs are simply allergic to rice and don’t need it in their diet. Some dogs, such as the Rottweiler, may have more sensitive tummies. That means their diet needs special attention. Signs that your dog may be sensitive to rice include:
- Hair loss
- Flaky skin
- Ear infections
- GI trouble
How do you prepare rice for your dog?
Many dog owners give their dogs rice without knowing it since it’s a top ingredient in many commercial dog foods. However, if you’re preparing rice for your dog yourself, here are some tips you should note:
Choose organic rice for your dogs. They’re generally free from toxins such as pesticides that can affect your dog’s health. Organic rice is also less likely to disrupt your dog’s gut.
Before cooking your rice, wash it thoroughly. This removes dirt and excess starch, making it better for your pup.
Keep it simple
Shut your spice cabinet, because you won’t be needing anything from there. Dogs don’t need heavily spiced foods, and they’ll likely enjoy even plain rice.
Some common spices that humans put in their food, like garlic, can negatively affect your dog’s health. That means meals such as fried rice are off the menu for your dog. Bland rice with no added spices is the best way to prepare it for your furry friend.
Brown rice contains protein, but it’s missing some essential amino acids that dogs need to stay healthy. If you’re feeding your dog rice, you can try adding a side of protein to their plate. Chicken and white rice is a common meal for dogs, but you can add any other type of meat as well.
How much rice should your dog eat?
Just because your dog loves rice doesn’t mean they should have lots of it every day. It’s still a carbohydrate-rich food, and your dog doesn’t need that much.
Your dog might experience digestive tract problems such as constipation if they eat too much rice. Simply cut back on how much rice your dog is eating if it’s causing trouble.
Generally, dogs don’t need more than 50% carbohydrates in their diet. Eating more than that amount can stress your dog’s gut and increase their chances of common health risks.
Rice is a commonly eaten food for humans and dogs. As long as you prepare the rice properly, it’s safe for your dog in moderation. However, don’t simply give your dog rice off your plate, especially if you added lots of spices. Instead, consider giving your dog plain rice accompanied by animal protein for better nutrition.
Your dog may enjoy several benefits from eating rice since it includes fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also low in sodium and relatively high in protein.
If you’re confused about adding rice to your dog’s diet, Spot Pet Insurance can help you with valuable information, so you can create a healthy meal plan for your pet.