Can Dogs Eat Rice?
Rice is one of the most popular human foods and is eaten in all parts of the world. But, can you feed it to your four-legged friend and how much should you give them? You probably already know that there are a lot of human foods, such as onions, that are very bad for dogs and should never be fed to them. Therefore, it is always important that you double check before you feed any human food to your pooch. Here’s everything you need to know about feeding rice to your dog.
What is Rice?
Rice is a type of grain and is the seed from a grass species. Asian rice is obtained from a species of grass called Oryza Sativa and African rice is from a grass species called Oryza Glaberrima. It is a carbohydrate so it provides energy for metabolism. In a typical 100g serving of rice, there would be 80g of carbohydrates.
There are tens of thousands of varieties of rice but you are most likely to come across white rice (which can be short grain, medium grain or long grain) and brown rice (which has the germ and bran layer still in place on the outside of the kernel). Brown rice is considered to be healthier than white rice and has a firmer texture and nutty flavor.
Is Rice Poisonous for Dogs?
The good news is that rice is not a poisonous food for dogs so if they pinch some from the kitchen it is not a problem!
Does Rice Provide Any Nutrients for Dogs?
Rice is predominantly a carbohydrate and will act as an energy source for your dog. However, it also contains a small amount of protein and fat. Rice also contains significant amounts of trace elements that are essential for your dog’s health. These include vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), riboflavin, folate, copper, iron, calcium, manganese, and selenium.
Rice is a healthy source of carbohydrates for dogs and helps to maintain good gut health. It contains fiber which encourages healthy bowel movements and prevents constipation. It also delivers carbohydrates in the form of starch. This does not get digested until it reaches the bowel and this helps to promote the growth of friendly gut bacteria and keeps the gut moving. Rice contains no harmful fats or cholesterol and is therefore helpful in controlling obesity.
This is why you will often see rice in dog food that you buy from the store. Rice is often listed as one of the ingredients in premium dog foods. It is valued by dog food manufacturers as a high-quality source of carbohydrate and is safe for dogs who have allergies to corn, wheat or soy.
Feeding Your Dog White Rice
So, can dogs eat white rice when it is not in commercial dog food? The answer to this is yes and there are some occasions when it may be particularly beneficial.
Many experienced dog owners like to feed white rice to their dogs when they are ill and they also feed it to young dogs who are recently weaned. White rice is very beneficial for dogs who have digestive issues because it is not too high in fiber and is easy to digest. It is a great source of carbohydrate for dogs who need a bland diet because they have an intestinal disturbance. It works well to bind the poop and slow down diarrhea.
Feeding Your Dog Brown Rice
Many owners ask ‘is rice good for dogs when it still has the germ and bran layer on each grain’. Brown rice has a different nutritional profile. It has more insoluble fiber and it is thought that this may infer some protection from cancers. Some experts think that brown rice is good for dogs that have high blood pressure because it does not contain much sodium. It is thought that husk plays a role in lowering blood pressure because it has diuretic properties.
Should Some Dogs not Eat Rice?
You should never feed brown rice to a dog that has a gastrointestinal upset as the high fiber content could make matters worse and is harder to digest.
Should dogs eat rice if they have diabetes? White rice has a moderate glycemic index and will make your dog’s blood sugar levels rise. Vets are often asked ‘Can I feed my dog rice every day if they are diabetic’ to which the answer is usually – no, you can’t. You may be able to give them a little rice every now and again but always ask your vet first.
You have to be careful about feeding rice to a dog that is obese. Whilst dogs need some carbohydrates in their diet, they need more protein. If they eat too much carbohydrate, it will lead to weight gain and this can cause obesity. Obesity causes a lot of health problems in dogs and is on the rise so it is something that you need to look out for.
Because so much commercial dog food contains a lot of carbohydrates, you need to be careful about feeding extra rice to your dog as they are likely to gain weight.
How to Prepare Rice for Your Dog
Dogs can only eat plain rice. You should never give them rice with any type of sauce that is designed for human consumption. It may contain ingredients, such as onions or garlic, which are poisonous for dogs. Do not give your dog fried rice or any type of prepared savory rice that has been produced for humans.
Use a good quality plain rice and cook it by boiling it in water with no added salt. Cook it until it is soft enough to bite into and then drain off the water. Make sure that you let it cool before giving it to your pooch.