Health & Wellness
Across many cultures, rice is one of the most staple ingredients, eaten by itself or as a key player in endless recipes. It’s so relevant that it’s a well-known ingredient for dogs, too — as rice is something pups are not only able to eat, but many times should.
We spoke with Dr. Fotios Bris, DVM, MS, a veterinarian at Small Door Veterinary in Brooklyn, New York, to uncover the full reason as to why rice is such a commonly used dog-food ingredient. And, the expert shared that, in its natural, unseasoned state, rice is a rather bland-tasting carbohydrate that is generally very easily digested by most dogs.
(Even though rice is generally safe for dogs, always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to their diet.)
As one of the better, healthier carbohydrates, rice brings a good amount of nutrition to the table. Unlike bread, which is relatively harmless yet non-nutritious, rice is a complex carb that is very low in fat, even containing some protein, and several vitamins and minerals, including fiber. For many veterinarians, rice is often recommended after your pup has experienced gastrointestinal upset, to help settle their stomach. Some other perks of rice include:
When it comes to the different types of rice, there’s really no such thing as a bad rice. Plain white rice may be more easily digested, which is better for dogs with an upset stomach. Meanwhile, brown, whole-grain rice contains more nutrients (like vitamin B1, niacin, phosphorus and magnesium), so if you’re regularly preparing home-cooked meals for your dog with rice, this may be a better option in the long-run.
Naturally, as a carb, it’s important not to go overboard when serving rice. It should never be the primary ingredient in a regular meal plan, and only fed in small portions as snacks or gastrointestinal aids. If your dog’s rice intake becomes excessive, that’s where risk of weight gain or diabetes can become a factor. This is also an ingredient that some dogs might be allergic to, so if you notice skin issues (excessive itching or rashes), fur loss or vomiting, it’s best to stop feeding your pup rice and contact your veterinarian.
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Whether as part of a meal or as a remedy, there are different ways you can serve your dogs rice. If your best friend has an upset stomach, it’s recommended to withhold food for several hours after vomiting or diarrhea, and then offer a small amount of plain white rice and unseasoned, boiled chicken breast in a 50:50 ratio for a couple of days, slowly reintroducing their usual food. Just make sure to get this recommendation OK-ed by your veterinarian before taking action.
If it’s part of a home-cooked diet, your best bet is to create their meal plan in consultation with a veterinary nutritionist to ensure your pet is getting all of the nutrients they need to thrive, and not missing out on anything crucial.
One thing to note is that it’s always important to never cook the rice in broth or stock that might contain onion or garlic, both of which are toxic to dogs.
In the case of a negative reaction, it’s always great to have an emergency preparedness plan in place when introducing new foods to your dog’s diet. Here are some quick steps to get you started are:
Be it plain, unseasoned white rice by itself, or whole-grain brown rice cooked into a nutritious meal plan, rice can basically be a wonder food for pups, which makes it a great snack, a great remedy and a great diet staple.
We’re confident that rice isn’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat ... ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.
The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.