There’s nothing wrong with feeding your dog chicken and rice every day as long as the other nutritional requirements are met. If you don’t feed your dog anything other than chicken and rice, they will lack certain micronutrients required for optimal health.
One of the most common remedies given to dogs with digestive issues is chicken and rice. If chicken and rice are so good for dogs, why don’t they just eat it every day?
The simple answer: Chicken and rice is good for a dog with an upset stomach, but not on a regular basis.
Nutritional Needs of Dogs
Dogs have complex nutritional needs, requiring the right amounts of macro and micronutrients to thrive. This is best achieved by feeding the dog store-bought dog food, which is formulated to meet all of a dog’s nutritional requirements.
Nutritional requirements will differ depending on the dog, special considerations or sensitivities, and what stage of life she’s in.
Puppy food is formulated to handle a dog’s extra nutritional requirements while they’re growing.
Because the body is working hard to make new tissue and grow bones, puppies need more nutrients than adult dogs do.
This is why puppy food is higher in calories, fat, and proteins, and vitamins and minerals.
It’s important to note that large and small breed puppies have different nutritional needs as well, so be sure to grab the right food for your dog’s size. This will prevent future bone issues, among other things.
Adult dogs do fine with “regular” dog food unless they have illnesses, sensitivities, or other conditions (which we’ll discuss below).
Because they’re not actively growing, adult dogs don’t need as much in the way of calories as puppies do, although they still need the right mix of proteins, fats, etc.
Senior dogs sometimes need extra calories to maintain weight and are more likely to suffer from conditions that require specific dietary adjustments.
If your senior dog isn’t doing well on his current diet, talk to your vet about adjustments. Be sure to make any modifications slowly, as older dogs are more prone to upset stomachs due to abrupt changes in diet.
Dogs that are pregnant or lactating have increased nutritional needs, just like puppies do. After all, their bodies aren’t just taking care of their own needs, but actively growing and caring for multiple other bodies as well.
Interestingly, many puppy foods can be used for pregnant or lactating dogs as well if you’re unable to find pregnancy-specific food. Just be sure to check the label and see if it specifies that it meets gestation/lactation requirements.
Your vet will likely be able to recommend an appropriate food as well.
Just like any dog, if you’re going to change your pregnant dog’s food, do so gradually rather than all at once.
As you undoubtedly already know, since you’re on this page, chicken and rice is a common recommendation for sick dogs.
It’s important to note that this is for occasional illnesses, not ongoing problems. Your dog can eat chicken and rice for a few days with no nutritional deficit, but this meal alone won’t meet all of a dog’s dietary needs.
Further, some dogs have sensitivities to grains and/or chicken, so this diet isn’t likely to help those dogs at all.
If you feed your sick dog chicken and rice, you can cook the rice in bone broth to increase the nutritional density.
Although it’s less commonly known, feeding sick dogs turkey and pumpkin is also an excellent remedy. The pumpkin has more nutritional value than rice and may be easier to digest for some dogs.
Plus, dogs that are allergic to chicken may handle turkey better.
If your dog is regularly having digestive issues, schedule an appointment with a vet. The diet itself may cause problems, or it may point to an underlying disease.
Dogs with certain illnesses, like urinary tract infections, liver or kidney disease, or diabetes, may need to go on a special diet prescribed by a vet.
Dogs with Sensitivities
Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to some foods. Food allergies in dogs can present in several ways, including:
- itchy skin
Unfortunately, it’s common for a dog to develop allergic symptoms to food over some time rather than right away. This can make diagnosis difficult.
While a dog can be allergic to any food ingredient, certain ingredients are more likely to cause reactions. These include:
- wheat (gluten)
- proteins in beef, chicken, or lamb
If a food allergy is suspected, your vet will probably recommend an elimination diet, eliminating certain ingredients for a few weeks at a time until it can be determined which ingredients are causing the issues.
This can take a lot of time, but avoiding allergens is the only way to get your dog feeling better. There are commercial foods available that avoid the most common allergens, so it might be worth trying one of these first to see if it works.
If it does, great – you can just make the switch to this new food, rather than eliminating allergens one-by-one yourself.
Wet Versus Dry Dog Food
In addition to home-made meals like chicken and rice versus commercial dog food, there is some debate over whether it’s better to feed your dog wet or dry food. Below, we go over the pros and cons of both choices.
Canned wet food can be an excellent choice for picky eaters or dogs with dental issues.
Wet food also has higher protein and fat content, which is great for active dogs. Because it contains water, it can be more filling, which is perfect for dogs on restrictive diets due to weight.
On the other hand, wet food goes bad once it’s opened and attracts pests. The higher protein and fat content can also be rough on dogs with sensitive stomachs or existing kidney issues.
Dry food is less appetizing than wet food is, but it’s less expensive, easier to store, and doesn’t go bad as long as you use it before the expiration date.
Dry kibble is also good for the dog’s teeth and gums since it provides something hard to crunch on, which strengthens teeth and removes plaque.
However, dry food usually contains more grains and carbohydrates than wet food, which some owners prefer to avoid or limit.
Many dog owners have luck with mixing wet and dry food together. This can be a cost-saving way to make the kibble more enticing without having to shell out for a diet consisting entirely of wet food.
If you decide to go this route, clean the bowl regularly because the moisture in the wet food will attract bacteria and pests that may hide beneath the kibble.
Wet Dry Food
If you prefer not to make the switch to canned food, but your dog isn’t crazy about kibble or has a hard time eating it, try adding a little water to the kibble.
This will make it easier to eat for dogs with dental issues and potentially make it more appealing for picky eaters.
You can also wet the food with bone broth, as long as the broth doesn’t have too much sodium.
The Details Are Up to You
As with most things regarding pet care, what you feed our dog is ultimately a matter of preference. Just do your research, talk to your vet, and choose food that meets your dog’s nutritional requirements. The details are up to you.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.