What Kind of Rice Can Dogs Eat?

the different types of rice

Dogs can eat any type of rice you can think of. Brown, White, Jasmine, Basmati, Long Grain, Short Grain, Wild, etc. Darker rice typically contains more nutrients, while lighter rice is easier for dogs to digest. There’s a time and place for rice in your dog’s diet. It’s ok to feed them whatever type of rice you already have in the pantry. 

When we are feeling under the weather, we tend to skip our typical meal choices. We’ll dig in the back of the pantry for our proven go-to substitutes that help us quell our queasiness while we get our balance back. Some of us choose items such as crackers, pasta, boiled potatoes, and rice.

So why do we naturally gravitate to these food items? Our instincts kick in to tell us we need starch. The one thing these foods have in common is a good dose of starch. 

Starch absorbs the excess acid build-up in our digestive system and helps the stomach do what it needs to do.

Starch helps us tremendously when trying to soothe the stomach blues — this is not only true for people, but also applies to dogs. So if your dog is not feeling well, you can try adding some bland, starchy foods and see if that will help him bounce back to his usual energetic self.

When Should My Dog Eat Rice?

If dogs descended from wolves, their diet should be heavily centered on red meat, right? That’s not always the case. 

While there is truth to the fact that meat is an important part of your dog’s diet and nutrition, dogs are technically “omnivores,” which means they can eat meat, plants, and grains… such as rice.

Your dog may go through periods when a red meat and high-fat diet will actually be too much for his stomach to digest. 

Your dog may be older and have more food sensitivities, and a starch-based diet can bring him some relief. 

Or maybe you see your dog is having stomach issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. It might be helpful to add rice to his diet until his stomach calms down.

So now that we’ve discussed why rice may be a good option for your dog, what kind of rice should we be giving Fido? 

White or Brown? Pros and Cons…

Which rice should we be adding to the diet? White or brown? Although white rice is the most common choice (for reasons you will see below), both types of rice have their pros and cons.

White Rice

The Pros:

White rice is usually the go-to choice. If your vet suggests adding rice to your dog’s diet, he is most likely talking about white rice. 

White rice is an easily digestible carbohydrate and an excellent source of energy. Although it has little nutritional value, white rice has a lot of starch. Starch is what dogs need to absorb the acid or toxins in their stomach that might give them a belly-ache.

The Cons:

On the flip side, the body turns starch into glucose, which causes blood sugar levels to rise. If your dog already struggles with keeping his blood sugar in balance or has diabetes, use caution and check with your vet before adding white rice to his diet.

Brown Rice

The Pros:

Brown rice still contains the hull and bran, which adds fiber to the diet. It also has a little protein and has retained its natural oils, providing some added health benefits. 

These natural oils will also give the rice a shorter shelf-life, so make sure the rice hasn’t become rancid if it has been sitting in the back of the pantry a while.

The Cons:

Unfortunately, brown rice may also contain “anti-nutrients,” which can interfere with the stomach’s ability to break down and use nutrients. 

Also, brown rice sometimes may contain trace amounts of arsenic. If your dog is having stomach issues, adding in a high-fiber grain could actually make the situation worse.

Rice Alternatives

Maybe your dog can’t tolerate rice because of allergies, or you are stuck at home without rice in your pantry. We’ve made a list of dog-safe alternatives to rice.

Plain pasta

Plain pasta is a very starchy substance that can help if your dog is feeling under the weather. It is made of simple ingredients (most times only flour and water.), so it is easy on the stomach. 

Feed it to the dog without oil or butter as these fats may be too rich and undo your attempts to help your dog feel better. 

And no pasta sauce, either, as garlic and onions can be toxic to dogs even when they are at their best.

Tapioca

If your dog has allergies, tapioca is a good option. Tapioca pearls are grain-free and gluten-free and are extracted from the cassava root. 

Eating tapioca is like eating straight starch and carbs. So while it may not be your best choice if you are looking to add protein, fiber, or nutrients to your diet, it can be a great sponge to absorb acid in your dog’s stomach.

Quinoa

Did you know that most dogs can also eat quinoa? Quinoa is actually a “pseudo-rice,” which means it actually isn’t a rice at all (it is a seed.). It is just often prepared like rice. 

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, high in protein, and included as an ingredient in many high-class dog kibble.

Other options to consider are wild rice, boiled potatoes, gluten-free oatmeal, or canned pumpkin.

How Much Rice to Add

Adding rice to your dog’s diet can be beneficial to help him level out stomach problems. You can also add chicken to help him get his protein in.

Portioning It Out

So how much should you be feeding him? If, for example, you have been giving your dog one cup of kibble at mealtime, substitute this temporarily for one cup of chicken and rice. It is important to give your dog plenty of water while eating a chicken and rice diet to keep him from becoming dehydrated and to help his stomach cleanse.

6 Hour Rule

If your dog has been vomiting, it is important to wait at least six hours before trying a bland rice diet. This diet will relieve diarrhea and vomiting, but just make sure he doesn’t start going in the other direction towards constipation.

Keep it Short

Although rice can benefit your dog for some time, it is generally not recommended for everyday use as it lacks the necessary nutrients that dogs receive from their regular diet. Also, dogs may become allergic to rice if kept on this diet for too long.

If the dog needs to be on a rice diet for more than a few days, a veterinary nutritionist should be called in to give advice.

The Scoop – High Starch is Key

It may be a lot to digest, but there is the scoop on whether your dog would benefit from a rice diet. You can make an educated choice on what kind of starch may be best for your dog and how much you should feed your pooch based on his usual diet.

Hopefully, after a few days on a high-starch diet, your dog will begin to feel like himself again. As always, check with the vet for a personal recommendation to help you (and your dog’s stomach.) begin to feel at ease.

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