Any variation of rice is considered good for dogs. Brown rice has more nutrients and is great to add to your dogs’ diet for general health. White rice does not have as many nutrients but is much easier for dogs to digest, which means white rice is perfect for dogs with an upset stomach.
Rice can be a nutritious part of a dog’s diet. Although many people assume that dogs should have the same diet as wolves, they actually are quite different.
Domestic dogs evolved from the wolves a long time ago and their nutritional needs have evolved in the process.
While wolves are true carnivores and eat primarily meat, dogs are actually omnivores and regularly get a portion of their nourishment from plant-based foods.
In fact, many commercial dog foods include brown rice or other grains as one of their main ingredients.
Rice contains healthy minerals and B vitamins and provides carbohydrates for your dog’s diet. Carbs are important for a healthy dog because they provide them with energy. However, the added calories that come with those carbs can also lead to weight gain. Portion control is important when feeding rice to your dog.
So, what kind of rice can you feed your dog? And what’s the best way to prepare it for him? We’ve got all the answers for you below.
Is One Type of Rice Better Than the Other?
Both brown rice and white rice are good for your dog. Here’s the difference between the two options.
If you’re looking for a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, brown rice might be your best option. It still contains the outer bran layer, which is what makes it brown. This outer layer of the rice is the healthiest part because that’s where many of the vitamins and minerals are found.
Brown rice is the more nutrient-rich of the two, which is why it’s used in a lot of commercial dog foods.
Brown rice has more fiber, and because it is less processed, it can be more difficult for your dog to digest.
White rice is the same grain as brown rice, but it has been milled to remove that outer layer. This extra polishing step that white rice goes through causes it to have less nutritional value.
Because it is less fibrous and more processed, white rice is easier for your dog to digest. That’s why many people feed their dog white rice when they have some sort of gastrointestinal (GI) problem.
White rice can cause your dog’s blood sugar levels to rise because it has a higher glycemic index than brown rice, so the carbs are more quickly converted into sugars.
Will Rice Help My Dog with An Upset Stomach?
When a dog is suffering from GI distress like diarrhea or an upset stomach, a bland diet can soothe their stomach and help them get back to normal.
White rice is a great option to serve your dog when he is having gut issues. It is easy to digest but still provides your dog with the necessary carbohydrates and calories that he needs to keep his energy up.
Rice is also quick and easy to prepare. It’s cheap and typically something you already have in your pantry. This makes it ideal for when your dog is having stomach problems and you need to feed him something different at a moment’s notice.
What About Grain-Free Diets?
The jury is still out on this one, but many vets don’t actually recommend switching your dog to a grain-free diet.
Grain-free dog foods don’t contain corn, soy, wheat, rice, barley, or other grains but might have some grain alternatives like peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, or potatoes.
Although grain-free options have become very popular in the last few years, with almost every major commercial dog food brand offering its own alternative, there is a potential link to canine heart disease.
There is no proof yet, but the FDA is investigating the potential connection between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and certain grain-free diets.
Large breeds are naturally at a higher risk of DCM, but reports of the disease in other breeds not typically predisposed to it have sparked concern. DCM can lead to congestive heart failure and be fatal for your dog.
Some dogs who might have food allergies could benefit from a grain-free diet, but the percentage of dogs with allergies to grains is extremely low. It’s actually more likely for your dog to be allergic to beef than to any grains like rice.
If you’re curious about switching your dog’s regular food to a grain-free option, speak to your veterinarian first.
If you feed your dog a grain-free diet already, you probably shouldn’t feed them rice, even when they have an upset stomach. Changing their diet suddenly, especially if their body isn’t used to digesting grains, can be tough on their GI system, which is the opposite of what you want.
How Should I Prepare and Serve Rice for My Dog?
Only serve your dog cooked rice. Don’t add any extra butter or oil and stay away from salt and spices. Your dog doesn’t need the extra fat and calories. They will still enjoy the rice even with no seasoning. Make sure to rinse the rice in water first. This will remove any extra starch. Cook the rice in water or use a steam rice cooker.
Serve with His Regular Food or Mix in Protein
If you are giving your dog rice as a supplement to his regular food, you can mix the rice right into your dog’s bowl, along with his usual commercial food.
If your dog is having stomach problems, like diarrhea, you can serve the rice plain or mixed half-and-half with some form of protein.
Choose cooked lean meat that’s delicious, easy for your dog to digest, and helps provide a more balanced meal than just rice alone.
This combination of rice and lean meat, like cubed chicken breast, can help your dog recover from his upset stomach. When your dog returns back to normal and the symptoms of his GI issues are gone, you can gradually work their regular food back into the bowl.
How Much White Rice Should I Feed My Dog?
While rice can be a nutritious option for your dog’s meals, it also packs a lot of calories. Any additional rice you feed to your dog regularly, outside of what might already be present in his commercial dog food, should be provided as part of a well-balanced diet.
This means you should follow the 10% rule. Any additional treats or meal toppers, including extra rice, should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories.
The carbohydrate-rich rice needs to be balanced with the right amount of fat and proteins. Limiting the amount of rice that you add to your dog’s food bowl will ensure that most of his calories come from his commercial dog food, which has been specifically formulated to provide him with all the proper nutrients.
If you’re adding rice to your dog’s diet, monitor his weight carefully. The extra calories can quickly lead to weight gain if you aren’t mindful of how much you’re giving him.
For large breeds, ¼ cup of rice is plenty. For smaller breeds, limit it to only a tablespoon. If you’re feeding your dog rice to help them recover from GI distress, don’t continue with a rice-based diet for more than a couple days. Rice on its own doesn’t give your dog everything they need to live a healthy life. You’ll soon start depriving your dog of key nutrients.
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