Rice can be a great and nutritious ingredient to add into your dog’s diet. However, like with many ingredients, the quality and type of rice makes a difference. Below, we'll cover the health benefits of feeding your dog a balanced diet (that includes rice), which type of rice is best for your dog's health, and which health conditions rice can help with.
Why Is Rice Good for Dogs?
Rice can be a healthy, hearty, gluten-free grain to feed your dog at any point in their life, but it can be especially great following a bout of pancreatitis or other digestive issues. This is because rice can bind loose stool in cases of diarrhea and can help produce regular bowel movements. Rice is also very gentle on a dog's stomach — think of it like saltine crackers that people snack on when dealing with stomach bugs.
Benefits of Rice for Your Dog
Other benefits of feeding your dog rice can include:
- Low in fat and sodium
- Contains antioxidants that can support cognition in aging dogs
- Feeds good bacteria in your dog's small intestine
- High in fiber
- Contains calcium and vitamin D, which support your dog's bones
Feeding Your Dog White Rice vs. Brown Rice
To summarize, white rice is not healthier than brown rice or vice versa: It comes down to your individual dog's health and nutritional needs.
White rice is best for soothing your dog's upset stomach and is very easily digestible. If you're adding white rice to your dog's diet, just make sure it's cooked as it would be if you were going to eat it. Don't feed your dog uncooked rice; it will be too hard for them to digest and could make their gastrointestinal issues even worse.
On the other hand, you should avoid brown rice when helping your dog with a sour stomach or GI issues. Cooked brown rice is ideal for a dog who may be diabetic, because it has a lower glycemic index than white rice. This means it won't spike your dog's blood sugar as much as white rice.
Brown rice also contains a variety of B vitamins (including niacin and thiamin, which are both essential for dogs), vitamin E, iron, and phytochemicals, according to GoodRX Health.
Other Types of Rice
Besides plain white rice or brown rice, dogs can eat a myriad of other types of rice in moderation, such as basmati rice, jasmine rice, and wild rice. What's most important is that the rice — regardless of the type — is cooked and does not contain any additives such as salt.
This is also why you'll want to avoid feeding fried rice to your dog due to its many additives like soy sauce, salt, onion, and leeks. All these aromatics can be toxic to dogs.
Similarly, salt can also be harmful to dogs, and even lethal. The lethal amount of salt for dogs is 1.5 grams per pound of body weight, Preventive Vet reports. If you are ever concerned about potential toxicity in your dog, contact your nearest emergency veterinarian immediately.
If this makes you worry that your dog’s food is too bland, don’t: Dog’s don’t have the same sense of taste as humans, and don’t need seasonings or sauces in order to enjoy their food.
Potential Drawbacks of Feeding Rice to Your Dog
Because rice is a simple carb, you can certainly overdo it. As mentioned, white rice spikes blood sugar levels faster than brown rice. That said, all types of rice are high in carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain or obesity if given in large quantities. There is also the risk of constipation if you feed your dog too much cooked rice. Typically, it's best to keep rice 20-25% of your dog's diet.
If you are trying to support your dog in losing weight, cutting down on the percentage of carbohydrates in their diet is also recommended. For specific guidance on specific dog breeds, be sure to check in with your vet.
How To Feed Rice to Your Dog
There are two main ways you can feed your dog rice. First, you can purchase dog food containing rice as an ingredient, or you can prepare rice at home as you would for yourself and feed it to your dog or mix it with other dog food. Remember, if you make rice for your dog at home, prepare it without any seasonings or spices.
Feeding Rice Only Is Okay on a Short-Term Basis
If you're feeding your dog rice by itself, it's only recommended on a short-term basis or as a special treat. For example, if your dog is having stomach issues, you can feed them white rice alone or with boiled chicken for a few days — but don't make it part of their regular diet because it could lead to weight gain.
If rice is a regular part of your dog's diet, be sure it's just an ingredient in their main dog food (which should also contain other nutrients vital to your dog's health).
Pair With Protein on a Long-Term Basis
If rice is going to be a permanent part of your dog's diet, be sure to pair it with a lean protein to prevent nutritional deficiencies. For example, chicken breast, turkey breast, lean ground turkey, lean beef (98% lean), and even salmon, tilapia, cod, or white fish can all boost your dog food’s nutritional value. Just keep in mind that you should only feed fattier fish in moderation — and in alignment with your dog's overall health goals.
Another thing to consider when choosing a protein to pair with rice is the quality of the protein. Many low-quality dog foods are made with highly-processed or 4D meats or meat meals. Instead, opt for dog food brands that contain real, high-quality muscle and organ meat like you’d find from a reputable human grade dog food brand.
Boost Your Dog's Diet With Human Grade Dog Food From The Honest Kitchen
Pet foods with human grade distinction have to meet over 100 safety standards set by the FDA and USDA. These strict standards apply all the way through the production process — from the farm to final packaging. However, due to the rigorous nature of these high standards, many dog food brands opt to remain feed grade because it's easier and cheaper.
Luckily, here at The Honest Kitchen, we have perfected these standards. We're proud to call ourselves a certified human grade dog food company that can deliver right to your doorstep!
Our complete line of human grade dog food recipes (with and without rice) are packed high-quality, thoughtfully sourced ingredients. From kibble and dry dog food to wet food, broth toppers, and a ton of dog treats, The Honest Kitchen has something that every dog will love. Browse all of our dog food options here!
*Health Disclaimer: This post is educational in nature and doesn’t constitute health advice. Please consult your pet's veterinarian or other healthcare professional for specific guidance on this topic.