Can Dogs Eat Rice?

can dogs eat rice

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Choosing the right diet for your new puppy is just as important as choosing the right dog for your lifestyle. Each breed has different exercise and nutritional requirements. 

A trip to any pet store can be overwhelming when faced with all the brands, flavors, and styles of dog food. Dogs can also eat foods that aren’t purchased at your local pet store. Rice is a relatively healthy option for both humans and dogs.

Every dog is different and can respond to human food in their own unique way. However, there are some generally safe people foods that your dog can eat regularly and are quite good for them. In this article, we’ll look at one specific food and discuss its place in your dog’s diet: rice.

Is Rice Good For Dogs?

The simple answer is yes, dogs can eat white rice safely; just because they will eat rice doesn’t necessarily mean they should eat it all the time. Rice can be a good part of a balanced meal for dogs and is often used after an episode of gastric upset to reduce irritation to the digestive tract and hopefully relieve inconvenient symptoms.

The diet of domesticated dogs hardly resembles the diet of their ancestors. Commercialized foods today are higher in carbohydrates than the largely meat-based diet they obtained in the wild. As commercial dog food made its way onto the market, it became more convenient to feed them the same thing every day than to feed them table scraps or other human food. 

When processed foods started to come under scrutiny, commercialized dog food was not immune to the spotlight. While some dogs are genuinely allergic to grains, rice and other carbohydrates are an important part of the modern dog’s diet. Their diet should be balanced with protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The exact balance of nutrients that your dog needs should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Active, sporting or hunting dogs, need higher levels of protein for muscle building and recovery. Higher carbohydrate levels can also be beneficial for quick energy. Quality proteins can be found in lean meats and fish. Rice is traditionally considered a carbohydrate source but does contain a small quantity of protein in each serving.

Dogs with dry skin should consume more fats and oils, especially those containing ALA Omega 3’s. These oils are often found in fish and nuts. Be careful though, not all nuts are suitable for your puppy’s diet.

Regardless of their activity level or grooming needs, consideration of your puppy’s tolerances and preferences is important. An upset stomach when eating grains or rice may indicate an intolerance. If you think that your dog may have a grain allergy, we recommend discussing it with your veterinarian. 

Your dog’s diet may take some experimentation to get right. It may also be a matter of budget and time constraints. Not all dog owners have time to whip up a batch of chicken and rice a few times a day, nor do they have the financial means for a raw diet. Obviously, a dog’s size factors into its dietary needs as well. A 180 pound rottweiler will need substantially more food than a 7 pound pomeranian. Make sure to keep the cost of dog food in mind when selecting your next puppy.

So, we’ve established that rice may be a great choice for your dog’s diet, but what kind is best?

What is the difference between brown rice and white rice?

Brown rice has only the outer, inedible hull removed, while white rice has the hull, bran, and cereal germ layers removed. Rice, in general, is a staple food of billions of people worldwide. Although white rice is the most commonly consumed variety and is likely cheaper, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for your dog.

Can dogs eat white rice?

Yes, white rice is safe for dogs to eat, but consider the health benefits and implications before settling on white over brown. All rice types are carbohydrates and have very little fat or protein. White rice has the most nutritious parts removed, leaving it with fewer vitamins and minerals for your puppy or dog.

Can dogs eat brown rice?

Absolutely! In our opinion, brown rice is better than white as a source of carbohydrates for your four-legged friend. Brown rice still contains the bran and cereal germ, which is where the most nutritional value comes from. Some important nutrients that are commonly found in rice are B6, Zinc, and more importantly:  thiamine and manganese.

Thiamine is a vital nutrient for organ function and carbohydrate metabolism. Brown rice has roughly 5 times more thiamine than does white rice. In dogs, thiamine helps to metabolize carbohydrates. Because brown rice is rich in thiamine and thiamine aids in carbohydrate digestion in dogs, it is the clear winner here.

Manganese is another mineral that is found in a much higher quantity in brown rice than white. Manganese is crucial for skeletal growth and ligament health making manganese for dogs a beneficial mineral through all stages of a dog’s life.

In our opinion, there are more benefits to feeding your dog brown rice than white. There are many great foods on the market for both puppies and dogs that incorporate brown rice into their formula, so finding the right balance of nutrition has become much easier. Always keep in mind your dog’s unique daily routine, exercise requirements, and palate. And as always before starting your dog on a new diet, consult your veterinarian as they can provide you with their recommendations based on your dog’s needs.

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