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Rice is a staple food for more than half of the world’s population. It’s inexpensive, stores well, and is easy to make. The good news is that dogs can eat rice, too! In fact, rice is a great source of highly digestible carbohydrates for dogs and is tolerated well by almost all pups. Learn what kind of rice is best for your dog to eat and how to prepare rice so that your dog can maximize the health benefits of this popular grain.
Rice is rich in carbohydrates, but it contains protein and fiber as well. In Natural Dog Care, Bruce Fogel, DVM, MRCVS, explains, “Energy comes from the protein, fat, and carbohydrates eaten by your dog. Carbohydrates are converted to sugar and provide instant energy.”
Rice is also a great source of vitamin D, fiber, and iron for your dog. Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphorous levels, while iron aids in the formation of hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen.
Rice is a great choice for dogs who have an immune response to gluten, according to Brittany Kuenster, a licensed veterinary technician with Pet Vets in Oak Park, Illinois. Because rice delivers important carbohydrates without gluten, it’s perfect for gluten-sensitive dogs.
These nutritional benefits are why Ollie uses rice in some of its recipes. In the Chicken Goodness recipe, rice is mixed with chicken, chicken gizzard, carrot, green peas, and more to create a balanced meal that meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages.
Yes! White rice—rice that has had the husk, bran, and germ removed—is a healthy part of a balanced diet for dogs. The absence of the husk makes white rice lower in fiber and slightly higher in calories and carbohydrates than brown rice. It’s easy on dogs’ digestive systems, making it a good choice for dogs experiencing GI distress or who have a sensitive stomachs.
Plain white rice mixed with chicken is sometimes recommended by vets for dogs experiencing diarrhea. The fiber and starch in white rice help bind the stool and calm the gut.
Less processed than white rice, brown rice retains the husk, bran, and germ. It is slightly lower in protein and carbohydrates but higher in fiber than white rice. Brown rice carries the same nutritional benefits for dogs as white rice and is actually higher in antioxidants.
However, due to its coarser texture, some dogs have difficulty eating brown rice. White rice is also a better option for any dog experiencing GI distress.
When it comes to cooking rice for your dog, plain is the name of the game. Don’t add any salt or pepper, and be careful not to mix in onions or garlic, which can be harmful or even toxic for dogs. Make sure to cook the rice according to the package directions until it’s mushy to avoid any digestive issues associated with uncooked rice. Because it’s high in calories, the rice shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet.
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