One of the most popular foods around the world is rice. But can dogs eat rice? The answer is yes. You may not even realize it, but rice is an ingredient sometimes found in commercial dog foods.
In fact, if you ask many pet owners what they feed their dog when he’s sick, they’ll likely tell you that white rice is a part of their pup’s diet. One of the reasons white rice is the chosen grain for a dog with an upset stomach is that it’s easy to digest, quick to prepare, and low in fiber.
“We use rice as a carb source when dogs are on a bland diet after a GI upset,” says Dr. Steve Weinberg, DVM and medical director/CEO of 911Vets, a mobile veterinary service in the Los Angeles area. “Rice helps to bind the stool in cases of diarrhea.”
Is All Rice the Same?
Brown rice is never prescribed for dogs having gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea. It is always white rice because our canine companions need the starch. However, white rice has a higher glycemic index than brown rice and can cause blood sugar levels to rise. If your dog is diabetic, you can still feed him a little white rice, if needed, but it shouldn’t be given to him on a consistent basis.
Due to the way in which brown and white rice is processed, brown rice can be harder for a dog to digest because it is not as processed. “Brown rice has a seed coat where the nutrients are stored,” explains Dr. Carly Fox, DVM, a staff veterinarian at New York City’s Animal Medical Center. “That coat is missing from white rice, resulting in less nutritional content.”
Carbohydrates are an important part of a dog’s diet, along with a certain amount of protein and fat. Like us, eating too many carbs can lead to weight gain in a dog. Because commercially produced dog food contains carbohydrates, be careful not to overload your dog with additional high-carb foods like rice. As long as he’s maintaining a healthy weight, adding some rice to your dog’s meals is perfectly fine.
When preparing rice for your pup, boil it in water and do not add any seasonings or spices. Keep it plain and simple; he won’t know the difference. And just like with any new food you introduce into your dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian first and then start off slowly.