Brown rice is a tasty and nutty whole grain. Dogs are able to eat most whole grains just like humans can. Although there is a substantial amount of controversy and debate on whether or not grains should be in your dog's diet, or the human diet for that matter, only you can decide if the health benefits of whole grains outweigh any of the negative effects whole grains, like brown rice, have on your dog.
In this article, we will explore some of the benefits and issues with brown rice and how to include them in your dog's diet safely.
Signs of a Dog Liking Brown Rice
Most dogs are really going to like the taste of brown rice. Many owners who do not feed their dog kibble or canned food cook up brown rice, meats, and veggies to make up their daily meals. If your dog likes the taste of brown rice, they are going to eat the rice without any issues and reservations.
If you give them the rice in their food dish, they will eat it right away and will not snarl, back away from it, or show any other signs of dislike. Many dogs will also begin to beg for more when there is none left, will drool a lot, lick their lips, bark or cry for more, pace around the room or near you if you have the food, and even spin in circles with excitement.
If your dog does not like brown rice, they likely will show little to no interest in the rice. This may consist of signs like exposed teeth, trying to play with the food instead of trying to eat it, and some dogs will simply just walk away from the food after the initial taste test. If they seem disinterested in the food, do not try and force them to eat it.
History of Dogs and Brown Rice
Brown rice is a type of whole grain. In the wild and while dogs were undomesticated, whole grains did not have a place in their diet. A dog's diet consisted of a variety of meat, fish, and occasionally some vegetation. Wolves also eat a heavy raw-meat-and-bone diet and actually have a difficult time digesting starchy foods.
Although it is believed that dogs started out as only meat eaters, as the domestication of dogs progressed and their interaction with humans increased, grains began to become part of their diet and, eventually, dogs were able to digest grains much better as their bodies got used to them.
Grains were a big part of the human diet and wolves, the dogs that we came to now today, had to adapt to this type of diet as well.
As humans ate more starches and veggies from the ability to grow their food, the leftover food scraps were dumped and this became an easy source of food for the wolves. Therefore, they had to adapt to eating more fruits, veggies, and whole grains. In fact, from a study conducted by an evolutionary geneticist at Uppsala University, it was found that dogs today have a few genes that make it easier for them to digest grains, whereas wolves today still lack these kinds of genes.
Science Behind Dogs Eating Brown Rice
Regardless of the evidence of a dog's ability to digest rice and grains, some people still believe a dog's body is not meant to digest grains and they should be feed like their wolf ancestors on a diet of raw meat, bones, and veggies. Although this type of diet can have many benefits, it is not always easy or practical for many people as it's much more expensive.
Furthermore, most dogs do just fine with healthy whole grains like brown rice unless they have digestive issues or an allergy to brown rice.
Brown rice has many health benefits for your dog. Brown rice contains protein, has a lower amount of starch than white rice, contains lots of fiber which is great for digestion, and it can help your dog have regular bowel movements if they are experiencing constipation.
Brown rice also contains high levels of magnesium, selenium, antioxidants, and can help to stabilize your pup's blood sugar levels.
Feeding Your Dog Brown Rice
Including brown rice in your dog's diet is simple, easy to do, and very inexpensive. You can find large bags of organic brown rice in most supermarkets that last for months. Brown rice must be cooked first and then added to your dog's regular diet.
All you need is a large to medium pot to fill with 4 cups of cold water and 1 cup of brown rice. Place the water and rice on the stove and bring the rice to a boil. Once the rice is boiling, lower to heat to medium-low, cover the rice with a tight-fitting lid, and cook the rice until all of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is light and fluffy. This should take about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the rice and your stove.
Once the rice is cooked, let it cool completely in the pot and then fluff the rice with a fork. You can add the cooled rice to your dog's food for an extra nutritional boost.
Keep in mind that brown rice generally shouldn't be fed to your dog every day. Try to limit their intake to two or three times per week as this is plenty for their smaller bodies. If you are feeding your dog brown rice and boiled chicken because they are having tummy troubles it is ok to feed them the brown rice as their meals until they are feeling better and they return to normal.
We suggest speaking to your vet for more detailed and personalized instructions on how to help your dog when they are having an upset stomach.
By a Samoyed lover Kayla Costanzo
Published: 04/27/2018, edited: 04/06/2020