Updated: 9/17/2021A common question veterinary professionals and nutritionists receive from pet parents is, “Can dogs eat rice?” The answer is yes. While some may think that canines are strictly carnivores, veterinarians are quick to point out that our furry friends are omnivores. Dogs need a balanced diet of both plant and animal food sources — too much meat protein can cause kidney and liver problems.
Anyone whose dog has ever visited the vet due to an upset stomach knows that dogs can eat unseasoned chicken and plain white rice. But how much rice can dogs safely eat? Can dogs eat brown rice? What about fried rice, or rice and beans? Let's take a closer look.
If you’re giving your dog rice to soothe their stomach or as a small treat, be sure to feed small amounts.
Dogs can technically eat rice every day — did you know that many of the most “pawpular” dog food brands fortify their recipes with rice?
But just because dogs can eat rice every day doesn’t mean they should. Rice is high in carbohydrates, which means it’ll stick to your dog’s tummy like, well, white on rice!
Like when introducing any new food to your canine buddy, start small. Depending on the size of your pup, of course, add a teaspoon or a tablespoon of the cooked grain to their regular serving of food. Your dog can eat cooked rice every day, but remember there has to be a balance of the nutrients your companion needs, which are protein, fat from meat or oil, calcium, essential fatty acids, and carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are where the rice comes in, and while the grain is a healthy addition to your dog’s meal, never overdo the amount of rice you give them. Rice is starchy and although easy to digest, a lot of rice every day could raise your pet’s blood sugar which is risky if your pet is diabetic.
This is a good question because when we think of grains as an addition to our dog’s diet, it is often white rice that comes to mind. Dogs can easily digest white rice which is low in fiber; that is why it is typically given to pups with an upset stomach. However, brown rice has benefits as well.
Brown rice has a lower glycemic index and is, therefore, better for dogs who have diabetes. There are other benefits that brown rice has over white, including the fact that it has more nutritional value. Brown rice tops white in nutrients because the seed coat is still present, which is where the sources of nutrition are stored. Vitamins, minerals and fiber counts are higher in the brown variety.
Take note, when feeding a dog brown rice the quantity served must be lower than with white rice. For a large dog, for example, do not feed them more than ¼ cup mixed in with their food. Your dog’s consumption of rice should never exceed 10 percent of their daily caloric intake.
In the case of an upset stomach in dogs, white rice is typically favored over brown because of the digestibility. Without the seed coat on the rice, your dog can process the grain easier. When a dog has diarrhea, white rice is often recommended to help bind the stool.
Don’t discount brown rice as an aid to an upset stomach, however. If your pup’s upset stomach is causing constipation, the extra fiber can help to ease the problem. To decide on which rice is best for your dog’s ailment, a call to the veterinarian is suggested.
The rice that we feed our dogs must be cooked; boiling the rice in plain water without the addition of any spices is the rule. Fried rice is not the best form to feed your dog; never allow your canine buddy to eat rice that has been fried with soy sauce, such as in take-out food. Steaming or boiling it is the ideal way to serve the grain.
However, you can take cooked white or brown rice and add it to a protein like cooked minced pork, along with vegetables (such as cooked pumpkin or sweet potato), and fry it without added spice or butter. Scrambling an egg and mixing that in makes a wholesome and delicious homemade meal for your dog. Remember though, start with a very small quantity to test your dog’s tolerance to the new foods.
Now that we are discussing varying your pup’s rice recipes, you may wonder about beans and rice, a favorite on the menu of many family dinner tables. Beans are full of nutrients like potassium, iron, protein, fiber and vitamins such as A and C.
Fresh beans that have been soaked and completely cooked (never raw) can be mixed in with your dog’s rice. Stick to black beans, kidney beans and legumes. Canned beans contain too much sodium. Fresh green beans are a tasty and safe treat.
A word of caution though, beans can cause excessive gas and constipation in dogs so best to add only a handful now and then to the rice. They are not meant to be consumed every day.
A high-quality diet is essential for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.