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Rice vs. Oatmeal: What's Better For Dogs?


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Are you looking for a little something special to add to your dog’s kibble now and then? Rice and oatmeal are two nutritional foods that humans love to eat, but what about feeding these foods to your dog? Dogs can eat both rice and oatmeal but there are considerations to keep in mind with each. 

Let’s take a look at the nutritional goodness of each to help you decide on rice vs oatmeal. As always, check with your veterinarian to see if allowing your dog to have either rice or oatmeal is okay, based on their age, activity level, and current health status.

dog and family - are rice and oatmeal safe for dogs to eat

Are rice and oatmeal safe for dogs?

Both rice and oatmeal are safe for dogs and these are two ingredients often added to commercial dog food. 

When looking for a healthy dog food brand, you may see rice or oatmeal listed in the top few ingredients. To note, other things to look for are quality meat (no unknown meat sources) and equal fat to protein ratios.

Whether you want to buy a kibble with rice or oatmeal or you plan to cook some and add it to your dog’s food, these grains are good for dogs. Rice and oatmeal can be part of a healthy canine eating regimen, but should never make up the mainstay of the diet.

Brown or white rice?

When humans are deciding on a rice, brown rice is typically the healthy choice. Brown rice has most of the hull intact, making it more nutritious. 

When it comes to dogs, some may have trouble digesting brown rice. White rice is easy to digest and low in fiber. This is why you often hear that pet parents give cooked white rice to a dog with an upset stomach. It’s a great starchy carb source that is bland and helps to bind the stool in cases of diarrhea.

Consult with your vet before giving rice. Ask them which one they think is best for your dog, white or brown.

½ cup cooked brown rice contains:

  • Fiber
  • Tryptophan
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese (*At 48% of the RDA, this is the most abundant ingredient, and has antioxidants!)
French bull dog eating from his red dog bowl - are rice and oatmeal good and safe foods for dogs to eat

The scoop on oatmeal

Oatmeal is good for your pooch’s skin and also contains vitamins to maintain a healthy coat. Its fiber content can help keep your dog regular. But don’t overdo it, or you’ll cause stomach upset that could lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

Ask your veterinarian about giving oatmeal to your dog. It is higher in calories than rice and like rice, has lots of carbs. Oatmeal should always be added as a treat alongside a healthy vet-approved dog food.

½ cup cooked oatmeal contains:

  • Fiber
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese (At 30% of the RDA, also the most abundant, so antioxidant providing, too!)

Tips for adding rice or oatmeal to your dog’s diet:

  • Although adding rice or oatmeal to a dog’s dish as a treat gives them a healthy change of taste, remember that commercial dog foods do have carbohydrates in them. Don’t overload your pooch with extra carbs as weight gain can put stress on the joints.
  • When preparing rice for your canine kid, don’t add salt or spices. Plain rice is the way to go—your dog will still find it delicious.
  • Use whole grain oatmeal and steer away from quick oatmeal. In particular, do not give your dog flavored instant oats that may have a lot of added sugar, or even sweeteners, like xylitol, that are toxic to dogs.
  • When preparing oatmeal to add to your dog’s food, use water rather than milk. Never serve raw oatmeal. Your furry buddy will have difficulties digesting it.
  • Don’t add sugar, spices, or fruit to the oatmeal. Plain is best.

Which is better for dogs: rice or oatmeal?

Rice and oatmeal are both gluten-free, which is a plus. When purchasing oatmeal, however, check the packaging to ensure it was processed in a gluten-free factory.

The fiber from both oatmeal and rice works to regulate your four-legger’s digestive system and might be helpful in cases of loose stools.

Fiber also helps to fill your dog up. Adding oatmeal or rice to the food may work as a weight-loss tool, along with regular walks or runs, of course!

Both grains are full of vitamins and minerals, which is good for adding a little extra nutrition to your dog’s day.

white dog cocking his head - are rice or oatmeal better for dogs

How much rice or oatmeal can my dog eat?

Serving these nutritious foods to your dog in moderation is important. Serve your pupster no more than half a cup of oatmeal at the most (even less for a small dog, especially when added to their regular dog food) 1-2 times a week. When it comes to rice, Purina recommends that you follow the 10 percent rule; the calories from rice should be no more than 10 percent of your dog’s calories per day.

Rice or oatmeal?

We’ve looked at both rice and oatmeal. It’s easy to see that both are healthy and can serve a purpose in boosting your pooch’s nutrition. To determine what is better for your dog, have a chat with your vet and go over your dog’s nutritional needs based on age, health status, and activity level. For example, choosing white or brown rice will depend on whether your dog has a health condition.

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.

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