Yes, absolutely your dog can eat rice. But take note on which rice is most suitable. White rice is often used in a bland diet in order to help treat stomach upset in dogs and also used as a source of carbohydrates in commercial dog foods.
Is All Rice the Same?
No, there are differences between white rice and brown rice. White rice is processed more than brown rice, and is low in fiber but high in starch. Brown rice is higher in fiber and because it still has its outer layer (the hull), which contains fiber.
If you are looking to increase the fiber in your dog's diet, you can include some brown rice with their meals- but keep in mind it is harder for dogs to digest than white rice.
How Is Rice Good For Dogs?
Depending on the reason for using rice you have a few options that work great for dogs, but first here are the benefits of rice:
Low in fat and sodium
Contains calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D- all of which support healthy bones
Contains antioxidants which help prevent disease and cognitive dysfunction in aging pets
White rice can soothe gastrointestinal upset
Aids a healthy microbiome through probiotic action feeding the good bacteria in the small intestines
Fiber supports regular bowl movements and aids digestion
High in carbohydrates, rice can help boost energy levels and cognitive function
Vitamins and Minerals in Rice
Calcium for strong teeth and bones
Magnesium supports muscle movement and energy production
Manganese helps protects your against free radicals which can damage cells
Niacin promotes healthy skin, nervous system, and digestion
Phosphorus works with calcium to strengthen bones, teeth, and ligaments
Selenium is essential for thyroid function, reproduction, and protecting against cell damage from oxidation
Thiamine or vitamin B1, supports cell production and their metabolism
Vitamins D, B1, and B6 support your pup’s heart health and metabolism
Types of rice
White rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates, or starch, and can soothe an irritated stomach. Starch doesn't get digested until it gets to the small intestine, where it feeds helpful bacteria that promotes regular bowel movement and bulk up loose stools.
White rice has a high glycemic index, with one-third of a cup containing 70 calories. It’s a fast-burning carb that can raise blood sugar levels. If your dog has diabetes or is overweight, you might want to avoid giving him or her white rice. White rice isn't recommended for dogs with candida or yeast infections. Yeast and candida feed off sugars produced by carbohydrates.
Brown rice has a higher nutritional value than white rice because of its bran, which gives it a higher fiber content. However, it is also harder to digest. It’s made of complex carbs and burns slower, stabilizing blood sugar levels for longer. Fiber helps overweight dogs feel fuller for longer and can help them deal with constipation.
There is a belief among some people that the phytic acid in brown rice hinders mineral absorption. Phytic acid is found in seeds and provides the seed with the energy it needs to sprout. Phosphorus is created from phytic acid when the seed germinates. There are two sides of the phytic acid debate, and studies have shown that it reduces the risk of some types cancer.
Basmati rice is long-grain white rice, which is rich in carbohydrates. It’s an excellent treatment for diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset.
Jasmine rice is a long-grain, soft rice from Thailand. It’s lower in starch, so it’s not as sticky as some long-grain rice.
Wild rice is the most nutritious type of rice since it's packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Dogs like it because of it's distinctive nutty flavour.
Ways to serve your dog rice
Veterinarians will often recommend a bland diet of plain white rice and boiled chicken for dogs who have digestive issues. White rice is easy for dogs' stomachs to digest and helps them regain their balance so they can eat their regular kibbles again. Most vets won't recommend brown rice for dogs who have stomach or digestion issues.
When you want to cook rice for your dog, first rinse it to remove any excess starch. Boil it in plain water until it’s tender, or use a rice cooker. Avoid adding any ingredients that could upset your dog’ stomach such as seasonings or fats. You can use broth without any sodium or fat in the cooking liquid, but plain rice is usually just fine for most dogs.
A healthy dog may enjoy some fresh vegetables and various types of healthy meat added to the mixture. Adding some broth and some healthy, dog-safe vegetables makes for a warm winter treat and can be part of a balanced diet.
Fried rice is not suitable for dogs. The soy sauce, fat, seasonings, and additional onions or garlic can be dangerous for them.
Final thoughts on rice for dogs
Rice is one of the most popular and accessible foods in the world, and we love sharing our food with our doggo friends. Plain rice is a great food to share, as long as it has no seasonings or fats added.
This low-cal, low-fiber grain provides plenty of carbs for soothing an upset stomach or taming a nasty bout of diarrhea It’s a high carbohydrate food that can help your pet’s immune system remain strong with its probiotic properties
Keep things simple so that they're easy for both you and your vet. Start out with small portions and gradually increase them according to your vet‘s advice and your dog's health needs.