As one of the food staples in many different cultures, rice is almost always around the home. The average human consumes rice throughout the year, and its versatility makes it very popular. Anyone who has a dog might be curious to know whether or not the scraps they beg for is safe for them to consume.
Can dogs eat rice?
Yes, it is safe for dogs to eat rice. In fact, there are a lot of dog foods that include rice in the ingredients. The standard recommendation is to favor white rice over brown rice if there are options for a dog. It is the easier of the two for dogs to digest.
White rice vs. brown rice for dogs
For humans, white rice and brown rice is mostly a matter of personal preference. However, dogs should always have white rice over brown rice if the opportunity is there. That is because the two options have pretty much the same benefits, but the drawbacks to brown rice stick out for dogs.
Notice how brown rice is a little harder and not as processed as white rice? That is a bad thing for dogs, as it makes it harder for them to consume and digest regularly. If their body is not breaking down the rice the right way, it can cause digestive issues and even diarrhea. Not all dogs are going to have an adverse reaction like that to brown rice, but it is something to keep in mind if they eat a lot.
It is not all negative for brown rice though, as it is the healthier of the two. Humans tend to favor brown rice because of this, but it might take a little more work to eat everything properly. Dogs do not always chew as much as they should before swallowing, and their body does not process everything like humans.
White rice usually makes the most sense as a snack once in a while for dogs out of the two major categories. They can eat white rice a little easier, and it actually provides better health benefits when in need. Even though they do not offer the same amount of nutrients, it is viewed as a snack in the first place. That means that most people are not looking to get significant health benefits from a snack, since that comes from the actual dog food.
White rice is the better of the two options whenever a dog is dealing with gastrointestinal issues. For example, diarrhea can be a pretty common problem for dogs, but white rice can help. It is high in starch, and it is much easier for the dog to process when it is inside the stomach.
As far as negatives are concerned, diabetic dogs should stay away from white rice. That is because it has a higher glycemic index than brown rice, and blood sugar levels can spike pretty quickly.
What are the major benefits of rice?
All types of rice are going to provide many different health benefits that allow dogs to stay healthy. Although intake needs monitoring to a certain degree, the evolution of dogs has made it so that these carnivores can get a lot from eating rice from time to time.
It might be weird to label carbohydrates as a positive and a negative, but the right amount is going to provide a good energy source for dogs. Rice is a quick way to get some carbohydrates in the dog’s body, allowing them to stay energized and enjoy playing around.
Starch comes in handy for dogs as a way to increase the chances of regular bowel movements. If a dog faces diarrhea issues regularly, starch is a bacteria that can help with that. It is an option for dogs if they are struggling in any way.
All types of rice have fiber, but brown rice is particularly good for insoluble fiber opportunities. This can help to fight against certain cancers that are troublesome to dogs.
Low in sodium
Dogs diagnosed with high blood pressure should consume more rice daily. A lot of the dog foods prescribed to those with high blood pressure will contain rice, and snacking on some rice options helps as well.
The reason why this is the case is that all rice is low in sodium. Rice, and rice plants, have diuretic properties that help to lower blood pressure effectively.
Additional vitamins and nutrients
Rice provides vitamins and nutrients such as niacin, calcium, vitamin D, iron, riboflavin, and more. A lot of these nutrients help with proper brain functioning, and it also helps to fight some more dangerous diseases later on in life. In particular, brown rice has a reputation for doing an excellent job of cutting down on the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. To keep dogs sharp, it makes sense to incorporate rice from time to time.
Watching the carbs: why rice intake needs limitations
Rice might seem like a relatively safe filler food for dogs, but making it a habit can lead to some negative consequences. Make sure that rice that is not part of their dog food is kept at a minimum, because at the end of the day, dogs are carnivores.
Rice comes filled with carbohydrates, and too much can start to pack on the pounds for dogs. Older dogs are more susceptible to this, as they do not move around and burn off the carbohydrates later on. Weight gain does not happen quickly, but eating rice consistently can lead to some gradual weight gain.
Preparing rice for dogs
The simplest way to prepare rice for dogs is to keep it simple. Unlike humans, dogs do not need rice to be flavored or seasoned. All they need is rice boiled in water, and it is ready to go. Do not think that it is too bland for them to enjoy, because they will eat it right up.
When they sneak human rice, they are inevitably going to get some spices here and there. With planned snacking, make sure to strip the rice of as much coating or flavoring as possible. That might not always be entirely possible, but it will help cut down on many potential complications.
Can dogs eat other forms of rice and rice snacks with ease?
Rice comes in so many different forms that dog owners need to know what works, and what does it. Rice, in most forms, is safe for dogs to consume, but this is a specific look at three popular options around the home.
Rice cakes are known as a pretty light, easy to eat option for humans. The same goes for dogs, but make sure that they are very lightly flavored. Dogs should have no problem chewing them up and enjoying them, but too much flavoring can cause health complications.
Fried rice is usually fine for dogs to eat, but make sure that seasoning and oils have a limit. That means that fried rice should be prepared at home, as anything ordered from a restaurant comes loaded with sodium, spices, garlic, and even some sauces. Dogs can have an adverse reaction to any of these ingredients, and it messes up their digestive system.
Rice marshmallow treats
A child favorite that the whole family can enjoy, rice marshmallow treats should stick with humans only. It is not going to hurt a dog to have a little bit of the snack, but they come filled with additional carbohydrates and sugars.
Why water is important with rice
Dogs need a balance of solid foods and water to stay as healthy as possible. It is particularly crucial with rice, as it has so much fiber in it. If a dog eats a lot of rice without any water, it could increase the chances of constipation or other similar issues.
Make sure that there is always the right amount of water available when allowing the dog to eat rice. They are usually going to be thirsty anyway, so incorporate everything to make them feel better.
A final look at rice for dogs
There is very little fear when it comes to letting a dog have any rice. Some rice options are better than others, but there are no poisoning risks or severe health issues associated with rice. It is fine for them to grab some scraps or leftovers if a human has some.
Like anything, make sure that everything is in moderation. No one wants to be in a situation where they are giving their dog too much of anything outside of their diet. If the dog already gets rice from their food, try to cut down on the amount that they eat as a snack as well.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.