Rice is a versatile ingredient that most people have tucked away in their pantries. Whether you’re serving it as a side or mixed in with a variety of fresh veggies, it’s filling and easy to customize for all tastes. If you’ve pondered the health benefits of rice for your dog, you’ll be glad to get some good news: rice is an excellent food for dogs.
Health Benefits of Rice for Dogs
Rice is a carbohydrate, so it’s a wonderful source of energy and fuel for active dogs. White rice is considered more processed, but it still gives dogs a boost in energy. Brown rice has more protein and less fat, but it does take longer to cook and it’s more expensive. White and brown rice are easy to digest, making it wonderful for older dogs who need a carbohydrate that’s easy to process. Rice is a great source of vitamins and minerals like niacin, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and riboflavin. The insoluble fiber in brown rice has been linked to protection against cancer.
Dogs with chronic diarrhea can find some relief when rice is added to their limited ingredient diet. Rice is a natural form of resistant starch. It reaches the bowel undigested and helps the good bacteria grow in the intestine. Diarrhea is sometimes caused by the death of this good bacteria, so helping it replenish will sometimes lessen the frequency or severity of diarrhea. Dogs with minor vomiting and diarrhea will find relief in a bland diet of rice and a boiled meat like chicken or hamburger. A few days of rice and boiled meat will clear minor stomach ailments up quite well.
Because it’s low in sodium, dogs suffering from high blood pressure can safely eat rice. Some vets recommend their patients with certain heart conditions eat rice as part of their diet because it offers a good source of carbs and protein without affecting their blood pressure.
Things to Consider When Feeding Your Dog Rice
Rice should always be cooked before you give it to your dog. You should also monitor how much you’re giving at once. Too much can really clog up a dog’s system, so stick with the amount your vet recommends, usually based on your dog’s side. If you opt to feed the protein-rich brown rice, keep in mind that too much protein can damage the kidneys.
There have been some cases of dogs showing allergic reaction symptoms after eating rice. Their skin becomes itchy, they develop painful hot spots, and they suffer from frequent ear infections. If you ever suspect a food allergy in your dog, immediately talk to your veterinarian about how to proceed.
The best way to prepare rice for your dog is simply boiling it. Fried rice is tasty, but the oil, garlic, and onions used in most recipes isn’t good for your dog. Serve your dog a dollop of plain, steamed rice instead.
Unlike a lot of “human foods”, rice is something that your dog can safely eat every day. Dogs of all lifestyles can benefit from regular rice consumption, so put the pot on the stove and get that water boiling!