For more than a thousand years, rice has been a staple food for humans. And not just that, the commercial dog food you buy for your pooch may also contain rice. In fact, if your pet has ever fallen sick, their veterinarian might have recommended a bland diet of white rice.
This is because white rice has multiple benefits for a dog’s health - it’s easy to digest and can even help to improve their digestive health.
But what about brown rice? A lot of people suggest that it’s a healthier alternative to white rice. But is it safe for your dog? Let’s find out…
Can Dogs Eat Brown Rice?
The short answer is yes! Brown rice can be a safe and healthy supplement for your dog. It contains vitamin B and D that can support your dog’s metabolism and heart health, calcium and phosphorus that can help maintain strong bones, teeth, and ligaments, and magnesium which helps support muscle movement and energy production.
Brown rice also contains selenium which is an essential trace element that’s involved in thyroid function, reproduction, and antioxidant protection. It even contains manganese that can protect your dog’s body against free radicals.
Apart from these nutritional benefits, let’s also discuss 6 other amazing benefits of adding brown rice to your dog’s diet.
1. Lower glycemic index
When compared to white rice, brown rice has a lower glycemic index. Hence it might be a better option for dogs who suffer from diabetes. Because low glycemic foods can help in reducing excess body weight and blood sugar. These may even help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
2. Contains digestible carbohydrates
Your dog needs carbs to fuel their body’s energy. The carbohydrates present in brown rice can help boost your dog's energy and improve cognitive functions.
3. Less processed
Brown rice is a whole grain which means it's less refined and less processed than white rice. It contains every part of the grain including the fibrous bran, the nutritious germ, and the carb-rich endosperm.
If your dog suffers from sensitivities or allergies to gluten or other grains like corn or wheat, then brown rice might be a great option for them. It’s a gluten-free food, which can help your dog stay healthy and energetic.
5. Can be good for weight loss
Brown rice contains relatively few calories and is high in fiber. It can help your dog feel full and shed some extra pounds. But it should be served in moderation. Brown rice also contains carbohydrates, hence overconsumption can have the opposite effect on your dog’s body.
6. Might help relieve constipation
Brown rice generally contains higher levels of insoluble fiber than white rice. By adding it to your dog’s diet you can increase their fiber intake which might help treat constipation.
Although if your dog is suffering from diarrhea, you can add more soluble fiber to their diet or consult your veterinarian.
Brown Rice vs White Rice: Which One is Better for Dogs?
As mentioned above brown rice is a whole grain consisting of the bran layer that constitutes its tan or brown color.
White rice is the same grain without the outer hull, bran, and germ layer. It’s made by a process of milling that cleans, shells, and removes the bran layer from the brown rice.
This process alters the taste and texture of the white rice and helps prevent spoilage by extending its storage life. The downside of this process is that it also removes various nutrients, for example, the removal of the bran layer makes the white rice lose some dietary fiber, fatty acids, and magnesium.
White rice contains slightly higher calories and carbohydrates than brown rice. It also contains less nutrient value as compared to brown rice. Another difference between the two is that brown rice contains more fiber content because of the bran layer that remains intact.
When to feed your dog brown rice?
Brown rice is a more nutritious and fibrous food option compared to white rice. Hence if you’re looking to add a supplement to your dog’s diet that’ll provide more fiber while still being low calorie, then brown rice might be a good option for your dog.
Due to its gluten-free nature, brown rice is also quite popular amongst pet owners whose dogs suffer from sensitivities and allergies. It can also be a great supplement for dogs that have high blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels. The insoluble fibers in brown rice can also help treat constipation.
When not to feed your dog brown rice?
The bran layer present in the brown rice makes it harder to digest when compared to white rice. Hence it’s not advisable to serve home-cooked brown rice to your dog when they have a sensitive stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, or nausea.
Additionally, if your dog suffers from any other health issues, you should consult a veterinarian before feeding home-cooked brown rice to your dog.
When to feed your dog white rice?
Many vets may recommend serving plain white rice to help treat diarrhea. It contains soluble fibers and more starch than brown rice which can help bind the stool and calm the gut of your dog.
White rice also contains higher-calorie content compared to brown rice, hence it can lead to weight gain. If your dog is overweight or is trying to lose weight, you should avoid white rice.
Furthermore, it contains a higher glycemic index which can lead to a rise in blood sugar. If your dog suffers from diabetes or heart disease, you would want to choose brown rice over white rice or you can consult your veterinarian.
How to Add Brown Rice to Your Dog’s Diet?
Let’s discuss the right portion sizes and methods of preparing brown rice for a dog…
The Right Portion Size
Brown rice is nutritious as it contains every part of the grain including the fibrous bran, the nutritious germ, and the carb-rich endosperm. It also contains carbohydrates and calories but lower than white rice. Thus it’s important that you serve it in moderation and only as a supplement to a complete and well-balanced diet.
The exact portion size will depend on your dog's age, weight, and breed. But ideally, the serving size should fall in the 10% Treat Rule. The calories your dog gets from brown rice shouldn’t exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calorie amount.
Many dog food brands use rice or some other grain in their recipes. You’ll have to take this into consideration before introducing brown rice to your dog's diet. Excess intake of rice can significantly increase their fiber intake which could cause multiple health problems.
Furthermore, overconsumption of brown rice can increase your dog’s carbohydrates intake which could lead to weight gain. Feeding the right portions of brown rice will ensure your dog gets all the nutrients without packing on extra pounds.
Cooking Brown Rice for Dogs
You should never feed your dog raw brown rice. It’s a whole grain that retains the bran layer which makes it harder to digest. Hence it’s important to properly cook the brown rice before feeding it to your dog.
Start with cleaning the brown rice with water to remove excess starch. Then add some water and brown rice to a large pot and bring it to a boil. Due to the tougher outer layer, brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice.
Remember while cooking rice don’t add any spices or seasoning like salt, pepper, oil, butter, cumin, soy sauce, herbs, etc. These ingredients aren’t safe for dogs and can cause multiple health problems.
But if your dog is a fussy eater and refuses to eat rice on its own, you can mix it with their existing meal to make it more appealing.
Brown Rice For Puppies
You can feed your puppy brown rice but in moderation. Remember they need a lot of protein for the growth and development of their muscles and organs. Hence a majority of their diet needs to be protein-based and well-balanced. Brown rice should only be served as a supplement.
You can cook brown rice for a puppy in the same way as mentioned above. But if you’re worried that brown rice will be hard to digest by a puppy, you can slightly mash cooked rice to make it even easier to chew.
If you feed brown rice to your puppy correctly, it can help in keeping their energy level high and support their overall well-being.
Precautions To Take While Feeding Brown Rice to a Dog
If you're introducing brown rice to your dog, then you should take certain precautions to ensure they can reap maximum benefits while avoiding health issues.
1. Allergic reaction
Rice is a grain and in a rare case, your dog can be allergic to it. Even if they weren’t before, a dog can develop allergies at any point in their life.
If your dog has an allergic reaction to brown rice you might see symptoms like itchy skin, hair loss, vomiting, skin rashes, or ear infections. It's best to consult your veterinarian to determine whether your dog suffers from a rice allergy or not.
2. Serve only plain rice
While preparing brown rice for your dog avoid adding spices or seasonings including butter, salt, oil, etc. Also do not feed fried rice to your dog. It contains a lot of sodium, spices, sauce, and garlic. All these ingredients can cause serious trouble for a dog.
3. Track the carbs intake
Brown rice is packed with carbohydrates. The dog food you buy from the store to feed your dog also contains carbohydrates. And while your dog needs some healthy amount of carbs to fuel their energy and growth, overconsumption can lead to weight gain and other health issues.
To avoid this keep track of their total carbs intake and consult a veterinarian to discuss all your dog's nutritional requirements.
4. Feed brown rice as a supplement
Brown rice should never substitute or replace a complete and well-balanced diet. It’s made with mostly carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins but contains little protein which needs to be balanced with protein from other ingredients for a complete and well-balanced diet.
If you fail to balance their diet or feed them too much brown rice it can cause nutritional deficiencies leading to many other health problems in your dog.
Summing Up: Can Dogs Eat Brown Rice?
Brown rice is a good choice to supplement with your dog's diet. It’s packed with high-quality nutrients that can help your dog feel more satisfied after eating. The digestible carbohydrates can boost their energy level keeping them healthy and active throughout the day.
Just remember the right portion sizes and avoid adding harmful ingredients like butter, oil, or any other spices.
If you have any further questions, you can consult a veterinarian before adding brown rice to your dog's diet.
1. Can a dog eat brown rice for an upset stomach?
It depends, if the upset stomach is due to constipation then brown rice would be a better option as it contains higher levels of insoluble fiber than white rice. But if your dog has an upset stomach due to diarrhea, the soluble fibers and starch content in white rice will help in binding their stool and calm their gut.
2. Is rice a filler ingredient?
Filler is an ingredient present in dog food to add bulk to a diet without adding any nutritional value. Whereas brown rice has many nutritional benefits as it contains vitamin B and D, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and manganese.
3. Can a dog eat brown rice when sick?
Vitamins and minerals present in brown rice might be able to prevent a lot of health issues in your dog. But whether or not you should feed brown rice to your dog when they’re sick will depend on what kind of sickness they are suffering from. You should consult a veterinarian about your dog's diet when they’re sick.
4. Can a dog eat brown rice for diarrhea?
If your dog has diarrhea they might benefit more from adding white rice to their diet. The soluble fiber and starch present in white rice can help bind the stool and calm the gut of your dog. Many veterinarians might recommend feeding cooked white rice to your dog when they have diarrhea.
5. Can a dog eat brown rice for constipation?
Yes, brown rice contains high levels of insoluble fiber that can help treat constipation.
6. What can dogs eat with brown rice?
You can feed brown rice to a dog on its own or you can mix it with their existing meal to make it more appealing.
7. How much brown rice can dogs eat?
It mostly depends on a dog’s size, age, weight, and breed. Ideally, you should follow the 10% Treat Rule which states that the calories your dog gets from brown rice shouldn’t exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calorie amount.