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Is Rice Good for Dogs?

Written by: Dr. Athena Gaffud

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Time to read 12 min

Many dog owners wonder whether it is safe to feed their dogs rice as part of their diet. We will explore the benefits and risks of feeding rice to dogs, as well as the different types of rice that are safe for them to consume.

Can Dogs Eat Rice?

a dog eating rice

Dogs can eat rice as part of their diet, but certain considerations need to be taken into account. “Chicken & White Rice is a common ingredient in many dog foods, and all foods tested were highly digestible,” (Oba, P., et al., 2019). It is essential to understand the benefits and risks associated with feeding rice to dogs.


Rice is a common ingredient in many dog foods, known for being easily digestible and providing a good source of energy. Brown rice, in particular, is a popular choice as it is whole grain and rich in fiber. When incorporating rice into a dog's diet, it's important to cook it thoroughly and avoid seasoning or additives. Moderation is key, as excessive consumption of rice can lead to weight gain or digestive issues. Some dogs may be allergic to rice, so observing any adverse reactions is crucial.

What Are the Benefits of Feeding Rice to Dogs?

Cooked rice and paddy rice on wood

Feeding rice to dogs offers several health benefits, including providing necessary carbohydrates and fiber that are beneficial for their overall well-being.


Rice is an excellent source of energy that can fuel dog's active lifestyles, helping them stay healthy and agile. The fiber content in rice aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system by promoting regular bowel movements and reducing the risk of constipation.

Its gentle nature makes it easy on the stomach, making it a suitable component for dogs with sensitive tummies or gastrointestinal issues.

Provides Carbohydrates for Energy

Carbohydrates in rice serve as a vital source of energy for dogs, supporting their daily activities and metabolic functions. “Rice has higher digestibilities of crude carbohydrate and gross energy than other cereals, providing a vital source of energy for dogs,” (Kempe, R., et al., 2008).


Rice not only provides essential energy but also plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy digestion and the overall well-being of dogs. The complex carbohydrates found in rice are easily digestible, preventing digestive issues and ensuring proper nutrient absorption.


By incorporating rice into a dog's diet, owners can help maintain stable blood sugar levels and provide a steady source of energy throughout the day. This sustained energy release is particularly advantageous for active dogs or those engaged in rigorous physical activities, optimizing their performance and endurance.

Contains Fiber for Digestive Health

The fiber content in rice aids in maintaining digestive health in dogs by promoting regular bowel movements and supporting gut flora. “Alternative fiber sources, such as corn fiber, rice bran, and barley, are suitable ingredients in pet foods, providing nutritional benefits and potential nutraceutical properties,” (Godoy, et al., 2013). Fiber plays a crucial role in a dog's diet as it helps prevent constipation and diarrhea by regulating stool consistency.


Fiber also assists in weight management by promoting a feeling of fullness and reducing overeating. When included in proper amounts, fiber can improve digestive regularity and prevent gastrointestinal issues in dogs. “Fermentable fiber in canine diets may contribute to obesity prevention or mitigation through its effects on satiety,” (Bosch, G., et al., 2009). 


Plus rice, and other sources of fiber such as fruits, vegetables, and grains can also contribute to a balanced diet for dogs, ensuring overall wellness and vitality. By incorporating fiber-rich foods like rice, pet owners can help maintain their dog’s digestive system in optimal condition.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Rice consumption in dogs has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, contributing to improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk of related conditions.


Studies have shown that incorporating rice into a dog's diet can help regulate cholesterol levels, which ultimately supports their overall well-being. The fiber content in rice aids in the digestion process and can assist in reducing unhealthy fats in the bloodstream. By controlling cholesterol levels, rice plays a vital role in preventing heart diseases in dogs. “Germinated brown rice improves lipid parameters and reduces cardiovascular disease risk,” (Imam, M., et al., 2014).


It's important to note that while rice can be beneficial, portion control and a balanced diet are essential in maintaining a healthy cholesterol profile for your furry friend.

Helps with Weight Management

Incorporating rice into a dog's diet can assist in weight management by providing a filling yet low-fat source of nutrition, aiding in portion control and satiety. “Dodamssal rice, a high-content resistant starch ingredient, has a positive effect on weight loss in dogs and has potential value as a raw ingredient for preventing obesity,” (Seo, K., et al., 2022).


Rice, being a complex carbohydrate, releases energy slowly, helping dogs feel full and satisfied for longer periods, reducing the urge to overeat.


Rice contains essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, supporting overall dog health while managing weight. Its bland nature makes it gentle on the digestive system, ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs.


By substituting high-calorie ingredients with rice, dogs can enjoy a balanced diet without exceeding their caloric needs, fostering a healthy weight and active lifestyle.

What Are the Risks of Feeding Rice to Dogs?

 

While rice can offer benefits, there are potential risks associated with feeding it to dogs, such as allergies, arsenic content, and digestive concerns that pet owners should be aware of.

For some dogs, rice can trigger allergic reactions, leading to symptoms like itching, gastrointestinal upset, or even skin issues.

Certain types of rice may contain higher levels of arsenic, a toxic substance that can build up in the body over time. 

 

This accumulation of arsenic may pose health risks to dogs, especially when consumed regularly as part of their diet.

The high carbohydrate content in rice can sometimes lead to digestive issues in dogs, particularly those with sensitive stomachs or prone to gastrointestinal disturbances. Some dogs may experience bloating, gas, or diarrhea when consuming rice in large quantities.

Rice Allergies in Dogs

itchy dog

Some dogs may develop allergies to rice, leading to adverse reactions such as itching, digestive issues, or skin problems.


Rice allergies in dogs are not as common as other food allergies, but they do occur in some canine companions. Owners need to be vigilant for signs that their dogs are reacting negatively to rice consumption.


Common symptoms of rice allergies in dogs include persistent itching, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, and skin issues.


Dietary management plays a crucial role in addressing rice allergies in dogs. Switching to hypoallergenic dog food or grain-free options may help alleviate symptoms and improve the overall health of the dog.


Brown rice is a common food allergen for dogs with atopic dermatitis, along with other food items like chicken, turkey, and brewer's yeast,” (Kang, M., et al., 2014).

Rice Can Be High in Arsenic

Certain types of rice can contain high levels of arsenic, posing health risks for dogs if consumed regularly or in large quantities. “Rice high in arsenic is dominated by dimethyl arsinic acid (DMA), and the DMA rice type is likely to be less of a health risk than the Inorganic As rice type,” (Zavala, Y., et al., 2008).


Arsenic is a natural element found in soil and water, which can be absorbed by rice plants during their growth. When dogs ingest arsenic through contaminated rice, it can lead to various health issues such as digestive problems, organ damage, and even an increased risk of cancer over time. “Rice accumulates 10-fold higher inorganic arsenic (i-As), an established carcinogen, than other grains,” (Davis, M., et al., 2017).


To mitigate these risks, pet owners should opt for low-arsenic rice varieties and feed it to their dogs in moderation. Choosing rice from regions known for lower arsenic levels or opting for alternative grains can also help reduce the exposure of dogs to this toxic element.

Rice Can Cause Digestive Issues

In some cases, rice consumption by dogs may lead to digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea, necessitating careful monitoring and adjustment of their diet.


These digestive challenges are often a result of dogs struggling to digest certain components in rice, such as gluten or excess fiber, leading to discomfort and upset stomachs. Pet owners must recognize the symptoms of digestive distress, which include lethargy, vomiting, and changes in stool consistency.


To prevent these issues, one should gradually introduce rice into a dog's diet to assess tolerance levels. Additionally, consulting a veterinarian for professional advice on suitable portions and alternative grains can help minimize the risk of digestive upset.

What Types of Rice Are Safe for Dogs?

Different Types of Rice

When considering rice for dogs, it is important to choose safe varieties such as white rice or brown rice, which offer different nutritional profiles and benefits for canine consumption.


White rice is an easily digestible carbohydrate source that can provide quick energy for dogs, making it a suitable option for those with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues. On the other hand, brown rice is a whole grain that contains more fiber and nutrients compared to white rice, offering additional health benefits for your dog.


Both types of rice are considered safe for dogs when cooked plain without any seasonings or additives. It is recommended to feed rice in moderation as part of a balanced diet, as excessive consumption leads to weight gain or digestive disturbances.

White Rice

White rice is a commonly recommended option for dogs due to its mild flavor, digestibility, and low allergenic potential, making it a suitable choice for sensitive stomachs.


Its bland nature is gentle on the digestive system, providing a source of easily digestible carbohydrates that help soothe upset stomachs. White rice is also versatile, making it a great base for a variety of dog-friendly meals. With its simple composition, it is less likely to trigger allergic reactions in dogs with food sensitivities, offering a safe and well-tolerated option for dietary management.

white rice

Brown Rice

Brown rice offers dogs additional nutrients and fiber compared to white rice, contributing to enhanced digestive health and overall nutritional value in their diet.


Brown rice, being a whole grain, is packed with essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals, that are beneficial for a dog's well-being. The fiber content in brown rice helps in regulating bowel movements and promotes a healthy digestive system, making it an ideal choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs. The nutrient density of brown rice provides sustained energy levels and supports a balanced diet for your canine companion.

cooked brown rice

Basmati Rice

Basmati rice can be a suitable alternative for dogs, offering a unique flavor profile and moderate digestibility, providing a diverse option for their dietary needs.


One of the distinctive features of Basmati rice is its fragrant aroma, which can entice even the pickiest eaters among our furry companions. Dogs are known for their sensitive noses, so the enticing smell of Basmati rice can make mealtime more enjoyable for them. This aromatic quality can stimulate their appetite, ensuring they get the necessary nutrition from their meals. Due to its digestible nature, Basmati rice is gentle on a dog's stomach, making it a suitable choice for those with sensitive digestive systems.

cooked basmati rice

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice, known for its fragrant aroma and slightly sticky texture, can be a palatable choice for dogs, offering a different sensory experience in their diet.


Jasmine rice, with its delicate floral scent and tender grains, can provide a welcomed change in taste for discerning canine palates. The aromatic profile of this rice variety adds a layer of complexity to the overall eating experience for dogs, making meal times more enticing. The slightly sticky texture of Jasmine rice can appeal to dogs that prefer a bit of chewiness in their food, satisfying both their taste buds and natural chewing instincts. This makes it an excellent option for picky eaters among our four-legged friends.

cooked jasmine rice

How Should Rice Be Prepared for Dogs?

boiled rice

Proper preparation of rice for dogs is essential to ensure optimal digestibility and nutrient retention, requiring considerations such as cooking methods and seasoning restrictions.


Regarding cooking rice for dogs, it is recommended to opt for simple preparation methods such as boiling or steaming, as these techniques help preserve the nutritional content of the rice.


Portioning is also crucial, with the general guideline suggesting that rice should make up no more than 10-15% of a dog's daily caloric intake. While seasoning can enhance the flavor, it is important to avoid additives like salt, garlic, or onion, which can be harmful to dogs. Plain, cooked rice offers a bland yet nutritious base for canine meals, making it a safe and easy addition to their diet.

Can Rice Be Part of a Balanced Diet for Dogs?

 

Rice can be a component of a balanced diet for dogs when incorporated in appropriate quantities alongside other essential nutrients, ensuring nutritional adequacy and dietary diversity.

When considering the inclusion of rice in a canine diet, portion control plays a crucial role.

It is important to balance the amount of rice with protein sources and vegetables to prevent overconsumption of carbohydrates, which may lead to weight gain and other health issues.

 

Moreover, rice can provide energy and fiber to support digestion in dogs, especially when complemented with high-quality proteins and fats. Ensuring a varied diet with different sources of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is key to meeting the unique dietary requirements of dogs. 

By incorporating a variety of ingredients alongside rice, pet owners can help their furry companions maintain optimal health and well-being.

Rice and Beef Organ Meats for Dogs

rice and chicken liver

Combining rice with beef organ meats can offer dogs a well-rounded meal rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, catering to their dietary requirements for optimal health.


When dogs consume beef organ meats along with rice, they benefit from a diverse array of nutrients essential for their overall well-being. Beef organ meats, such as liver or kidney, are packed with high-quality proteins , vitamins like A, B12, and minerals like iron and zinc.


These nutrients work in synergy with the carbohydrates and fiber provided by the rice, creating a balanced and nutritious meal. This combination supports the dog's muscle development, immune system, and energy levels, ensuring they remain healthy and active.


Commercially available beef organ meat supplements such as Primal-Vitality Beef Organ Complex can also be added as a food topper to a dog’s regular diet.

Conclusion: Is Rice Good for Dogs?

In conclusion, rice is good for dogs and can be a valuable addition to a dog's diet when chosen and prepared thoughtfully, offering various health benefits while necessitating awareness of potential risks for optimal canine nutrition.


Rice is often included in commercial dog food due to its digestibility and energy-providing qualities. It is a good source of carbohydrates, providing sustained energy for active dogs. It can be beneficial for dogs with certain digestive issues or food sensitivities, as it is gentle on the stomach.


It's essential to remember that rice should always be served cooked and plain, without any added seasoning or spices that may be harmful to dogs. As with any new food introduced to a dog's diet, moderation and observation are key to ensuring it is well-tolerated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is rice safe for dogs to eat?

Yes, rice is generally safe for dogs to eat in moderation. It can provide them with some nutritional benefits, but it should not be a main component of their diet.

What are the benefits of feeding rice to dogs?

Feeding rice to dogs can help provide them with energy, aid in digestion, and help with weight management. It is also a good source of carbohydrates and can be easily digested by most dogs.

Are there any risks to feeding rice to dogs?

If fed in excess, rice can lead to obesity in dogs. It is also important to ensure that your dog is not allergic to rice before adding it to their diet.

Can I feed my dog any type of rice?

While white rice is generally recommended for dogs, brown rice is also a good option as it contains more nutritional value. Avoid feeding your dog seasoned or flavored rice, as these can contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs.

How much rice should I feed my dog?

Rice should only make up a small portion of your dog's diet. It is recommended to only feed 10-15% of their daily food intake as rice.

Can rice be beneficial for dogs with certain health issues?

Rice can be beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues, but it is important to consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to their diet.

Dr. Athena Gaffud, DVM

Author: Dr. Athena Gaffud

Dr. Athena is a seasoned, board-certified veterinarian with comprehensive expertise in general practice, veterinary medicine, laboratory operations, and veterinary writing. She is passionate about animals and holistic health. 

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