Rice is a staple for people around the world – it is, statistically, one of the most widely consumed grains in the world. It’s everywhere. It’s only natural for us dog lovers to wonder if it’s OK for dogs to eat rice.
The short answer is, yes, it’s fine. In fact, rice is often found in commercial dog food.
Of course, as with everything else, there are aspects to consider so read on for more info.
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A bit about rice
Over 3.5B people rely on rice to provide 20% or more of the daily caloric intake. In poor and developing nations, that amount skyrockets to over 50% of their daily intake.
Although white rice carries far fewer nutritional benefits, other types of rice (covered below) are packed with nutrients to keep you and your dog healthy and fit.
Let’s start by saying that when it comes to rice, dogs should only eat cooked rice. We cover uncooked rice below (which they should not eat).
While most dog owners are content with pouring out a bag of kibble, and most dogs are just as content to eat that kibble, some prefer to make their own dog food. There are also times you’ll want to augment your dog’s meals with rice – most often to help if your dog’s gut isn’t feeling too well.
When making your own dog food, rice is almost always an ingredient.
As mentioned, feeding your sick dog rice is recommended when they have an upset stomach as a part of a bland diet. Bland diets, with rice, are often recommended for dogs that are sick, have diarrhea, etc.
White Rice has a high carbohydrate count and is easy to digest, so for dogs with upset digestive systems, it forms the basis for a good meal to keep them nourished while avoiding anything that could cause your dog’s upset tummy to worsen.
Feeding your dog just a big bowl of rice is one approach but leaves a bit to be desired from an overall taste perspective. And keep in mind a “big bowl of rice” should never be your goal – your dog should not usually be on a strict rice diet unless prescribed by your vet.
To jazz it up a bit for your pooch, you can mix rice with broth, chicken, fish, lean meat, meaty bones, beans, and even different vegetables. We share more tips for dressing up rice and making it more palatable near the end of this article.
Quick summary – yes, dogs can eat rice (cooked rice).
Here is where we depart from the standard “sure, dogs can have rice” guidance. Dogs should not eat uncooked rice.
What is the standard advice when you drop your phone into water? Bury it in rice for a day or two, right? That’s because rice acts as a kind of desiccant, absorbing whatever moisture is around.
This happens in your dog’s stomach too, where there is plenty of water to absorb. The problem is there’s a good chance the rice will absorb too much water and rice tends to expand as it absorbs moisture.
The result can be a dehydrated pooch with a very, very full belly. This will depend on how much rice was eaten, of course.
You’ll want to ensure you have some water available for your dog to drink so it doesn’t get dehydrated. At the same time, understand that this may cause bouts of indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation. Different dogs will show different outcomes so be on the watch for anything unusual.
It’s important to determine how much rice your dog ate. Was it a couple of pieces? Was it a half-cup? Did they eat the whole bag? If you deem it’s a lot of rice for the size of the dog, it’s best to talk to your vet. If it was just a few pieces, there’s likely nothing for you to worry about. If you are unsure, call your vet.
Quick summary: Dogs should not eat uncooked rice.
For dogs with digestive distress, such as diarrhea, we don’t want to feed them brown rice. In these situations, we opt for white rice instead as it’s lower in fiber, is easier to digest, and has higher starch content, which helps with digestive issues.
Can dogs eat brown rice?
Yes, dogs can eat brown rice. Brown rice is less processed and contains a shell that must be digested before the nutrition can be obtained. On the whole, it has more fiber and protein than white rice and has less starch. Often, in dogs with digestive issues, brown rice will get through the digestive system before breaking down for its nutritional value.
Can dogs eat white rice?
Yes, dogs can eat white rice. White rice is much easier to process, so it works better with dogs that have diarrhea, for example. White rice has no seed coat, so the nutrients in the brown rice seed coating are not present in white rice.
Dogs can eat either brown rice or white rice, but the occasions you feed them each can change.
Here’s a popular chicken and brown rice homemade dog food recipe
Despite the fancy name, Jasmine rice is still just rice but is a longer rice grain and tends to be more aromatic when cooked.
Everything said earlier about dogs eating rice applies to jasmine rice.
Similar to jasmine rice is basmati rice. The appearance is similar, although with a more yellow color to it and gives a nuttier taste.
A side benefit of the long grain rice is that they tend to be lower on the glycemic index, so they will not raise blood sugar as much or as quickly as other rice. For human or canine diabetes, this is important and can impact your dog’s health.
Jasmine rice is not toxic to dogs.
Is jasmine rice ok for dogs?
Yes, it’s perfectly fine. Dogs can eat jasmine rice. Don’t overdo it – moderation is key.
Dogs should not eat uncooked jasmine rice or any uncooked rice. If they do, find out how much and call the vet if you feel it was too much given your dog’s size. Also, call the vet if you are unsure. See the section on uncooked rice above.
Here’s a quick recipe for “Rice Congee” using jasmine rice. This is a great meal for a dog that is malnourished or having digestive issues:
- 1 cup of Thai jasmine rice
- 3 cups of water
- Boil and then let it simmer until the rice has absorbed all of the water
This is a basic recipe that you can then add chicken, pumpkin meat, yams, or other foods to help a malnourished dog. But keep those three steps handy as a basis for building a more substantial meal when needed.
Red rice has somewhat stolen the “which rice is most nutritious” crown from brown rice. Red rice reportedly has 10 times the antioxidants of brown rice and is digested and processed by our (and our dog’s) digestive systems in the same way.
The earlier information shared about other rice types applies to red rice.
Red rice is not toxic for dogs.
Yes, dogs can eat red rice in moderation. It should not take the place of your dog’s regular diet.
No, dogs should not eat uncooked red rice. If they do, find out how much and call the vet if you feel it was too much given your dog’s size. Also, call the vet if you are unsure. See the section on uncooked rice above.
For a good bland diet using red rice, you can combine cooked red rice with chicken broth, boiled chicken, and perhaps a yam or two. This should help alleviate digestive distress for your furry friend.
As always, consult your vet if the situation doesn’t improve.
In ancient China, black rice was called “forbidden rice” because it was so tasty and nutritious, only royalty could eat it. ‘
Times have changed. Now we can give it to our dogs.
I don’t know about you, but with my dogs eating it, it should still be called “forbidden rice” as they are certainly royalty.
In terms of overall nutrition, black rice and red rice are about neck-and-neck. Both are excellent, but each excels in different areas.
You’ll see references to “purple” rice which is essentially black rice. It sometimes transitions to a purple color as it’s cooked.
There is also Thai Jasmine black rice so a bit of a mixture between this and the Jasmine rice section above.
The short story is, black rice is extremely nutritious and, as with the other rice, is OK for your dog to eat.
Black rice is non-toxic for dogs.
Your dog can eat black rice in moderation. Black rice, or any rice, should not take the place of your dog’s everyday meals.
Your dog should not eat any uncooked rice, including uncooked black rice. If they do, find out how much and call the vet if you feel it was too much given your dog’s size. Also, call the vet if you are unsure. See the section on uncooked rice above.
You may be able to accuse me of cheating a bit here – Quinoa is not rice. But, enough folks think of it as rice-like or use it as a substitute for rice that I felt it appropriate to add to this article.
Quinoa is, hands down, a super-food.
Quinoa is packed with vitamins and nutrients, including dietary fiber, Vitamin E, B vitamins, complex carbohydrates, protein, essential amino acids, calcium, and a host of other important nutrients.
The benefits of quinoa for your dog range from improving their skin, coat, and teeth due to vitamins to improving metabolism and increasing brain function.
So much nutrition packed into a tiny package.
Quinoa is actually a seed rather than a grain, but it has a texture similar to rice when cooked.
I won’t cover the quinoa variants here since there are about 1,800 of them. In general, you’ll see all colors of quinoa seeds and multiple variations of each.
Concerning the health benefits, it’s actually appropriate to say quinoa has a lot of everything good for you, literally.
But what about quinoa for dogs? Is it too much of a good thing? Should dogs eat quinoa?
Quinoa is safe for dogs and, in fact, you’ll find it as an ingredient in high-end commercial pet food.
It’s important to note quinoa contains oxalates, which can cause digestive issues for some dogs and increase inflammation. So for an arthritic dog, quinoa may not be a good choice.
As with any new food, start with small amounts and look for any unusual reactions such as lethargy, drooling, vomit, etc.
So the short answer is yes, it’s fine for your dog to eat quinoa.
Quinoa is non-toxic for dogs.
Dogs can eat quinoa, but it should not replace their everyday meals and diet.
As with rice, dogs should not eat uncooked quinoa. The reasons are a bit different here, though. Since quinoa is a seed, quinoa can be subjected to chemicals, etc. Quinoa also produces Saponin to protect itself from insects and could be toxic to dogs. Washing and cooking ensure the quinoa is safe for your dog.
If your dog does get ahold of some uncooked quinoa, find out how much and call the vet if you feel it was too much, given the size of your dog. Also, call the vet if you are unsure.
What can I add to rice to make it healthier and tastier for my dogs?
Peanut butter and rice
Yep, peanut butter. It sounds weird, and you and I would probably never eat it, but your dog will love it.
Make sure you use healthy, low salt peanut butter. Mix in some beneficial forms of rice, and you have a great little treat. Don’t make it a meal, but as a treat, peanut butter rice balls are great.
Canned pumpkin and rice
Around the holidays, share the festive spirit with your pooch. Mix a little meat from a pumpkin in boiled rice for a nice gruel your dog will love. Pumpkin meat has tons of nutrients and vitamins and is quite healthy for your dog.
Cauliflower and rice
Cauliflower and rice is a power-packed snack. Cauliflower has high in fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and other nutrients.
Mixing some boiled rice and cauliflower makes for a great treat for you and your pooch!
Cooked potato and rice
Never feed your dog raw potatoes as they contain a compound that is toxic to dogs called Solanine. However, cooking potatoes gets rid of the Solanine, and then you have a healthy treat for your pup. Since the skin can be difficult to digest, we recommend peeling the potatoes as well.
Mix in some cooked rice, and your pup will love you even more.
Cooked chicken and rice
We know dogs can eat chicken – so mix a bowl of cooked rice and, again, you have a healthy snack for yourself and your puppy! Note the chicken and rice is also a standard meal for dogs requiring a bland diet. This can also cause your dog to have orange poop.
Cooked sweet potato
As with potatoes, they should be peeled and cooked before feeding to dogs. Once this is done, mixing with some cooked rice makes a great treat for your four-legged friend.
Here’s a couple of links that will take you to sites where you can do a bit more research on dog diets and such:
Rice and Dogs – a few more questions
Can I feed my dog rice every day?
Given the contents of a lot of commercial dog food, there’s a good chance your dog is already eating rice every day. But should you feed your dog rice every day? there’s nothing wrong with that as long as the rice isn’t taking the place of the regular meal where your dog gets most of its nutrition.
If I had to choose only one rice, which should it be?
The good news is all forms of rice are relatively inexpensive, so choosing only one usually isn’t necessary. But, if you had to choose one, we’d go with quinoa due to its wide range of benefits. Quinoa is truly a superfood and is great for your dog.
Can dogs eat uncooked rice?
No, never. We have a specific section devoted to this.
Can dogs eat wild rice?
Yes, dogs can eat wild rice. The information shared in this article is the same for the variations you’ll find for wild rice.
Can dogs eat rice cakes?
Yes, dogs can eat rice cakes but preferably without the peanut butter, chocolate, sugar, cream cheese, etc…stuff that we put on them. By themselves, they are a great snack. Just be careful about what you put on them (for you and your dog!)
Does a diet of chicken and rice meet the dietary needs of a dog?
Not entirely. Chicken and rice are great when a bland diet is needed, but you should get back to feeding your dog’s regular dog food as quickly as possible.
Can your dog eat rice mix in your dry dog food every day?
A small mixture is fine but keep in mind that your dog should get the vast majority of its calories from its regular dog food diet, not snacks or special meals.
Can dogs have rice: Conclusion
For the dog lovers among us, and if you read this far I count you, it’s nice to know that we can share rice with our furry friends. All forms of rice are safe (when cooked), and many are extremely healthy. Rice should not take the place of your dog’s regular diet, however, so make these meals or snacks special and infrequent unless directed by your vet otherwise.
We often hear “can dogs eat [fill in the blank]” so we are working on a series of articles to discuss these topics. Please see our additional articles on our main dog health page.
Also for a more information overview about what your dog should and should not eat, be sure to take a look at our “Can dogs eat…” article where we cover over 80 different items.