Dogs tolerate certain people foods well, and others they should be kept away from. Whether you're supplementing commercial food or going for a fully homemade doggie diet, a small amount of brown rice can be healthy as long as you make sure your puppy's protein requirements are met first. The carbs in the rice can keep your puppy's energy level high while helping him digest his food.
Puppies need lots of protein in their diets to help their muscles and organs develop and grow correctly. According to the National Research Council, a puppy that will weigh 33 pounds when grown needs 56 grams of protein per day. Compare the puppy with the fully grown 33-pound dog, who only needs 25 grams. That means the majority of your puppy's diet should come from protein, but you should balance that out with carbohydrates such as brown rice -- keep the carbs below 30 percent of a puppy's diet so he doesn't get full before getting enough protein.
Brown rice helps your puppy feel full, which is especially helpful if you have a puppy who can't seem to get enough. The hulls of brown rice provide fiber for your pup, helping his digestive system -- which is still new and getting used to solid food -- process the food correctly. This fiber gives him that full feeling and helps him develop a regular schedule to do his business of the No. 2 kind.
Brown vs. White
Brown rice is slightly higher in protein than white rice, although by no means does it have enough protein to replace meat-based food. It's also a bit lower in fat. Brown rice is a better source of fiber than white rice, making it an ideal choice for a puppy who has constipation. But white rice is gentler on the stomach, making it a better choice for a puppy with diarrhea or vomiting -- it's easily digestible, helping calm an upset stomach. Check with your vet if your pup is having digestive issues to see which rice might work best.
Definitive research is lacking regarding how dangerous arsenic is for canines. But it's dangerous to humans, increasing risk of cancer and other health problems. Many foods we and dogs ingest have small amounts of arsenic, sometimes even our water. Consumers Union tested white and brown rice grown in a variety of locations to determine arsenic content; brown rice had a higher average concentration than white. While it's unlikely you can completely eliminate arsenic from your puppy's diet, giving him only one small serving of rice per day can limit his exposure, according to "Consumer Reports." Check with your vet to determine how much rice is safe for your pup.
- National Academies of Science: Your Dog's Nutritional Needs
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Nutritional Requirements and Related Diseases
- Consumer Reports: Arsenic in Your Food
- ASPCA: Nutrients Your Dog Needs
- Modern Dog Magazine: 10 More "People" Food for Dogs
- petMD: Carbohydrates: Key to a Balanced Dog Food
- Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images