With all the puppy formulas available on the market today, finding the best for your pooch can be overwhelming if not just confusing. Lamb-and-rice formulas have an interesting history, and most are perfectly OK for a growing pup.
Not all dog foods have as interesting a history as lamb-and-rice formulas. Once prescribed by veterinarians solely to identify food allergies in itchy pups because lamb and rice were void in most commercial dog foods, some consumers took this as a sign that lamb and rice were better ingredients to feed their dogs. Manufacturers started making claims such as "Recommended by dermatologists" and so forth. Because there are so many lamb and rice products available now, and both ingredients are frequent in dog food, vets have had to think of new foods to rule out food allergies.
Lamb vs. Lamb Meal
"Lamb" on an ingredients list is lamb meat, or parts of the lamb that humans would generally consider meat. Lamb meat has a high concentration of water -- around 80 percent. Once cooked down, it has a much lower weight. The ingredients list on dog food is often ordered before the ingredients are cooked down to remove the moisture, so "lamb" may be the first-listed ingredient even though it's not necessarily the primary ingredient by weight or volume after processing. "Lamb meal," on the other hand, is a meat concentrate. Meal is prepared by removing all the water and heating to a high temperature, resulting in much more protein content by weight. Lamb is high in protein and low in fat, making it an excellent choice of meat for dogs in general.
Not all rices are created equal. Just as it is for you, a whole-grain rice is better for dogs than white rice. Many lamb-and-rice formulas say "ground rice" as opposed to saying which type of rice. Rice isn't a bad ingredient, however, in any form. Dogs don't seem to react negatively to this grain as much as others, but its starchiness and other properties can affect your pup's blood sugar if fed in high quantities.
The other ingredients can make or break the quality of a lamb-and-rice food, just like they can with other meat formulas. Dogs get much of their energy from protein. They don't need the carbohydrate fillers in lower-quality commercial dog foods. Pups often have allergies to certain foods, particularly wheat and corn, and some pooches are sensitive to chicken. Stay away from dog foods with generic ingredients such as those that start with "animal" or "meat," and those with the word "byproduct" in them.