Is White Rice Bad for Dogs?

by Debra Levy
White rice is easily digestable.

White rice is easily digestable.

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Omnivores, dogs eat both meats and nonmeats, including fruits and vegetables and a variety of grains. Some dog owners buy dog foods that contain rice as an ingredient, while others add rice as a supplement to the staple diet because it is easily digestible. White rice is a handy staple for easing diarrhea. A "rice only" diet, though, would not provide enough essential nutrients -- and the bounty of carbs would cause your pet to put on extra weight.

Rice: Brown vs. White

You can add brown or white rice to your dog's diet. While brown rice provides more protein and less fat; it is more expensive; it is chewier; and it takes almost twice as long to cook. White rice cooks almost instantly and is the best choice when treating a dog's upset stomach. Additionally, since white rice is easy to chew, it can be a solid source of energy for older dogs when added to regular dog food.

Doggy Diarrhea: Rice to the Rescue

Doggie diarrhea -- smelly, pudding-like stool -- is a common complaint in the vet's office. Diarrhea is not a disease, it's a symptom of illness in the gastrointestinal tract and often occurs because your dog has eaten something that didn't agree with him or because of stress. If your dog has diarrhea, adding rice -- brown or white -- to his diet can help absorb the extra fluid in his gastrointestinal tract, easing his condition.

When to Call the Vet

Diarrhea should last no longer than 48 hours; adding rice to the diet helps to relieve the condition. Cooked hamburger also works well. If your dog passes black stool or stool with bright red blood, has a loss of appetite, is lethargic, frequently vomits, or seems to have abdominal pain, take him to a veterinarian immediately. Puppies, geriatric dogs and dogs with chronic diseases can rapidly weaken from prolonged diarrhea.

How to Prepare White Rice for Your Dog

Prepare rice for your dog the same way you would prepare it for yourself: Boil 1 cup of instant white rice in 4 cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes until the water cooks up. Fluff the rice with a fork and let sit. Never serve rice to your dog if it is still steaming. When it's cool enough to serve, mix with equal parts dog food, other cooked meats, or cooked hamburger for diarrhea.

Beware: Some Dogs May Be Allergic

Sometimes rice serves as an alternative carbohydrate for dogs with grain allergies, such as to corn, which is in many dog foods. While most dogs aren't allergic to rice, some have been known to have an allergic reaction to it. Symptoms usually include itchy skin, hair loss, hot spots and ongoing ear infections. If you think your dog may have an allergic reaction to rice, discontinue feeding him rice and take him to your veterinarian for a thorough exam.

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About the Author

Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.

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