Which Is Better for Dogs: Rice or Corn?

Rice is healthier for your pup than corn.
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To humans, corn and rice are both tasty sources of carbs. To your pooch, corn and rice are not created equal. In fact, one may cause canine health and behavioral problems. The rice versus corn debate has a clear winner, so consider changing Fido's diet accordingly.


While it is a common ingredient in dog foods, corn can also be a problematic one. Dogs do not easily digest corn, digesting only 54 percent of it and passing the rest through their stool, according to dog trainer Nathan Childs in his book "Shaping The Wolf Within Your Dog." Since dogs don't digest corn fully, they don't absorb all of its nutrients. Additionally, corn is one of the top canine allergens, along with dairy, wheat and beef. Corn may upset a dog's serotonin balance, exacerbating behavioral problems in some dogs. For these reasons, corn may not be a viable option for your pooch.


Both white and brown rice offer bland, easily digestible carbs for doggie diets. For this reason, it's often recommended when dogs have tummy troubles since it's gentle yet offers sufficient energy. Brown rice offers more protein and less fat than white rice. While some dogs have rice allergies, these are less common than corn allergies. Since dogs digest rice easily, they absorb needed nutrients better than corn. Combined with reduced allergen rates, this makes rice a better choice.

Symptoms of Allergies

Since both rice and corn can cause allergies, learn the symptoms. Dogs who scratch or lick excessively, develop bald spots and hot spots, develop ear infections or have dry skin are likely allergic to something in their food. If you suspect your pooch has allergies, switch to a food offering a different grain and meat than what you were feeding. For example, if you were feeding a chicken and rice food, try venison and sweet potato.


Both dog treats and dog food may contain corn or cornmeal. If you decide to eliminate corn from your dog's diet in favor of rice, read the ingredients list on your food and your treats. Replace corn-based products with treats and foods made with other grains. Should you want to test your dog for allergens or discuss corn's effect on doggie behavior, make an appointment with your vet.