Is Rice Good for Your Dog’s Health?
by Sreeraj Krishnan
Feeding your pooch with rice to treat their upset stomach is all right. But the question is, can you include rice in their daily diet?
Dogs have no nutritional requirement for dietary carbohydrates. They can get everything they need from a diet that contains only protein and fat. Energy metabolism in dogs is based on- fat oxidation and the breakdown of protein that thus produces glucose for their body. So, overloading their diet with carbs isn’t required at all. And rice is a high source of carbs for your dogs.
Then why do we generally opt to feed rice to our dogs? There are two main reasons why we choose to feed rice to our dogs. Firstly, our dogs can normally utilize all the food items that we feed them as their digestive tracts are extremely versatile. So, we generally look for the meals that are easy to cook and do not take extra time in preparation. Secondly, these food items are low in cost and easily available at our own kitchens. Just because fat and protein sources are much more expensive compared to the one’s providing carbohydrates, doesn’t mean we have to choose them over other healthy meals that we can actually feed our dogs.
For every dog parent, the health of their little furry friends comes first, right? So, it is better to invest in healthy meals than cost-effective items that can harm your dog’s body eventually.
Reasons to avoid feeding rice daily to your dog’s :
- Rice contains a high amount of carbs which can cause obesity in dogs.
- Rice has a high Glycemic Index and can lead to a sudden increase in blood sugar levels in your pooch.
- Daily consumption of rice can be bad for your dog’s health as it is inherently inflammatory.
White Rice For Your Dogs
You can feed your pets with white rice in case they suffer from digestive problems as it is easy to digest, and low in fibers. When cooked well, white rice can be easily chewable and digestible food for your dogs. Being low in sodium, they can be served to dogs with high blood pressure problems.
Brown Rice for Your Pooch
Brown rice holds more nutritional value compared to white rice. The seed coat in brown rice includes fibrous bran, carb-rich endosperm, and nutritious germ which increases its nutritional content. But it is not as processed as white rice and can be hard for your dogs to digest. Compared to white rice, brown rice is a little higher in protein and lower in fat.
While white rice helps in treating the digestive problems in your dogs, brown rice is never recommended for dogs having gastrointestinal issues. This is because brown rice is very high in fibers and feeding it to a dog with digestive distress can be detrimental.
To Feed or Not to Feed - Chicken and Rice to your Dogs Regularly?
Just like humans dogs also need a balanced diet. A good and nutritious diet helps the body to function smoothly and remain healthy. Feeding your dogs with chicken and rice in the short term is typically fine. A small amount of boiled chicken without bones and skin when served with white rice, can get your dog’s stool back to normal. It is also helpful if your dog is recovering from GI illness or pancreatitis.
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Unfortunately feeding only chicken and rice doesn't make up a well-balanced diet due to the lack of some major nutrients required for a dog’s body like omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA which are very important for brain functions.
So. whenever you choose a food to feed your dogs on a regular basis, make sure it's nutritional and balanced as well.
Risks of Feeding Rice Daily to Your Dogs
Your vet might advise you to feed your pups with rice to treat their digestive problems but would never ask you to include it in their daily diet plans. Rice is a grain and your dogs have no requirement for grain in their body.
Feeding too much rice can itself become a problem. So, keep an eye on the quantity of rice you feed to your pups even when they are unhealthy.
- Carbohydrates- Rice contains a high amount of carbs which can cause obesity in dogs and even sometimes in weight loss. Feeding it regularly may often lead to GI tract inflammation.
- Glycemic Index- The glycemic index is the rate at which carbs are absorbed in the blood. Rice holds a high glycemic index and can hence lead to a sudden increase in the blood sugar levels in your pooch. It can further cause other health problems in the future as well.
- Natural Irritant- Daily consumption of rice can be bad for your dog’s health. Dogs do not digest it well as it is inherently inflammatory in nature. And also it requires a lot of work to break down rice in your dog’s body.
If in any case, you opt to feed rice to your dogs, even if once a week, make sure to serve it in a controlled quantity.
Replace Rice in Your Dog’s Diet
You can include the following food items and avoid feeding rice in your dog’s diet-
- Lentils- A great protein-rich replacement for rice is green lentils. Lentils are one of the most nutritionally valuable plants that can be healthy for your dog’s body. These leguminous plants have high protein contents, are rich in fibers and minerals, and also contain a sufficient amount of lysine (that boosts your dog’s immune system).
- Pumpkin- You can even include pumpkin as an alternative to rice in your dog’s diet. Pumpkin has high fiber content and can be very healthy for your pooch’s body. It acts as a good source of the electrolyte potassium, vitamin C, iron, and vitamin A and can be helpful in controlling diarrhoea as well.
- Sweet Potato- Being an excellent source of dietary fibers, sweet potatoes support a healthy digestive system. They are low in fats and contain vitamins B6, C, and A. You can boil, freeze or dehydrate sweet potatoes for your dogs.
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Don’t be confused about what you can feed your dog’s. Replace all the unhealthy meals and try simple homemade healthy recipes for your dog’s.
Here is a list of meals you can prepare at home for your canine companions.
Too many carbohydrates and wrong food in the gut can be unhealthy for your pets. With grain-free dog foods containing more protein and fewer carbs, you can keep your dog’s healthy and fit.
Deciding the best nutritious meals for your pets is very important. Avoid feeding any kind of rice to your dogs regularly and feed them with fresh, whole food items. Introduce whole foods in your dog’s diet and add a new dimension in your dog’s health.
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