Bringing home a pet for the first time can be very similar to becoming a first time parent. Two of the biggest worries you may face would be; what to feed them and what is normal in terms of bowel movements. Let’s set aside the latter for now, and focus on the first one. So, you’ve just brought home an adorable Labrador. Now you’re confused about what it can and cannot eat. In particular, I’ll focus on one query today.
Is it ok to feed rice to Labradors? If yes, how much and how frequently is it okay?
You might be happy to know that the answer to the first question is, yes. It is ok to feed rice to a Labrador. But just how much? Granted most dogs are more than eager to share your meals with you, and you also feel bad eating alone but remember their digestive systems are different from yours. Rice is a carbohydrate-rich food and can be given in moderation to Labradors. In particular, white rice may actually sometimes even be good for your Lab, but brown rice may not be a great option.
You may now have another plethora of questions in your mind. Can dogs even digest rice? What kind of rice is okay to give, and what kind should you avoid? Can there be any health problems associated with rice consumption? Are there any health benefits? What if my Labrador is sick, what do I do then? Fear not, I am here to answer all these questions, and more for you today.
Can Dogs eat rice?
Are Labradors omnivores?
You may remember from your high school science lessons that when it comes to dietary preferences, animals can be divided into three broad categories. Carnivores eat only meat, herbivores are vegetarian, and omnivores, like humans, can eat both. While many people believe that dogs are carnivores, they are actually omnivores. Even wild dogs and wolves eat both animal and plant-based foods. Of course, that doesn’t mean that anything you eat is also safe for your beloved Labrador to eat. Some plant-based foods might contain chemicals that are toxic to dogs, so be careful what you feed them. Thankfully, rice isn’t one of those foods though.
Do dry dog foods contain rice?
Yes, most dry dog foods do contain a certain percentage of rice, grains, and vegetables. Even high-quality ones do. Even if you choose to keep your Labrador on an exclusive dry food diet, it may still get all of its required nutrition.
What type of rice is better for my Labrador?
By now, we have already established that if you really want to share your rice with your Labrador, white rice may actually be a better option than brown rice. So what is the reason behind that? The major component of white rice is starch, a complex carbohydrate. It is refined and polished and has its outer husk removed. On the other hand, brown rice is an unrefined whole grain. It contains a much higher percentage of fiber. It also has a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals. Now we know that for us humans, brown rice is a healthier option. But for dogs, too much fiber may end up causing diarrhea. Remember humans and dogs function differently! That being said, it is okay to occasionally give your dog small portions of brown rice too.
What if my Labrador already has an upset stomach?
White rice may actually be good for a Lab with a loose tummy. Starch acts as a stool binder and may help reduce the number of watery stools that your dog is passing. It may also be a good source of carbohydrates and energy since it is easily digestible. On the other hand, brown rice, as I mentioned above, may make diarrhea worse, and may even contribute to tummy cramps and bloating.
What about rice with spices?
Giving your Labrador your spicy food is a bad idea in general, and this applies to rice too. Pets cannot handle spices like us. Some may even be toxic to them. For instance, onions and garlic, even in granulated and powdered forms can be toxic to your Lab and cause vomiting and diarrhea. They also may make your Labrador excessively thirsty, and cause electrolyte imbalances. Even food with added salt can have the same effects on its body, and should ideally be avoided.
Just how much rice is ok for your Labrador to have?
I know it is hard to resist those big eyes staring at your food, but you have to be careful how much rice you give to your Labrador. First of all, remember that feeding it just rice is not good enough. While brown rice does have proteins and minerals, it is just not a balanced food option for your Labrador. You can mix it with other foods though. For an adult dog, it should be no more than a quarter of a cup in one day at most, or more than 10 percent of its total calorie intake.
What would happen if you feed your Labrador too much rice?
Labradors are large dogs and they are quite prone to joint problems. They also love to eat. If you left your Labrador with an unrestricted food supply, it will eat a lot more than it actually needs. Rice already contains a lot of starch, and we all know what happens when you eat too much starchy food -you become fat! Now dogs and humans may be different, but just like obese humans get arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a plethora of medical problems, dogs get afflicted in the same way too. It is very important to give healthy, balanced, and controlled food portions to your Labrador, and to remember that overfeeding anything will only do it harm.
How should you prepare your Labrador’s rice?
The best way to prepare rice is to steam or boil it without adding any salt or spices, and then mix it with lean meat. You may also add some vegetables like peas and carrots. Occasionally, it may be okay to share a small amount of rice from your own dinner with your Labrador, but don’t make it a habit!
It is okay to give rice to your Labrador. Both brown and white rice can be given, but even though they’re healthier, brown rice may give tummy trouble to some dogs. Rice is rich in carbohydrates and easy to digest, and may even be good for your dog, especially when it isn’t feeling too good. In fact, rice is added to the most reliable brands of dog food as well. Just be careful with a few things though. Don’t give your Lab too much rice, and don’t add salt and spices to the rice you give it. Happy feeding!