Can Dogs Eat Brown Rice?

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Are you puzzled about why you're seeing brown rice in the list of ingredients in your dog food? Can dogs eat brown rice? In short, the answer is yes, as brown rice offers important nutrients for your dog's overall health. Here are explanations to some of the most common questions about why brown rice is an essential ingredient in many dog foods.

What health benefits does brown rice offer dogs?

Brown rice is full of natural fiber, which helps a dog's digestion. It is also an excellent source of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Specifically, vitamins B2 - better known as riboflavin, B9 - better known as folate, and D are found in brown rice and provide a variety of health benefits. Minerals and vitamins essential to a dog's health, including calcium, iron and riboflavin are also packed into this superfood. It is important to have the right balance of these nutrients in your dog's food, so if you see brown rice listed as an ingredient in a Hill's® dog food you can be confident that Hill's has done extensive research to make sure that it not only meets our high-quality standards, but is also precisely balanced to meet your dog's needs.

Brown rice vs. Brewers rice: What’s the difference

Brown rice is made by removing the hulls from the rice kernel but leaving some of the bran intact, giving it a brownish color. By contrast, brewers rice (named because it is often used in the brewing industry) is broken pieces of white rice. Nutritionally speaking, brewers rice is a great source of energy and provides protein and minerals.

Golden retriever eats out of white dog food bowl on deck

What about white rice?

The biggest nutritional difference between brown and white rice is that the bran on brown rice increases the fiber content. Unless your pet's food uses rice as a primary fiber source, either option will work fine for your dog.

Can my dog be allergic to rice?

Yes, but it's rare. If your dog is allergic to rice or other grains, they might have symptoms, such as itchy skin, hair loss and ear infections. But those same symptoms could be caused by other allergies or health issues. It's best to ask your vet to help you determine if your dog suffers from a rice allergy — or any other type of allergy — before cutting it from his meals.

Why would I want to keep my dog from eating grains?

The popularity of a grain-free food has far outpaced the number of dogs with diagnosed grain allergies or sensitivities. This fad, instead, became popular about the same time as low-carb diets in human kitchens. Vets report frequently hearing from pet parents that they chose to go grain free because they believe grains are simply fillers in dog food to keep prices low. That is simply not true. Whole grains like brown rice provide dogs with important and digestible nutrients. In addition, grain-free dog foods are not low in carbs — which are essential to a dog's overall health. All that being said, some dogs should go grain-free, so make sure to check with your vet if there is one that is best for your dog.

So, can dogs eat brown rice as part of a healthy meal plan? The answer is yes, and that it actually provides beneficial nutrients for your dog — it's not a cheaper filler option. The most important thing to remember in choosing a dog food is that it should provide your dog with complete and balanced nutrition. Hill's relies on a team of more than 200 veterinarians, nutritionists, and food scientists to develop new products and improve existing ones, to ensure that your pet lives a long, healthy, and full life. Always be sure to consult your veterinarian on ingredients for your dog's food, and do not rely on fads to sway your opinion of choosing the right nutrition for your dog. We care about his health as much as you do, and make every effort to ensure when they eat a Hill's dog food that they are getting a high-quality meal with thoughtfully sourced ingredients.

Kara Murphy