Just Food For Dogs – Is Rice Bad For Dogs?

Is Rice Bad For Dogs?

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Is Rice Bad For Dogs?

There has been much press recently about possible toxicity in rice and rice products, particularly related to Arsenic toxicity in pet food.  With this much press, we find it necessary to set the record straight, so that our customers aren’t misguided by misinformation or sensationalism.

Firstly, JustFoodForDogs does offer daily grain free and low carb options for dogs that really need it as recommended by their veterinarian or requested by their pet parent.  Having said that, our position is that domestic dogs thrive with high quality carbohydrates as part of their nutrition.  This isn’t just our opinion; a recent scientific study has proven, without a doubt, that domestic dogs are genetically adapted to thrive off carbs in their nutrition.  I was interviewed for my thoughts on this article by the Los Angeles times:

JustFoodForDogs chicken and White Rice

JustFoodForDogs Chicken and White Rice

“Oscar Chavez, director of the veterinary technician program at Cal Poly Pomona, said the findings served as a reminder that dogs don’t eat like wolves. He said he and his colleagues were befuddled by the trend toward pricey low-carb dog foods and raw diets … ‘Dogs are dogs — they’re more reliant on starches and grains,’ he said, which is why commercial dog foods are formulated to contain about 20% to 30% protein and 40% to 50% carbs.”

The full article can be read here.

So carbohydrates are a good source of nutrition, but what about rice as a source of carbohydrates?  Rice products have long been considered a premium (and more expensive) ingredient in pet food.  The reality is all rice is not bad:  what matters is what quality you use, where you get your ingredients, and whether you do periodic testing.

Human grade rice is no comparison to feed grade rice, which is loaded with chemicals and preservatives.  Feed rice is also not the whole rice, but the scraps of rice that are left over when rice products are made for human consumption.  These are much more likely to absorb toxins during multiple processing stages.  Most commercial kibbles and canned food will use feed grade rice; so with this part of the toxin controversy we agree – you should be wary of processed rice in commercial kibble diets, especially the lower quality brands.

However, like every other ingredient at JFFDs, our rice does not equal their “rice”.  We source the highest quality USDA long rice, sushi rice, and whole brown rice from reputable suppliers that have assured us to be free of toxins, including arsenic.  But we don’t stop there, we also routinely test all of our recipes through Dr. John Tegzes, VMD, a board certified veterinary toxicologist and professor at Western University.  In this video, he answers one of the most frequently asked questions we get at JustFoodForDogs:

Blog post written by:

Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
Chief Medical Officer
Tel: 866.726.9509 ext 777

 

About JustFoodForDogs: We started JustFoodForDogs with one simple, primary objective – to increase the quality and length of life for as many dogs as possible through the food they eat. All of our food is made from ingredients certified by the USDA for human consumption and we add all of the necessary nutrients to make our meals complete and balanced. Our recipes are developed by our own team which includes several veterinarians, a board certified veterinary toxicologist, a professor in canine clinical nutrition, a team of RVTs and veterinary assistants, and a cadre of dogs and dog lovers.

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Showing 39 comments
  • julie
    Reply

    I’m using basmati rice for my own consumption & I mixed it with turmeric powder when cooking is it safe to feed for a dog or a growing puppy?

    • Rudypoe
      Reply

      Julie,

      “Neither rice or turmeric powder are going to hurt your puppy, however these extra’s do not represent a balanced meal. If fed long term with no other ingredients, your puppy could develop severe deficiencies in calcium, phosphorus, iron, protein, etc. In order to cook and feed a balanced meal you need a recipe that has been formulated by a veterinarian and tested with feeding trials. Consider our Chicken and White Rice recipe found in our DIY kit – it will provide a fully balanced diet for a puppy, and you do not have to worry about deficiencies. We recommend whole foods over feeding any kibble or cans, because it is more nutritious when properly balanced.”

      Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
      CA Licensed Veterinarian #16552
      Chief Medical Officer
      JustFoodForDogs®

  • Ellen Feduik
    Reply

    I’m really disappointed in the wide disparity of food recomendations from on line food critics and, even from my dog’s Vet. What I have gleaned from these sources is that I am killing my dog!
    I feed my 11 lb 2 and a half yr old miniture poodle/yorkie daily consisting of 3 oz of roasted, skinless, boneless chicken, added to 6 tbsp of a combination of brown rice, barley, carrots, cauliflower, brocoli or spinache. The veg’s have been steamed and I prepare the rice and barley in the juice from the veg’s. This is divided to make two meals a day for her, AM and PM. If I were told that she needed some additional vitamines to subsidize this diet I could agree and understand that, but to make it sound like this diet is really bad for her….I don’t get it. Heck, she eats better than we do most days what with our work schedules and all. Please….someone give me the straight scoop! And on the subject of scoop, she does quite regularly in that department.

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Ellen,

      We believe whole food nutrition is superior to any kibble or canned dog food, and as such we support you in the feeding of the cooked foods. The issue with giving those ingredients long term is that they aren’t balanced. For example you could make our Chicken and White Rice DIY recipe at home, and that would be complete and balanced. For more information on our DIY recipes, please go to: http://justfoodfordogs.com/diy.html

      Hope that helps,
      Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
      Chief Medical Officer
      JustFoodForDogs®
      10867 Portal Dr
      Los Alamitos, CA 90720

  • Doge owner
    Reply

    My dog is quite old now.. maybe 3/4/5 years. Is it still a good idea for her to keep eating rice (with meat sometimes vegetable etc) vs dog food

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      We believe whole food nutrition is superior to any kibble or canned dog food. For that reason, any amount of healthy whole food that you can give to your dog is usually a good thing. The issue with giving just one ingredient like rice (with a few other ingredients) long term is that those ingredients by themselves are not balanced for long term feeding. We would recommend an entire balanced diet of whole foods. For example you could make our Chicken and Rice DIY recipe at home, or our Beef and Russet Potato recipe, and that would be complete and balanced. For more information on our DIY recipes, please go to: http://justfoodfordogs.com/diy.html

      Hope that helps,
      Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
      Chief Medical Officer
      JustFoodForDogs®
      10867 Portal Dr
      Los Alamitos, CA 90720

  • Kate Denning
    Reply

    You say: so by that logic, we should be eating a wide variety fruit and leaves, insects, bark, eggs, nuts, small monkeys and other small mammals? – well yes, if needed we could! This would be a better diet than modern fast food / junk food!!

    You say: Instead of making nutritional decisions based on trademarked marketing statements like “biologically appropriate(tm)” we at JFFD are evidenced based. I also am ‘evidence based’ and I the evidence I see that my dogs health and digestion has improved since changing to a raw food diet.

    You say: As this peer reviewed, published study in the Journal Nature concludes, science supports the fact that dogs have adapted to a starch rich diet. How does science support this? What evidence do you have that dogs are healthier on a starch rich diet?
    Just as their behavior is vastly different that wolves (thankfully so, or we could not live with them) their nutrition is. Both families of generic traits must be in that 1%, a difference that makes all the difference and allows us to be pet parents.
    You say: Finally, and most importantly, are the health issues we can see with a high protein, high fat, low carb diet. While some dogs will do just fine, many get urinary stones or crystals, pancreatitis, and – since the meats are usually feed grade (rejected from human consumption), they can be loaded with toxins leading to liver or kidney problems long term. Ah… so you suggest that meat used in processed food is human grade? I hear this is very much not the case. processed dog food is loaded with toxins too. Read up on the regulations manufacturers have to comply with and you will see.

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Hi Kate,

      I agree with you 100% that meat use in processed dog food is loaded with toxins. We are very well aware of the lack of regulations and compliance exclusions that exist. We believe dogs do best on a lightly cooked, whole food diet made with real human grade ingredients. Nothing processed, nothing feed grade. For more information on our recipes, please visit http://www.justfoodfordogs.com.

      Many thanks,
      Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
      Chief Medical Officer
      JustFoodForDogs®
      10867 Portal Dr
      Los Alamitos, CA 90720

  • George
    Reply

    Icook for my dogs.Beef,chicken,pork,beef liver,rice,green beans,carrots and peas.I feed canned pedigree beef about 4 times a month.I don,t add any eextra seasonings.

    • oio9ioOscar Chavez
      Reply

      George,

      We believe whole food nutrition is superior to any kibble or canned dog food, and as such we support you in the feeding of the cooked foods. The issue with giving those ingredients long term is that they aren’t balanced. Also, you are still giving the processed canned dog food. We would recommend an entire balanced diet of whole cooked foods. For example you could make our Beef and Russet Potato DIY recipe at home, and that would be complete and balanced. You would not have to continue the canned food. For more information on our DIY recipes, please go to: http://justfoodfordogs.com/diy.html

      Hope that helps,
      Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
      Chief Medical Officer
      JustFoodForDogs®
      10867 Portal Dr
      Los Alamitos, CA 90720

  • nancy olsen
    Reply

    Using regular rice cooked added to dog food good for your dog?

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Nancy,

      We believe whole food nutrition is superior to any kibble or canned dog food. For that reason, any amount of healthy whole food that you can give to your dog is usually a good thing. The issue with giving just whole foods, or just one ingredient like rice, long term is that the rice by itself isn’t balanced. Also, you are still giving the processed kibble or canned dog food. We would recommend an entire balanced diet of whole foods. For example you could make our Chicken and Rice DIY recipe at home, and that would be complete and balanced. You would not have to continue the canned or kibbled food.

      Hope that helps,
      Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
      Chief Medical Officer
      JustFoodForDogs®
      10867 Portal Dr
      Los Alamitos, CA 90720

  • Linda
    Reply

    I came here because my vet has recommended I eliminate grains and increase protein for my dog to try to clear up the struvite crystals that plague him, but you’re saying too much protein may cause crystals??
    10yr old MN Aussie with degenerative joint disease and spondylosis. Chased a rabbit and went swimming today. Couple of half hr walks too.
    Been eating home cooked chicken thigh and brown rice diet with 3 veg and supplements for last 4 years. Treats are Cod, chicken hearts/giblets and weekend eggs. Raw meaty beef bones 1-2/month. I plan to replace the brown rice with eggs and cranberries. Will his diet be balanced with out rice as a carb? Can he get enough carbs from his sweet potato, acorn squash and green beans? Should I not worry about balance right now and just conquer the crystals?

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Hi Linda,

      There are several type of crystals, and some respond better to a moderate protein restriction. Struvite, on the other hand, form in basic urine. Since protein produces acidic (not basic) urine, a higher protein diet may be indicated for struvite prevention. I would not replace brown rice with eggs and cranberries as those are very different ingredients that supply very different nutrition. It is highly unlikely the diet you are describing would be balanced, because a balanced diet must be carefully formulated and planned out. In order to conquer the crystals you have to worry about the balance, because the mineral content in the food and your dog’s physiology are what drive the formation of crystals.

      My best advice is to have a specifically formulated diet custom made to prevent crystals. During this process you will discuss ingredient options with your assigned veterinary formulator and we can come up with a recipe that helps prevent struvite crytstals and address any other issues that exist. For more information on our custom formulation process, please go to: http://justfoodfordogs.com/custom_prescriptive

      We also make our balanced recipes available for you to make at home, using our DIY kits: http://justfoodfordogs.com/diy.html

      Finally, we agree with your vet to avoid feed grade grains at all costs. Those are the grains the kibble/can industry uses in making commercial diets. Research has shown those grains are toxic, they contain dangerous chemicals created by mold called mycotoxins. Wholesome grains like real brown rice is normally healthy and safe. Please clarify with your vet if they recommend avoiding feed grains, or all grains.

      For more information on our position on raw, grains, etc, please check our our carefully researched and cited whitepaper: http://company.justfoodfordogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/JustFoodForDogs-WhitePaper-20151305.pdf?a1371a

      Hope that helps,

      Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
      CA Licensed Veterinarian #16552
      Chief Medical Officer
      JustFoodForDogs®
      10867 Portal Dr
      Los Alamitos, CA 90720
      http://www.justfoodfordogs.com

  • arun
    Reply

    Rice starch is good or bad for jsd dog?

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      We believe whole food nutrition is superior to any kibble or canned dog food, thus we believe that rice can be a good starch source. We recommend using rice as part of an entire balanced diet of whole foods. For example you could make our Chicken and Rice DIY recipe at home, and that would be complete and balanced. For more information on our DIY recipes, please go to: http://justfoodfordogs.com/diy.html

      Hope that helps,

      Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
      CA Licensed Veterinarian #16552
      Chief Medical Officer
      JustFoodForDogs®
      10867 Portal Dr
      Los Alamitos, CA 90720
      http://www.justfoodfordogs.com

  • Zack G
    Reply

    Our 4years multipoo is a very fussy eater, so everywhere we went and anyone we asked they said that we should give them dog food. after thiuroughly reading what are thr ingredients in the food was we decided to give our dog rice, chicken and veggies. we asked the vet he was also against it so i did some digging online and it seems like there is a great vitamin powder that we can put on top of her food pnce a day that can give her all of her vitamins.
    At least the quality of food we are goving her now it totally better then what was in those cans, even with the best quality of cans out there.
    So trust me and do the following, buy good quality of rine and chicken or pork or meat and buy the powder that fits your dogs need you can find them in any pet store and will do the trick. It’s tasteless to your dog but good for him good luck and happy new year

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Zack,

      We agree! Fresh, whole food is better than canned or kibbled feed grade processed food. You can get our recipes and our DIY nutrient blend from our website: https://www.justfoodfordogs.com/diy

      Thank you!
      JFFD Team

  • Marge Nelson
    Reply

    Hi Dr. Chavez. Great info, thanks!! Our “grand dog’s” owner makes his food from top grade beef or chicken with rice and we add green beans to it. She began this to try to stop lip fold disease, and we wash his red gums with salt water/small amt.apple cider vinegar. He never is totally free of it, breaks out often, don’t know what else to do.I took him to a vet who prescribed an antibiotic which did clear it up for a while, but owner doesn’t want him to have Rx . Any other food suggestions? Thanks!

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Ask your vet about our Skin and Allergy Care – olive leaf extract supplement. It has antibacterial properties and can help with various skin conditions. Also, many vets use our Venison and Squash recipe for dogs with suspected skin or food allergies because it’s a novel protein. Ask you vet about these options.

  • Cathy Allen
    Reply

    Is it possible my dog is intolerant to rice? She had surgery a couple months ago and we did a bland chicken and rice diet for a few days during her recovery and she got bad diarrhea. This happened another time as well; however in both instances she was on new or adjusting of medications…so it’s hard to know. Now we’ve started her on your DIY Chicken and White Rice formula. We did a 7 day period of moving her from her old lamb and pea kibble onto the new diet. She was fine until the 8th day, on the full diet and she has again terrible liquid diarrhea. We’re going to the vet of course,and maybe it’s an underline illness causing the off/on diarrhea…but I can’t help feeling it may be as simple as a rice intolerance. I was thinking of switching her to your beef and russet potato recipe, but was told it’s very “rich”, which I guess means it’s fatty and harder to digest, I guess also meaning it could be worse if she has lots of gastrointestinal issues?

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Hi Cathy,

      An intolerance to any one ingredient is rare, but it can happen. If you think rice is the issue, we have four other recipes with no rice in them and all of them are fine to try. While the beef is more rich, it is not too rich for a dog with GI issues. Many vets use our venison and squash recipe or our fish and sweet potato to help dogs with sensitive GI tracks. Ask your vet about one of these recipes.

  • Amanda hirschfield
    Reply

    I feed my dog Nature s menu raw and mix with white rice.is this ok?x

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Hi Amanda,

      Generally speaking, we believe that real, human edible foods are much healthier than anything processed – made in a factory, or that comes in a bag or a can. We believe raw foods are better than kibble, but are still subject to the same issues because ultimately the food is made in a factory – not a kitchen.

      In contrast feeding lightly cooked fresh whole foods which you source from a grocery store is much healthier. So in that sense, I like that you are feeding the whole white rice. Take a look at our DIY recipes (https://www.justfoodfordogs.com/diy) or our line of food (https://www.justfoodfordogs.com/daily-meals) – we have a chicken and white rice recipe, for example.

      Hope that helps. If you have any other question please give our team a call or visit our website,

      Dr. Oscar E Chavez BVetMed MRCVS MBA
      CA Licensed Veterinarian #16552
      Chief Medical Officer
      JustFoodForDogs®
      10867 Portal Dr
      Los Alamitos, CA 90720
      http://www.justfoodfordogs.com

  • Mary F Harrison
    Reply

    I have just ordered your DIY at home recipes and I’m very anxious to try them. I have a 14 year old Border Collie in a 14 year old toy poodle. The toy poodle has been plagued with red skin itchy skin red eyes and I have tried everything. I am tired of antibiotics I won’t give him any for this. My last resort is trying your recipes I have been doing home cooked meals for a few months but I did feel like they were missing out nutritionally. Very excited about doing your recipes at home. Any suggestions especially for the toy poodle the itching drives him crazy and the only thing that usually helps is that bath and brushing sometimes in the middle of the night.

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Great! Let us know how it goes. Food may only be part of the problem – dogs often suffer from environmental allergies or fleas. Please talk to your vet about additional causes of itchiness. Also, you may want to try our Skin & Allergy Care supplement.

      Hope that helps!

  • Hannah
    Reply

    If dogs have genetically adapted to eating grains, then why are neurological disorders such as Epilepsy so prominent? Why do a majority of dogs suffer from Cancer and other degenerative diseases? It couldn’t possibly be because they are being fed something that is not condusive to their natural diet, right?

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      It is a fact that dogs have genetically adapted to eating starches and grains and it is a fact they are not true carnivores (compared to cats). It is also a fact that a majority of dogs suffer from cancer, neurological conditions and other degenerative diseases. In fact, we agree that many of these issues are caused by diets – because they are fed feed grade, processed commercial diets. Any feed grade ingredients are potentially toxic, whether it’s feed grade protein or feed grade grains. We advocate feeding real, wholesome food – made with the same food you and I eat, but nutritionally balanced for dogs. Even the protein should be human edible, as a high protein feed grade diet just means a lot of low quality, potentially toxic meat. It’s not about quantity of protein, it’s about quality and we simply use the highest quality available for all our ingredients.

  • Dan Bee
    Reply

    My understanding is that rice and grains in general are not good to eat, both for dogs and people. White rice and or any other rice for that matter, less so with brown rice, basically converts quickly to sugar in the digestive system. Rice is not that good for people and not that good for animals other than people. I would steer towards more complex carbohydrate foods, such as broccoli or another darker green veggies, but not rice or oats, no grains.

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      We believe human edible, wholesome rice and grains are extremely nutritious and appropriate for dogs. We believe you must stay away from feed grade grains which are likely toxic – not because there’s anything inherently wrong with grains, but because feed grade grains are not regulated when it comes to storage, handling, and transport. Thus, they can become moldy and contaminated with mycotoxins. We believe the high protein recipes that some company push (especially raw) can be dangerous to dogs long term. For more information on what we believe, give us a call. If you believe otherwise, we understand.

  • Julie Rose
    Reply

    Good day! It is my first time having a puppy (3-month old). I was told that he should not eat rice and just stick to milk and dog food, but he doesn’t eat that much. When I gave soup with rice in it, he consumed the whole thing. Would it be okay? I still give him milk.

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Hi Julie,

      There is no need to continue to feed a 3 month old puppy any milk, and in fact doing so can cause some gut discomfort over time. Wholesome, human edible rice is an excellent source of nutrient rich calories, and yes dogs can absolutely eat rice as part of their balanced meal. We advocate getting dogs off of kibble or canned food altogether and favor fresh whole food recipes that are properly balanced. For puppies, we have our Fish and Sweet Potato and our Chicken and White Rice recipes – both are available on our website, but also as DIY (DoItYourself) kits you can make at home.

      Hope that helps!

  • Barbara Johnston
    Reply

    Does anyone have a balanced home made diet to share?

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Check out our DIY (Do it Yourself) kits online!

      Dr. Chavez

  • Jim Harris
    Reply

    I have a 3 year old cocker spaniel that is allergic to poultry, this means eggs, chicken fat. So anything and everything thing to do with poultry. So for the past year and a half my wife makes his meals, they consist of cooked ground hamburger, frozen has brown potatoes and white rice. There was a time where we gave him some treats that was made with eggs and it caused him to itch all over,him had sores and scabs everywhere. Since we stopped giving him those he’s feeling a lot better. The sores have healed and he’s not scratching himself to death.
    My question is should we be adding anything else to his diet, like vegetable?

    • Oscar Chavez
      Reply

      Fresh whole foods are superior to any other way of feeding, but you want the recipe to be balanced. Please check out our DIY (Do it Yourself) kits online, or contact our custom department. We can balance your recipe and determine if anything else is needed.

      Dr. Chavez

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