I love rice and I doubt that I will ever get bored of eating it.
My dogs are keen fans of it too and they love it when I feed them the last remaining bits from the saucepan.
It is funny to see their big clumsy mouths having to eat such small delicate grains.
But is rice, particularly long grain rice, any good for them?
Read on to find out more.
What is long grained rice?
Long grain rice is roughly four to five times as long as it is wide and during cooking it can triple in length…
Famous types of long grain rice include basmati and jasmine rice.
Also, long grain rice comes in white and brown varieties- something that I didn’t know.
How is it different from other rice?
Apart from its length, long grain rice is different to medium or short grained rice because if it is cooked properly, then it is dry and the individual grains are separate .
Medium and short grain rice tend to have more starch in them.
In medium and short grain rice, the texture is wetter and more sticky and the grains stick together much more.
Is long grain rice good for dogs?
A discussion about the nutrition differences between long, medium or short grain white rice would really be splitting hairs.
Any type of white rice contains quite a few calories because it is about 80% carbohydrate.
It has no fat but then again it doesn’t contain any dietary fiber either
To get a bit technical, long grain white rice tends to not raise the blood sugar levels as much as short grain white rice but I’m not sure if that is something that you need to consider as far as your dog is concerned.
Other than carbohydrates, white rice doesn’t contain much else.
It is very low in minerals and vitamins.
Which begs the question, why should you bother in the first place.
Do dogs need carbohydrates in their diet?
The simple truth is that dogs don’t need carbohydrates in their diet.
And this isn’t just my opinion but it is the opinion of the experts.
There is an organisation in the US that is responsible for devising the perfect diet for any pet or farmed animals.
It is called the AAFCO– which is funny that for an organisation which is all about food, its name is a bit of a mouthful!
A dog needs four things in their diet- protein, fats, minerals and vitamins.
There is no mention of carbohydrates anywhere…
You can look at specific numbers on page 4 of this long document if you want.
Even though the experts believe that dogs don’t need carbohydrates in their diet, I think that there is one instance when we should be feeding our dogs white long grain rice.
Why should I feed my dog long grain rice?
I think the key role that white rice plays in the diet of a dog is when it is used as part of a home remedy for a touch of diarrhea.
Which is quite funny because one of my dogs had a horrible dose of diarrhea (it was all brown water) this morning and so they will have a portion of rice later.
And the simple nature of rice- that it is mostly carbohydrates, that it contains no fat, hardly any protein and hardly any vitamins and minerals make it a perfect food for an upset stomach.
Rice’s boring, one dimensional nature makes it the perfect ingredient for a stomach that is in turmoil because it is so easy to digest.
Which is why it is the main ingredient of a bland diet-the food that you give to dogs when they have diarrhea.
White long grain vs brown long grain- key differences
Building on a comment that I made earlier, it makes sense in this section to look at how white long grain and brown long grain rice differ.
Brown rice is just white rice with an extra outer layer, the bran removed.
The real gain nutritionally with this is the brown rice has more fiber in it-and a tiny bit more fat if the truth be known.
And fiber will help to boost your dog’s digestion and help to produce firmer stools.
Oh yes, and brown rice has slightly fewer calories than white rice.
But here is the funny thing about the extra fiber in brown rice and the benefits that this brings to a dog’s digestion system.
It is not recommended as a home remedy for dog diarrhea.
This is because it contains too much fiber for a sensitive stomach…
Brown rice is also far more abundant in B vitamins than white rice.
And B vitamins are great for boosting your dog’s immune system amongst other things…
Now that we have looked at some of the benefits of long grain rice, it is time to get a little more practical.
And we shall start by talking about portion sizes.
How much long grain rice shall I feed my dog?
In this section, I’m going to stick to the use of white long grain rice as part of a cure for diarrhea.
It is recommended that you combine white rice with one other simple food such as chicken, canned pumpkin or cottage cheese.
Rice should be about 60% of the mix.
And the amounts?
Dogs with poorly tummies do better being fed smaller portions more frequently.
With the idea being to not overwhelm the stomach at any point.
Start off small (we are talking tablespoons here) and gradually increase the portions to half a cup or so.
How shall I prepare long grain rice for my dog?
You prepare long grain rice for your dog the same way that you would prepare it for yourself.
Why is one of the simplest foods such as rice, so difficult to get right?
Many of us serve up rice that is either a little too hard or has already turned to mush…
And don’t think that it doesn’t matter because it’s only being fed to a dog.
If your rice is too undercooked, it might make your dog’s diarrhea even worse.
I speak from experience here…
There are a few simple rules to cooking perfect rice.
Firstly, the ratio of water to white rice needs to be 2:1, so it is best to use a cup or mug.
Next, rinse the rice in cold water.
Pour the rice into a saucepan and then using the same mug measure out double the amount of water and pour it into the pan.
Immediately stir the rice to separate the grains and then don’t touch it.
Bring the water up to the boil and then immediately put a lid on the sauce pan and turn the gas down to the lowest setting.
Leave it alone for 10-12 minutes.
Then turn the gas off and let the rice cool.