Doggie diarrhea can be an exhausting problem for pet owners. Whether it’s a new puppy or a beloved family dog, diarrhea can come on fast and at any hour of the day or night. It often happens before you have time to get your dog safely outside. The result is a loose and foul-smelling mess that leaves both you and your dog feeling bad.
Diarrhea can have a variety of causes, ranging from food allergies to intestinal parasites to what they ate during their last walk. Many veterinarians recommend a white rice diet as part of treating diarrhea in dogs. Rice can help firm up your dog’s stool because it has less fiber than other grains and binds water in the bowel instead of drawing it out like oatmeal or whole-grain cereals.
Why Do Dogs Get Diarrhea? Common Reasons
There are many reasons your sweet pup could get the runs. The most common causes include:
- Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other illnesses
- Dietary changes
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Stress or anxiety
- Medications (including over-the-counter drugs)
- Eating something they should not have – toys, bones, fabric, toxins, or poisons
If it’s more than a mild case of diarrhea or your dog seems in pain or distress, it’s best to take your pet to the vet first before seeing if rice will help.
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- Digestive powder contains beneficial microorganisms
- Flavorless powder makes it easy to mask in your dog's favorite food
Why Does Rice Help Dogs When They Have Diarrhea?
Rice is a bland food and can help soothe an upset stomach. Since dietary upsets can be caused by a change in diet, food intolerances, or digestive irritants, a couple of days of soothing bland foods makes a difference.
Rice is also high in fiber, which helps to bulk up your dog’s stool and make it more solid. If your dog has been vomiting or having soft stools, this will help clear things up. Additionally, rice is a low-fat source of protein that is easy for your dog’s body to digest.
How Much Rice Should You Feed Your Dog When They Have Diarrhea?
The amount of rice you want to feed your dog to help alleviate diarrhea will depend on your dog’s size, weight, and age. As a general approximation, you can give them about a ¼ cup of cooked rice per 10 pounds of body weight.
If your pup is a little on the heavy side (like my little one whose begging looks I cannot refuse), give them less, closer to ⅛ cup per 10 pounds of body weight. For example, if your dog weighs 30 pounds and has chronic diarrhea, feed him or her ¾ cup of rice at the start of each meal!
If your dog is on the slim side or very active with a large appetite, you can go as high as ½ cup per 10 pounds. In this case, your 30-pound dog would get 1.5 cups of rice per meal. If you have any questions about how much rice to feed your dog, you can always check with your veterinarian to be sure.
To calm digestive upsets in dogs with milder cases of diarrhea, mix one-part boiled, bland meat (like hamburger or chicken) with two parts of cooked rice. You can boil the rice and the meat in the same pot.
What Types of Rice Are Best for Your Dog?
Plain white rice is the best rice to feed your dog when his or her stomach is upset. It is easy to digest, feeds good bacteria, and can regulate bowel movements. With a high glycemic index, white rice is not a good option for overweight dogs or dogs with diabetes.
Brown rice has more fiber than white, which can be hard on your dog’s digestive system when it’s sensitive. Depending on the source, brown rice can also be high in arsenic, so it’s not recommended as a treatment for diarrhea.
When your dog is healthy, a small amount of brown rice can be a good source of nutrition and fiber. If you decide to give your dog brown rice, make sure it’s organic and grown in an area with low arsenic levels (like California).
Plain wild rice can be a nutritious, tasty option for your dog. When you cook any type of rice for your dog, keep it simple with no spices.
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- Features vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots that are filled with antioxidants and nutrients
- Also includes easily digestible, fiber-rich grains like brown rice and barley
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support your dog's skin and coat health
- Does not contain wheat, corn, soy, poultry by-product meals, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives.
How To Prepare Cooked Rice for Dogs
Microwaves or stovetops are acceptable methods of preparing cooked rice for your dog’s diet. Do NOT use instant or parboiled varieties of white rice due to their higher starch content—these types will increase chances for constipation rather than alleviate diarrhea.
If your dog’s diarrhea is not severe and you are using cooked rice for an added dietary fiber, then cooking the rice to a soft consistency will suffice. However, if your dog is suffering from severe diarrhea and needs more than just fiber from his rice, then cooking it to a soft consistency will not be sufficient.
For more severe cases, add an extra ¼ to ⅓ cup of water to the raw uncooked for every 1 cup of dry uncooked white rice. This extra moisture will help increase fluid intake for dogs suffering with diarrhea due to dehydration. It can also help dogs who are dealing with the malabsorption of nutrients due to a lack of digestive enzymes.
Can You Feed Your Dog Raw or Uncooked Rice?
Do not feed your dog raw or uncooked rice, especially when they have diarrhea. Raw rice can be dangerous to dogs due to the fact that it’s hard for them to digest.
Cooked rice is safe to feed your dog, and it can be a good source of fiber, which helps settle their stomachs. The cooked version provides extra calories and helps make your dog feel full, so he or she won’t eat as much during the day (or night).
Raw rice can harbor bacteria (like Salmonella), which means that feeding your dog uncooked rice could cause food poisoning or other gastrointestinal issues. Cooked rice is safe to feed to your dog because it’s been sterilized after being cooked in boiling water, so there’s no chance of contamination by harmful bacteria.
A Simple Recipe for a Happier Dog
Plain, boiled white rice is a handy remedy for some types of diarrhea in dogs. Now you know the essentials about treating your pup’s diarrhea with rice.
Of course, it’s important to keep an eye on your dog when they have diarrhea. If it’s severe or lasts longer than a couple of days, you should take them to see a vet. Hopefully, though, your faithful friend only has a little bit of an upset tummy, and a couple of days of a bland, high-fiber diet will get your dog back to his or her best.
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