Can dogs eat rice, noodles, pasta?

I constantly get emails from people asking me: can dogs eat rice, can dogs eat pasta, can dogs eat noodles, can dogs eat rice, can dogs eat pasta, can dogs eat noodles, can dogs eat rice, can dogs eat pasta, can dogs eat pasta, can dogs eat noodles, can dogs eat noodles?

Know that dogs can eat rice, pasta, noodles, it is a matter of quantities. You can even give rice to a 2 month old puppy. I insist that the key is in the quantity and proportions.

There are even people who ask me if dogs can eat polenta. It is another type of carbohydrate and there is nothing wrong with it; as I told you before it is all a matter of quantities and proportions.

Perhaps the number one problem -but not the only one- that I have faced for many, many years in my dog nutrition practice, which I am so happy to do, is to “change people’s minds” regarding the concept of nutrition for our four-legged companions. The vast majority come to the practice expecting me to give them a “100% balanced” diet.

I am also used to the disappointed face when I tell them that this does not exist and that they are not going to achieve it with me or the best nutritionist in the world. That is a concept that the food industry has put in people’s heads. As we all like to have “the best” we can’t do less for our dog and/or cat, and if a food says “100% balanced and nutritionally complete” we believe it is so. And we live deceived thinking that we are giving them “complete nutrition”. How deluded!

Rice, pasta and noodles, why they are good or bad for dogs

The reasoning on whether dogs can eat rice or pasta is as follows:

Dogs do not need cereals in their diet, however they can live on them. Is this the best nutrition for a dog? NO. Well, if we are talking about a dog with liver problems of course using rice as an energy source, and a quality protein (WARNING! Not just any protein, because it can be a real shot to the liver) as a protein source is the best option, but those are specific cases.

So, there are people who ask me for a diet that contains “rice to fatten my dog”… Is this diet bad? NO Is it optimal or best for the dog? NO. Is it serious in the medium and long term? YES.

If we think exclusively about what is best for the dog, we know that cereals play a minimal role in its life. If the dog has gluten intolerance, then it is all the more reason to avoid cereals of all kinds (not all cereals have gluten). But we are talking about healthy patients.

I find many people very influenced by the forums, where they speak as true experts. I am a veterinarian fully dedicated to the veterinary practice of dog nutrition, and I do not consider myself a “guru” or an “expert”. I may use the term “expert” as a marketing strategy, but I am very aware that every day I learn something new about this science by attending so many patients with a thousand different problems and needs.

Can I give rice to my 2-month-old puppy?

As I told you above, dogs can eat rice and this includes puppies, but it should be given in low quantities because if protein and fat are important for dogs, in a puppy it is even more so because of the accelerated growth rate. It should be clear that rice, pasta, noodles in the diet of a puppy should not exceed 10-15% of the total diet.

Conclusion. The best nutrition for a dog is homemade, raw or cooked and whose main source of nutrients and energy is animal protein with bones (these occasionally) and fat, as well as with a certain proportion of vegetables and some other components.

But I would never demonize that the dog can eat rice, pasta or noodles –or any cereal-. If a person asks me to elaborate their dog’s diet, I tell them that this is not the best nutrition, but it is not “the worst” either. I have also lost clients because I have spoken the truth to them, and they are so influenced by the industry and by the forums that they claim the “perfect nutrition for their dog or cat” even though they do not carry it out in their daily lives, nor any animal in the universe.

You should know that dogs can eat rice, pasta or noodles, which are not bad for them, but they are NOT primary foods and much less the most important, they are COMPLEMENTARY. Understood?

Another very different thing is that laboratories sell us their food as “100% balanced and nutritionally complete” at the price of animal protein (chicken, beef, fish, rabbit, lamb…) when its main ingredient is rice, corn or any other cereal. In other words, they are deceiving us, that is what I do not accept.

If you want to know about puppy nutrition, I recommend my puppy food article.

Here is a series of recommended articles:

Calcium for adult dogs and puppies

Puppy food and food for puppies. Key tips

Can chicken broth for dogs kill yours?

Can dog eat onions? Tricky truths about forbidden foods for your dog

How to get your dog to eat kibble. 7 tricks

Foods that regenerate the liver in dogs (liver disease)

Subscribe to the free online workshop on nutrition for dogs


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