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When your dog is not feeling well, your vet may suggest that you put your pup on a diet of chicken and rice for a few days. It is a great way to settle their stomach, restore their appetite, and get them healthy again quickly.
But while it sounds like an easy thing to do, too many loving pet parents get it wrong and end up hurting rather than helping their canine friend.
In this article, we will go through everything you need to know about feeding your dog chicken and rice, starting with when and why to do it.
We will also look at what kind of chicken and rice to use, how to prepare it, and how much chicken and rice you should be giving your dog by weight.
Finally, we will look at a few alternatives to chicken and rice as a diet for sick dogs, and when and why you might want to consider these options.
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When To Feed Your Dog Chicken And Rice
Your vet will tell you when you should put your dog on a diet of chicken and rice, which is also often called a bland diet.
Your vet will usually suggest this diet when your dog:
- Has been vomiting for six hours or longer
- Is consistently suffering with diarrhea
- Has serious gas or constipation
- Has a loss of appetite
- Is recovering from surgery or a serious illness
If you need to put your dog on an elimination diet in order to detect allergies or sensitivities to something they are eating, your vet may also suggest that you start your pooch on a diet of chicken and rice, and then start gradually introducing other items into their diet to measure their reaction.
Whatever the reason, your vet will tell you what to look out for in order to know when you can start transitioning your dog back onto their normal food.
They may also ask you to bring in a fecal sample for testing. This is unpleasant but necessary, as it is the only way to detect if your dog is suffering from something like intestinal parasites, in which case they will need more than a “bland” diet, but rather medication.
Your vet will never suggest that you put your dog on a long-term diet of chicken and rice, as it does not contain all of the nutrients dogs need to survive. So, while it can do them good for a few days, if they spend a few months on this diet they will become deficient in other areas.
Why Chicken And Rice?
Chicken and rice are suggested as a bland diet that will be easy for your dog to digest. This is because it is simple, containing just one protein and one carbohydrate source, and also very low in fat.
The protein and starch combination that exists in a meal of chicken and white rice has the potential to stimulate a dog’s appetite.
Both chicken and rice are also very healthy for pups.
Chicken is high in protein, which makes it a great source of energy for dogs. It is also rich in Omega 6 fatty acids, which nourish their skin and coat, and full of essential amino acids and glucosamine, the latter of which is essential for healthy bones.
Rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. It has lots of vitamins D and G, which are great for heart health, as well as calcium, iron, and riboflavin. Rice also prompts the growth of good bacteria, which can help regulate bowel movements.
When you are feeding your dog rice as part of a regular diet, brown rice is recommended. It is higher in nutrients than white rice, and white rice has a relatively high glycemic level, which means giving a lot of it to your dog can have negative consequences, such as potentially causing diabetes.
But, when it comes to the chicken and rice that you feed a sick dog, white rice is recommended. This is because white rice is easy to digest, unlike brown rice, and is full of the starch essential to stimulate your dog’s appetite.
How To Feed Your Dog Chicken And Rice
How To Prepare Chicken And Rice For Your Dog
Feeding your dog chicken and rice starts with preparing the meal correctly. As we have already said, you should be using white rice rather than brown. You should also be using only white chicken meat, with all the bones and fat removed.
To prepare the meal, start by boiling the chicken until cooked through. Drain away all water, and then cut the chicken into small pieces for your dog.
You can boil the rice as you would normally, or you can boil the rice in the chicken broth you drained away from your cooked chicken.
Whatever you do, do not use any seasonings when preparing either the chicken or the rice, as these can be toxic to your dog. This also means not cooking with oils or butter. As much as possible, you want to avoid adding anything more to the dish.
For more information read our article: What Can or Can’t Dogs Eat.
Mix the chicken and rice together at a ratio of one-to-two. So, if you make one cup of the meal, you will want ⅓ of a cup of chicken and ⅔ of a cup of rice.
Let the meal cool completely before giving it to your dog, as hot food can damage their tongue and mouth.
If you decide to make a larger batch, you can store the prepared meat in the fridge for three of four days, and in the freezer for up to two months.
How Much Chicken And Rice To Give Your Dog By Weight
When giving your dog their chicken and rice, you need to make sure you are giving them the right amount.
The dish may be higher in calories than the food that you usually give your dog, so you may need to give them less of the dish than you might expect.
A standard chicken and rice meal prepared in the way described above will contain between 350 and 400 calories per cup. As a general rule of thumb, dogs need between 25 and 30 calories per day per pound of their body weight.
Here’s a table of how much chicken and rice to give your dog by weight based on our “general rule of thumb”:
Chicken And Rice For Dogs By Weight Chart
|Dog’s Weight||Chicken & Rice Per Day|
|10 lbs||.75 Cups|
|20 lbs||1.5 Cups|
|30 lbs||2.25 Cups|
|40 lbs||3 Cups|
|50 lbs||3.75 Cups|
|60 lbs||4.5 Cups|
|70 lbs||5.25 Cups|
|80 lbs||6 Cups|
*This is an approximation of how much chicken and rice you should feed your dog per day. Check with your vet before feeding your dog any new foods.
How To Deliver Your Dog Their Chicken And Rice
Rather than splitting your dog’s food over two meals a day, you will want to feed them smaller portions four to six times a day. This causes less stimulation to the stomach, which reduces the muscular contractions of the stomach, which can help ease vomiting and diarrhea.
Your veterinarian will probably advise you to feed your dog this diet exclusively for two or three days, or tell you what to look out for to determine when your pup is feeling better. They may also suggest that you have your dog fast for a day before putting them on the bland diet.
When you are ready to switch them back to their normal diet, don’t do this as one move, but rather stagger it.
Start reducing their number of meals, and start mixing their chicken and rice dish with their standard food, beginning by making their meal just 25% standard food and gradually working up to 100 percent over the course of about a week.
Dogs have very sensitive stomachs, and sudden changes in their food could put you back to square one, in that you have a vomiting dog on your hands again.
Alternatives To Chicken And Rice
There are a variety of reasons why you might want to feed your dog an alternative to chicken and rice when they aren’t feeling well. One of the main reasons is that chicken is a very common allergen among dogs, so it could be the last thing you want to put in your pooch’s bowl.
Similarly, if your dog is suffering from constipation rather than diarrhea, you might want to look for some alternatives.
Pumpkin For Dogs
Pumpkin is another food that is great for dogs with upset stomachs, especially if the problem is constipation. It is high in the type of fiber that best regulates the canine digestive system.
It is also full of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B6, C, and E, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese.
If your dog is constipated, it can be worth adding two tablespoons of pumpkin to their chicken and rice dish.
Make sure not to prepare it with any seasonings since, as we have already said, many of the seasonings that humans eat are toxic to dogs.
OUR EXPERIENCE: We add a little bit of pumpkin to our dog’s food when they have an upset stomach. You can buy a whole can of pumpkin at your local grocery store, but make sure you purchase plain pumpkin that has zero additives.
WE LIKE: Weruva Pumpkin Patch – It costs more than a can of pumpkin from your grocery store, but we like having a small little pouch of pumpkin rather than getting a whole can of pumpkin.
If your dog is just not coping with solid foods, bone broth can be a healthy liquid alternative to keep their strength up until they are ready to try something more substantial. It will also work to restore their appetite.
To prepare the broth:
- Fill a crockpot with beef marrow bones or bones with lots of joints like chicken legs.
- Cover the bones with two to three inches of water, and cook on low heat for about 24 hours.
- Remove the bones and let the broth cool in the fridge for two to three hours.
- You can then scoop off the fat that will have risen to the top.
If you keep the broth in the fridge, it will form a jelly-like substance/ When you are ready to feed it to your dog, just heat up a portion to make it liquid again. Make sure it is sufficiently cool before putting it in your dog’s bowl.
Whatever you do, don’t give your dog the bones you used to create the broth. Bones boiled in this manner become very brittle and can easily break into sharp pieces that are very dangerous for your dog to be chewing on.
Human baby food can also be a good alternative, as it too is designed to be easy to digest. You can safely feed your dog one of the meat-based dishes of the Stage II variety.
This is a reasonable alternative if your dog is allergic to chicken. But always check all of the ingredients to ensure that no seasonings or spices have been added to the food.
OUR EXPERIENCE: When Linus was put on heart medication and it suppressed his appetite. He stopped eating his regular food. Our vet recommended trying baby food and it worked well for a short while. Make sure you read the label of any human food you give your dog and be sure it does not contain anything that may be harmful to your dog. We found some of the baby foods contained garlic and onions which could have potentially been harmful to Linus.
Commercial Dog Food Alternatives
If you aren’t keen on making your own, it is possible to buy “bland diet” dog food, which is essentially chicken and rice prepared for you.
There are currently two leading brands on the market.
This meal essentially is chicken and rice soaked and canned for you, and preserved to last a little bit longer.
The major benefit with this option, aside from not having to make it yourself, is that it also contains a nutrient pack, which is common in dog foods to ensure your dog is getting everything they need.
The list of supplements added to this product has been cut back to ensure it doesn’t contain anything that might irritate your dog’s stomach.
The company also makes a Lamb and Rice version of the dish, which is ideal if your pooch is allergic to chicken.
The second dog food is a bit more complicated to prepare, as it comes freeze-dried and you need to boil it in water for 15 to 20 minutes and then let it cool in order to be able to feel it to your dog.
But aside from that, the dish is more basic, containing just the chicken protein and rice carbohydrate.
The company makes a number of varieties, so there is something for every allergy sufferer and fussy eater.
They even make a rice, chicken, and pumpkin recipe, which is great for constipated dogs. Available recipes include:
- Rice, Chicken, and Pumpkin
- Rice, Turkey, and Sweet Potato
- Rice, Hamburger, and Sweet Potato
- Rice, Chicken, and Bone Broth
- Rice, Hamburger, and Bone Broth
- Rice and Salmon
FAQs About Feeding Your Dog Chicken And Rice
Can Dogs Eat Chicken And Rice Every Day?
It is not a good idea to keep your dog on a daily diet of chicken and rice for long. While this dish is extremely healthy for dogs, it does not contain all of the nutrients they need, which they get from other sources such as red meats and vegetables.
Also, dogs tend to develop allergies to the foods they eat the most. If you consistently feed them chicken and rice for an extended time, they will probably develop an allergy to chicken, which will force you to change their diet again, in a relatively drastic way.
How Much Chicken And Rice Should I Feed my Dog?
How much chicken and rice you should be feeding your dog depends mostly on their size and weight.
Assuming you already have them on a diet set at the right calorie level for them, you will want to give them about the same number of calories in chicken and rice. A cup of chicken on rice contains between 350 and 400 calories.
As a general rule, dogs need 25 to 30 calories per pound of weight per day, though this does differ depending on the dog.
For example, older dogs are less active and have a slower metabolism, so they generally need fewer calories in their diets.
For more on the best foods for senior dogs read: Best Senior Dog Foods.
Can Rice And Chicken Constipate A Dog?
A chicken and rice diet should not cause your dog constipation if you are giving them the correct recipe, that is the white meat of chicken (without bones) and white rice. Brown rice can be difficult to digest and therefore cause constipation.
If your dog is becoming constipated on a diet of chicken and rice, drop the rice and just give them shredded chicken. You can also give them a few tablespoons of cooked pumpkin each day, which is full of fiber that will help fight constipation.
How Long Should I Feed My Dog Boiled Chicken And Rice?
Your vet will tell you what signs to look out for to see when your dog is ready to transition off their bland chicken and rice diet and back onto their regular food.
Normally, your dog should only need to be kept on a strict chicken and rice diet for two to three days.
There are exceptions, for example, if you are using chicken and rice as part of an elimination diet or if your dog is recovering from serious surgery.
But after their two or three days on chicken and rice, don’t just switch them back to their standard food. This sudden switch can reignite the problems that caused you to move them onto a bland diet in the first place.
Gradually transition them back onto their regular food over the course of about a week, mixing a little bit of the standard food in with the chicken and rice, and then gradually increasing the proportion of standard food in the mix.
In the past, when my dogs got upset stomachs we’ve boiled chicken and given white rice and sometimes supplementing with pumpkin and it usually works wonders for getting their plumbing back on track.
As mentioned earlier we usually keep our dogs on this diet for only a few days before transitioning back to their regular food.
A bland diet of chicken and rice is a great way to help a dog that is suffering from digestive issues.
It can also help dogs that are suffering from a loss of appetite, and can be a great base for an elimination diet to detect allergies and food sensitivities.
But if you do it wrong, you can find yourself hurting your dog rather than helping them.
For example, while brown rice is generally recommended as being better for dogs, when it comes to sick pooches, they need the starch in white rice, which is also easier to digest.
Also, if you add seasonings, trying to make the food more palatable for your dog, you can harm them, as many of the seasonings we humans use are toxic to dogs.
Learn how to feed your dog chicken and rice the right way in order to ensure you put your dog on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.
How about you guys?
What do you do when your dog gets an upset stomach?
Tell us about your remedies and recommendations in the comments section below.
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