Let's talk about rice and carbs...
Adding rice to your dog's food bowl can be a useful thing in some cases.
I myself use brown rice every day for my boy Hoss, who has an anal tumor the size of a bloody grapefruit, as this particular fiber source tends to help with gastrointestinal motility.
Its high in polysaccharides which help with regulating glucose and to be honest, poops achieved without brown rice in his diet are never as 'smooth sailing' as those with.
Its not 'Dr Who' in our house, its all Dr. Pooh!
For those dogs who run and play a lot, the extra whoomph of carbohydrates can help their recovery after exercise. And, as we all know, complex carbohydrates contain essential vitamins and minerals. Also, because they don't 'run' out of the body as fast as sweet corn, (which my friend hilariously says 'the body only rents' ) they provide slow energy release that keeps your dog feeling satisfied for longer.
Dogs with kidney issues need to be given the okay to have brown rice as, along with being packed with essential B vitamins, and minerals, it is high in phosphorus. If your dog has chronic kidney disease his kidneys can't remove phosphorous very well, you see.
For dogs that are sick, there is nothing to beat twice-boiled meat (and that doesn't just mean chicken, it means whatever meat your dog does well with, from beef to turkey to pork to chicken) served 50/50 with white rice.
The water content of the rice, the lack of fat in the meat and the glucose provide sustenance without risk of 'chocolate rain' or 'Hershey's squirts'. You can add a little pure pumpkin, and even an egg to provide more nutrition as the dog's digestion improves.
But what if your dog is fed up with rice and wants an occasional change? My dog Steve gives me stink eye every now and again like an entitled brat in a restaurant and I so have to come up with an alternative.
My three top tips today would be to consider wholewheat pasta, Quinoa and Couscous as pantry additions.
Couscous is a good source of fiber, it is high in selenium and contains way more nutrients than white rice...which is about as nutritionally beneficial as eating cardboard, lets be honest. It really only is useful if your dog has the $hits or a delicate tummy.
My dogs get Couscous maybe once every couple of weeks, it takes five minutes to make and is a different texture and taste to keep things interesting.
I add a little coconut oil and some scrambled egg (sadly Avian flu stops me from giving raw eggs right now) to my couscous to bind it a bit and then I use it in the same quantities as I would rice. No more than 10-15% of the meal, unless they have diarrhea, and always depending on the dog's individual needs.
Another possible addition is Quinoa.
This seed is a good consideration because it is a whole protein as well as a carbohydrate, and is very nutrient dense. Please remember though that it if you are watching your dogs protein intake, factor this in.
Last week I cooked up some wholewheat Penne pasta to use as their small amount of carb and then grated a tiny little smidge of Parmesan (when I say tiny, I mean TINY...it's salty!) on top to tantalize their taste buds. With a 'pasta sauce' of lots of beef, plus a little zucchini, carrot, blueberries, rutabaga, spinach and parsley, all we needed was a bottle of Chianti and they'd have been good to go!
All of a sudden they dug out their shark skin suits, started cracking their knuckles and started acting like Don Corleone saying things like 'You sleep with the fishes if we dont get this again tomorrow' and 'Bada Bing' which was odd, but, ok.
Please do go and have fun when cooking for your dog.
Introduce all changes slowly and gradually; try to start with small additions to the current recipe you use, and then build on them bit by bit once you know they work.
And you know what? Just like you don't measure every single item of food that goes into your mouth, you just go by sight, don't you?
Well, you can do the same for your dog. If you go a little over or under on anything, no one is going to die, but they will SO appreciate the effort that you have made to cook a beautiful, fresh, nutritious meal.
Trust me, the way to a dog's (healthy) heart IS through his stomach!