Although it may not sound too exciting, boiled chicken and rice is the canine equivalent to the age-old, human remedy of chicken soup. This homemade dog food can serve as an excellent short-term alternative to their typical diet when your furry friend is feeling under the weather. It’s bland enough for most dogs with upset stomachs or temporary digestive issues, yet still enticing to picky eaters.
A sick dog is a sad dog, and that’s the last thing pet parents want. You can make this fast, simple chicken and rice for dogs recipe when your sidekick is experiencing diarrhea or tummy troubles and hopefully set them on their way to happier times.
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When to Choose Chicken and Rice for Dogs
Many human foods are off limits to our canine friends, but chicken and rice are both on the list of safe foods for pet parents to use. This basic recipe is easy on your dog’s digestive system and therefore a good option if they have diarrhea.
When your doggo is experiencing this less-than-pleasant aliment, they tend to do best with low-fat, easily digestible food. Plus, the basic combo is less likely to cause an upset stomach than their typical kibble or canned cuisine.
What makes chicken and rice ideal for dogs with an upset stomach?
- Boiled chicken is low in fat and high in protein, says Dr. Stephanie Howe, DVM, a pet health representative at Chewy.
- Rice is starchy and low in fiber, which creates a binding effect.
How Long Should You Keep Your Pup on a Chicken and Rice Diet?
Chicken and rice definitely isn’t meant to be given as an everyday dog food, nor is it suitable to be used in place of regular dog treats. It’s simply a short-term bland diet option intended for a sick dog.
A dog with diarrhea, for example, may be on the chicken and rice diet for up to one week, following a 12- to 24-hour fast (depending on your vet’s advice).
“With cases of diarrhea, we generally recommend continuing the boiled chicken and rice until the stools are back to normal,” Dr. Howe says.
Pet parents shouldn’t wait an entire week to call the vet, though, if there’s no early improvement in symptoms. Dr. Howe emphasizes the importance of making sure you're on the right track.
“If your pet’s diarrhea is not starting to resolve after a few days,” she explains, “then it is important to contact their veterinarian.”
The reason your dog shouldn’t eat chicken and rice long-term is because it isn’t a balanced diet.
“It’s short on several essential vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, and it doesn’t provide the well-rounded diet your pet’s typical food does,” Dr. Howe explains.
How Much Chicken and Rice Should I Give My Dog?
The general rule of thumb is to replace your dog’s normal food with an equal amount of the chicken and rice dog food recipe. For example, if your dog eats half of a cup of kibbles for breakfast and another half of a cup for dinner, you’d sub one full cup of chicken and rice portioned throughout the day.
Don’t go all in at once, though.
“If your pet has been vomiting, it is best to try out small portions at a time to make sure that they are holding it down,” Dr. Howe says. “Starting with a teaspoon for small dogs or a tablespoon for large dogs and giving that for the first hour to see if it holds would be best.”
If your pup is able to tolerate the initial amount, you can slowly increase the volume as the day wears on. “Small frequent meals [are] better than one or two large meals,” she says.
Note that it could take a day or two to get your dog back on their normal volume of food. In this case, however, it’s better to feed them a little less for a few days than to feed them too much, too fast.
How to Transition Your Dog Back to Their Typical Dog Food
Once your dog’s stomach is back on track and their digestive system has returned to normal, they should slowly return to their regular dog food. The key here is to take your time.
Spend about one week transitioning your dog back to their regular diet using the following formula:
- Days 1 and 2: 1/4 regular food to 3/4 chicken and rice
- Days 3 and 4: half regular food, half chicken and rice
- Days 5 and 6: 3/4 regular food to 1/4 chicken and rice
- Day 7 and beyond: 100 percent of their typical dog food!
Do’s and Don’ts of Chicken and Rice for Dogs
- Use brown rice. While some vets recommend brown rice, it has extra fiber, which can make it harder to digest. “Long-grain white rice is best for soothing a grumpy tummy,” Dr. Howe says.
- Overlook underlying health issues. Unless your vet recommends it, chicken and rice should not be used in place of your pet’s normal food if they have other health conditions. “Pets with underlying issues like food allergies, chronic diarrhea, pancreatitis, etc., should not be given chicken and rice meals unless directed to do so by their veterinarian,” Dr. Howe warns.
- Add any seasonings or extras to the recipe. The point of the chicken and rice recipe is to soothe your dog’s stomach by using easily digestible, plain foods.
- Add chicken stock in place of water if you want to get a little fancy. Be certain to use homemade chicken broth and not store-bought chicken broth that may have added ingredients. The latter is generally composed of meats and veggies, which means it likely contains spices, like garlic and onion. “Those can both be unsafe for your dog to consume,” Dr. Howe notes.
- Call your vet if you’re concerned, if your pet’s health seems to be worsening, or if your doggo is still experiencing diarrhea after a few days on the chicken and rice diet.
Now that you know the what, when, why and how of the temporary chicken and rice dog food diet, let's get cooking! Some homemade dog food recipes can be a little complicated, but this one couldn’t be any simpler.
Remember, if your dog has a history of dietary sensitivity, you may want to check with your veterinarian before deviating from his regular diet.
Comforting Chicken and Rice for Dogs
1 cup white rice, uncooked
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Water (or optional chicken broth)
1Put the specified amounts of rice and water in a pot and allow to cook as recommended by the manufacturer.
2While the rice cooks, place chicken breasts in another pot and fill with enough water to submerge completely. Cover pot.
3Boil chicken on high heat for about 12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through. (If you’re using homemade broth, cook the chicken before the rice, making sure to skim any fat off the broth surface.)
4Remove chicken from water and use a fork to shred into bite-sized pieces.
5Mix chicken in uniformly with cooked rice. 6. Allow food to cool completely before serving; excess can be stored in the fridge or freezer.
More Canine-Approved Comfort Foods: