Rice cakes are a popular snack that can be found in most pantries, a healthy snack made with only a few ingredients. But are they safe for dogs to eat? The short answer is yes, rice cakes are safe for dogs to eat, but only in small pieces and in moderation. While most dog foods contain rice, it’s important to refrain from feeding your dog too much and causing them digestive issues.
There are also some caveats to giving your dog rice cakes, including flavor, size, and potentially dangerous ingredients. Before giving Fido a piece of your afternoon rice cake snack, read on to make sure your rice cakes are safe.
Can Dogs Eat Rice Cakes?
As we said above, rice cakes themselves aren’t inherently dangerous. Although rice cakes are made with enriched white rice and have limited health benefits, rice cakes are safer compared to other human food. The problem comes down to the other ingredients, especially with the flavored varieties. Since rice cakes come in a wide variety of flavors and brands, most will not be deemed safe to eat.
If you are going to give your dog rice cakes, only feed them plain ones that are low in sodium. Even plain rice cakes with high amounts of salt can cause dehydration, which can lead to other complications. As long as you’re feeding your dog a balanced diet, the occasional piece of plain rice cake is fine.
Are Rice Cakes Good for Dogs?
Rice cakes may be safe to eat, but they’re not exactly healthy for your dog either. Rice is a popular ingredient in dog food, but it’s just as prominent in human food. It’s one of the most consumed grains on the planet and it’s one of the best sources of carbohydrates for humans. That being said, even rice can cause some problems by spiking your dog’s blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for dogs with diabetes and weight loss.
Most rice products also contain enriched puffed white rice, which has almost no nutritional value by the time it’s been processed into a rice cake. As long as you’re feeding your dog a balanced diet, the occasional piece of rice cake is fine.
Health Benefits (or Risks) of Rice Cakes for Dogs
Rice cakes are known as a low-calorie snack for humans, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily healthy for dogs. As we said above, rice can even cause some issues for certain dogs. White rice is considered to be an “empty-calorie” food compared to brown rice, which means white rice cakes have limited health benefits per caloric serving. There are other human foods that can benefit your dog, even with fewer calories.
The main benefit is that they’re safe for your dog to consume, so there’s no need to rush to an emergency vet hospital if your dog gets ahold of one. Rice is a good source of carbohydrates and a small amount of protein, so that can be a potential benefit. However, there are only traces of these nutrients after a rice cake has been processed. They can also be a potential choking hazard if you give too big of a piece to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Flavored Rice Cakes?
No, dogs should not eat flavored rice cakes. Most flavored rice cakes are made with dairy and sugar, two ingredients that may affect your dog’s health. Sugar not only causes blood sugar spikes and weight gain, but it can also cause dental problems as well. Dairy is a popular ingredient that can be safe in small quantities but can cause painful indigestion in dogs with lactose intolerance.
Other rice cakes that are made with spices like garlic and onion powder should be completely avoided. Garlic and onions are toxic to dogs and can cause damage to red blood cells, as well as moderate to severe digestive issues. Spices are, in general, not deemed safe for your dog to consume, so it’s best to avoid feeding them to prevent a medical emergency.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Rice Cakes?
No. Since rice cakes are always processed and baked, this shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re making rice cakes at home, do not feed your dog raw rice. Raw rice can absorb stomach acid and almost double in size, leading to a bloated, painful abdomen. It is also very difficult for your dog’s stomach to digest and process, which will lead to painful diarrhea. Thankfully, rice cakes are rarely made at home and the store-bought cakes are ready to eat.
Can Puppies Eat Rice Cakes?
While rice cakes are generally considered safe, it’s best not to feed them to puppies. Since puppies have extremely sensitive stomachs and their bodies are constantly changing, it’s better to stick to puppy-friendly snacks. That being said, if your puppy gets ahold of a small piece of rice cake, there’s no need to panic. The rice cake might cause some indigestion, but it should not cause any significant health issues.
Should I Give My Dog Rice Cakes?
There’s always a small risk with giving your dog any human food, especially when it comes to processed snacks. Rice cakes may not be toxic or dangerous, but they’re not exactly a healthy snack for your dog. If you really can’t resist the urge, it’s okay to feed your dog a tiny piece here or there. However, there are plenty of human food options like blueberries or strawberries that have plenty of nutrients.
Another issue with feeding people food is that it teaches your dog to beg for your food, regardless of what you’re eating.
How to Prepare Rice Cakes for Dogs:
Rice cakes are safe for dogs, as long as they’re plain and low in sodium. You may choose to spread something dogs can eat on it, like peanut butter.
The first step to feeding anything to your dog is to read the label, checking for potentially toxic ingredients. If your store-bought or homemade rice cakes are deemed safe, break off a piece that your dog can easily chew and not choke on.
For small, toy-sized dogs, the piece should be no bigger than a quarter. For medium and large dogs, break off a piece no bigger than 1 inch by 1 inch. This is to prevent choking in case your dog decides to swallow it. We recommend only one piece for small dogs and up to three small pieces for large dogs. If this is the first time your dog has had rice cakes, we recommend feeding only one piece to see if there are any digestive issues.
Are Homemade Rice Cakes Better?
Generally speaking, anything homemade is usually safer for you and your dog to eat. Because homemade recipes include a list of ingredients, it’s easy to assess whether or not the homemade item is safe. If you made rice cakes at home and they’re unflavored with no spices or sugar, then they should be safe for your dog to eat. In fact, adding a little natural peanut butter can even be a fun treat once in a while. As long as there are no harmful ingredients, homemade rice cakes can be safe.
Rice cakes might be a healthier alternative to other foods for humans, but they’re also safe for your dog to eat in small quantities. If you drop a piece of a plain, unflavored rice cake and your dog eats it, there’s no need to panic. Breaking off a small piece is also okay, but there are better things to feed your dog. If you’re determined to share your rice cake, just make sure the piece is small enough that your dog cannot choke.
As with any new food you introduce to your dog, feed it slowly over time to ensure your dog’s system doesn’t react badly to it.
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