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Whenever classic snacks are mentioned, what comes to most people’s minds are rice cakes. Crispy, delicious, rice cakes are famed as low-calorie treats that you can confidently snack between meals without leaving you feeling stuffed. But can you share these snacks with your dog?
The simple answer is yes. You can share rice cakes with your dog provided that they are plain (free from flavorings that are toxic to dogs) and given in moderation. Rice, which is the main ingredient in these snacks, is a common ingredient in most commercial dog foods. Just like corn, rice is often used by many commercial dog manufacturers to bulk up the nutritional value of various dog formulations.
But Are Rice Cakes Healthy For Dogs?
The fact that you can give rice cakes to dogs without any problem doesn’t mean that the snacks are healthy for your pooch. Rice cakes are made by applying high pressure and temperature to rice grains, making the grains to expand and pack together tightly and form a popcorn-like texture. Depending on the type and brand of the cake, some manufacturers may also add flavors, sugars, salt, and preservatives.
When many dog parents check the ingredient list of rice cakes, they assume that they are healthy to their dogs because they are primarily made with rice or rice flour. However, this isn’t the case—rice cakes aren’t as healthy to your dog as you might believe for a few reasons:
- They are low in nutrients: Most rice cakes are made from refined white rice, which simply implies that the outer layers like husk, bran, and germ are removed, leaving them with very little fiber, proteins, and other nutrients. Besides, if you check the nutritional facts label on most rice cake brands, you won’t find much—no fat, no fiber, very little vitamins, and minerals, and probably a gram or two of proteins. Put simply, these snacks are mostly refined carbohydrates that have sprinkled with spices and artificial flavorings.
- Since they are made of refined white rice, rice cakes have glycemic index, which means that they may raise your dog’s blood sugar levels fast. Accordingly, the snacks aren’t recommended for dogs with insulin resistance, blood glucose imbalance, and weight loss issues.
- Depending on the type of rice cake that you buy, some brands may have high sodium levels, added sugars, and drizzles of chocolate and other sweet flavors, which may be unhealthy and even toxic to your dog.
Precautions to Take If Your Decide To Give Your Dog Rice Cakes
If you decide to share a piece of rice cake with your pooch, there are a few factors that you should keep in mind to ensure that your dog remains safe and healthy, including:
- The calories in rice—the main ingredient of rice cakes—is high for dogs. So, rice cakes should only be fed to dogs in moderation to avoid weight gain and other health problems.
- Only give your dog plain varieties of rice cakes that are free from salts, flavors, or added sauces. Flavors with added sugar and sauces may not only be toxic to your dog but may also make your dog gain unhealthy weight, especially if consumed in large quantities. Avoid rice cakes with even a hint of garlic or onion as both are extremely toxic to dogs.
- As aforementioned, refined white rice tends to have a higher glycemic index and can cause spikes in your dog’s blood sugar levels. So, if your dog is diabetic, consider giving him rice cakes that are made from brown rice and only in small quantities.
- Break the rice cakes into smaller pieces, especially if your dog is a smaller breed, so that he doesn’t choke on them.
- Like any other new food, when you are giving rice cake to your dog for the first time, start off slowly and consult your vet for more professional advice if you observe any weird symptoms.
- Dogs with sensitive stomachs may not digest rice cakes well. So, if your dog has a sensitive stomach, just avoid giving him these snacks altogether or consult your vet before you share with him the snack.
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While dogs can eat rice cakes without any problem, the snacks are not healthy for dogs, especially if taken in large quantities. So, if you decide to share some rice cakes with your pooch, do it in moderation and observe some of the above-highlighted precautions. And always consult your vet if your dog shows abnormal signs after taking rice cakes.