You left the cabinet open for a minute and your pooch found their way into the rice bag. Don’t worry, this is common dog behavior and luckily rice is not particularly harmful to dogs, but you better bring your dog to the veterinarian to get it out as soon as possible.
If your dog ate uncooked rice you should probably be more concerned about yourself and the hours of cleaning up you may have to do because dry rice works almost like a laxative to dogs and provokes very nasty diarrhea.
What should you do if your dog eats uncooked rice?
The first thing you want to do when your dog ate dry rice is to call your veterinarian to describe the specifics of the accident and get some advice.
Depending on the amount of rice eaten, the size of your dog, potential symptoms, and other factors like your dog’s medical history or particular circumstances, your veterinarian may ask you to bring your dog in or can guide you through it at home.
The problem with uncooked rice is that, sooner or later, it will come out. And when it comes out, it won’t be as pretty as it was coming in. In fact, it would be better to get the rice out before it can pass through the intestines.
If you bring your dog to the vet, they will induce vomiting through injection to avoid an accumulation of liquids in the stomach where the rice is, since there’s a small risk of absorption and bloating.
Once your dog vomits all the rice, they should be fine and there’s no need for further medication. However, some pet parents may be against the procedure because inducing vomiting can have some harmful side-effects for the stomach and intestines.
If the veterinarian agrees that your dog should be treated at home, avoid giving them food for at least 12 hours and give them plenty of water. Don’t worry, your dog can go for a few hours without food with no consequences.
Be prepared, because your pet will probably have diarrhea, so it would be better to let them outside or prepare a room for this purpose so that you have a limited space to clean afterward.
Once you let their stomach rest, you should see results already starting from the next day. Your dog may also not experience diarrhea, but you may find white specks in your dog’s poop. No need to panic, because they’re not worms, but the rice grains that come out exactly as they go in.
When your dog has passed the ‘critical hours’ you can slowly start re-introducing them to their old diet. It would be better to start with half of the amount they usually eat and to add one or two tablespoons of canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin, not pie filling) to their meal to help the stomach re-adjust.
Is uncooked rice bad for dogs?
While uncooked rice is not toxic or poisonous for dogs, it won’t be digested at all, so it will pass through the GI tract as it is and come out as it is.
Usually, most dogs experience minor discomforts like diarrhea or abdominal bloating, but a dog that ate raw rice in big quantities may be at risk of developing a blockage in the intestines.
This happens because even though grains of rice are very small, they could end up lumping together in the GI tract and form an obstruction.
The most common symptoms of GI obstruction in dogs are the following:
– Recurrent vomiting: a single episode of vomiting is normal in this situation, but if your dog experiences repeated episodes of vomiting, it becomes a concerning symptom that requires medical assistance;
– Diarrhea: diarrhea is to be expected with this kind of ingestion. Some pet parents report that it comes out as an orange-yellowish liquid with rice grain still intact. This can be a very unpleasant situation and also your dog may feel dehydrated after a diarrhea episode, so make sure they drink enough water;
– Bloody stools: this is a concerning sign that requires an immediate visit to the vet. When there is blood in the stools, there may be internal wounds in the GI tract or other problems. The stools will look dark brown/black and tarry;
– Abdominal pain: a typical symptom of gastrointestinal obstruction, though if your dog ate a lot of rice, they could experience abdominal pain even in the absence of a blockage. The abdomen of your dog will be painful to the touch and your dog will be reluctant in being handled. They may also lie down in unusual positions to avoid putting pressure on the belly;
– Lethargy: the energy levels of your dog are something very personal that changes from animal to animal and from breed to breed. However, it is easy to notice lethargy in dogs because they will simply stop being interested in the activities they usually enjoy, even walks and playtime. They will look extremely sleepy all the time and may even actually sleep much longer than usual;
– Lack of appetite: some dogs eat more and some less, but most dogs can’t resist the call of food. In the presence of GI blockage, your dog may be willing to eat but unable to keep food down. This could lead them to fall into depression and refuse food since they can’t pass it. Pain could also be another reason why your dog’s appetite suddenly disappeared;
– Dehydration: if your dog is unable to eat and drink while having diarrhea, the liquids in their body are bound to decrease drastically. Dogs start suffering from dehydration already when they have 5% less in body fluids. Their gums may turn pale and you may see them coughing or keeping their tongue out. Dehydration is very dangerous and should be treated immediately;
– Weakness: prolonged lack of food and water, along with the pain and discomfort of the obstruction, will deprive your dog of their energies. In severe cases, some dogs may be unable to walk or move properly and may experience body tremors.
Any of these symptoms requires your dog to undergo a medical examination to discuss further treatments.
If it’s been more than two hours since they ingested the rice, the food will be already in the intestines and your veterinarian will be unable to make them vomit.
Nonetheless, your dog’s stomach needs to be emptied, so your vet may decide to go for other treatments, or for invasive methods such as endoscopy or open-abdominal surgery.
Can uncooked rice kill dogs?
Some people think that rice will absorb all the liquids and acids in your dog’s stomach, causing severe dehydration and organ failure as a result of unbalanced electrolyte levels.
That’s why it is allegedly not recommended to give water to your dog, because the rice will swell and cause further troubles for your pooch.
However, there aren’t known cases of death in dogs due to uncooked rice ingestion, so we can safely consider this idea a myth. In fact, veterinarians may suggest the contrary, to give your dog plenty of water in order to help keep them hydrated and help the rice pass.
It is true that rice can help absorb part of the stomach acids, which is why it is recommended if someone suffers from gastric reflux, for example. However, its absorbing power is far from being lethal.
How to prevent your dog from eating uncooked rice again.
When you store your rice, you should consider your dog’s habits and abilities. For some dogs, it might not be enough to just close the bag of rice in a cabinet, especially if it’s on the floor level.
If possible, it would be better to store food in high places your dog cannot reach and never leave the shopping bags on the table or on the floor, because dogs are very quick thieves.
If you need to store large quantities of rice, it would be wise to use a room that is out of your dog’s “territory”, better yet if it’s one you can lock away when you don’t need it.
Can dogs eat uncooked rice?
Not only dogs cannot eat dry rice, you don’t want them to eat dry rice, because apart from the potential discomfort it may cause to your dog, things will get really messy in your house.
In fact, dogs who eat uncooked rice frequently experience episodes of diarrhea, which is why it would be wiser to withhold food for at least half a day after the ingestion.
The best thing to do if your dog just ate uncooked rice would be to go directly to the veterinarian, so they can get your pet to vomit the rice. However, this is not strictly necessary if your dog is doing fine and you can manage the situation from home.
Of course, you should always consult your veterinarian, rather than relying solely on the information you can find online, which can often be conflicting and can never replace professional advice.