How to Prepare Chicken and Rice for Dogs
Homemade chicken and rice is a bland food source often recommended by veterinarians to help dogs recover from diarrhea and/or vomiting. It is an easily digestible low-fat, single-protein, and single-carbohydrate source diet recommended especially for cases of gastrointestinal upset. This protein and starch combination can also stimulate appetite when a dog is ill or recovering from surgery. While it's not recommended for long-term use, cooked chicken and white rice has enough nutritional properties to put your dog back on the road to wellness.
Preparing to Cook
1. Purchase the best quality chicken you can afford to limit your dog's exposure to toxins.
Boneless chicken breasts are the easiest option because you will not have to remove fat or bones from the chicken.
- Look for chicken that is raised without hormones if possible.
2. Buy a package of short or long grain white rice.
Avoid quick-cooking rice for this dog food recipe, since this product has lower nutritional value than its long-cooking counterpart.
- Brown rice may be used, but it must be cooked longer so that it is fully cooked and soft enough to avoid irritating the dog’s stomach or intestine.
- Some sources may say to avoid brown rice because it has too much fiber, but this is a myth. Fiber helps promote and regulate normal bowel function. Veterinary nutritionists believe that fiber shortens intestinal transit rate in dogs with slow transit time and prolongs the rate in dogs with rapid transit time (in other words, it makes constipated dogs poop, but firms the stool in dogs with diarrhea).
- There is no need to buy organic or non-GMO labeled rice; there has been no evidence to tie these products to change in nutritional quality or arsenic levels in rice.
3. Prepare the chicken for cooking.
Chicken can be cooked bone-in, but the meat must be removed from the bone after cooking. However, the chicken will cook faster and more thoroughly if you de-bone and cut it prior to cooking or purchase boneless chicken.
- Cut the chicken off of the bone (or buy boneless chicken) and cut away fat.
- Cube chicken into half-inch cubes for small dogs or 1-inch cubes for medium or large breed dogs. Dogs that are missing many teeth may need to have even smaller pieces of food.
Cooking the Chicken and Rice
1. Place the chicken in a large stockpot.
Fill with enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the chicken until the meat is fully white inside.
- The cook time will vary between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Bone-in chicken will need longer.
- If the chicken is not fully cooked, your dog could be at risk for increased diarrhea and vomiting due to the bacteria found in raw or under cooked chicken.
2. Remove the chicken from the water and allow it to cool completely.
Reserve the broth for later use. You can help the chicken cool more quickly by spreading it out on a baking sheet or by placing it in a colander and running cool water over it.
3. Pull any bones out of the cooled chicken.
Separate the meat and discard the bones. Then cut the chicken into pieces that are a half inch or smaller for small breed dogs or one inch or smaller for medium or large breed dogs.
- Be sure that your dog cannot access the chicken bones, either in the chicken pieces or from the trash can. Chicken bones can splinter and become lodged in or puncture your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestines. This could be fatal.
4. Skim any fat from the top of the cooled chicken broth and pour the remaining fluid into a container.
If you cut the fat off of the chicken prior to cooking, there may be little or no fat to skim off. Measure 2.5 cups (591.47 ml) of the chicken broth and pour it back into the pot.
5. Bring the chicken broth to a boil.
While waiting for the broth to boil, you can begin to prepare the rice, which you will cook in the broth.
6. Measure 1 cup (236.58 ml) of rice (for a big dog !
) and rinse it thoroughly. Rinse the rice in a pan, a rice cooker insert, or in a bowl. Use plenty of water and stir the rice around with your fingers while it is submerged. Rinse several times until the water runs clear; this step helps remove excess starches and arsenic from the rice.
7. Cook the rice in the chicken broth.
Once the chicken broth is boiling, pour the cup of rice into the broth. Return to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and cook for 20 minutes (brown rice will likely need 40-45 minutes). The rice will be slightly soggy and soft when done, and all of the water should be absorbed.
8. Allow the cooked rice to completely cool.
The process can be expedited by spreading the rice out on top of a baking pan and fanning it with a sheet of cardboard.
Feeding your Dog
1. Add the cooked chicken to the rice and blend with a fork.
Your rice to chicken ratio should be between 2:1 and 3:1. For example, 2 to 3 cups of rice should be mixed with 1 cup of chicken.
2. Serve your chicken and rice dog food in your dog’s normal dish.
Follow your veterinarian’s instructions about feeding the dog, but generally, you would feed a little at a time to a dog that has been vomiting. If your dog holds the food down, give him a bit more the next time, working your way towards a full portion at your dog’s regular meal times.
3. Transition from chicken and rice to regular dog food.
After several days of successful chicken and rice food, you can begin to add the dog’s normal kibble into the chicken and rice mix. Add more kibble each day, reducing the amount of chicken and rice, as you gradually transition back to a normal diet over a period of 4-5 days.
- Be sure to consult your veterinarian about the transition back to normal food. Depending on the dog’s specific condition, you may need to feed the dog a chicken-and-rice diet longer than a few days.
4. Call your veterinarian if the dog's symptoms don't improve.
The chicken and rice diet is meant to be a temporary at-home treatment. If your dog’s diarrhea is not cleared in the expected time frame given to you by your veterinarian, or the diarrhea stays very watery for 3 days or more, call your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian will tell you if you need to bring your animal in for a recheck and may send home additional medication or give you some advice over the phone of what to do next, such as adding in canned pumpkin or other easy things to try.
- Consult with your veterinarian before making a dog food recipe. Your vet can verify that your dog's condition may be alleviated with a bland diet like this or suggest other medical intervention if necessary.
- Dogs cannot process seasoning the way humans can. Do not use salt, pepper, or any other spices when making homemade dog food.
- This bland diet is not meant to be a complete feed for the long term. There are essential vitamins and minerals that would be missing if your dog is only on chicken and rice its whole life. Consult a veterinarian about sources of good homemade diet recipes, if you are seeking to make homemade food for your dog regularly.
- If your dog continues to vomit, call your veterinarian immediately. Dogs (especially small dogs) can become dehydrated very quickly with vomiting, so it is critical to keep them hydrated for their illness to improve. The more dehydrated they become, the worse their symptoms will get and it will begin to affect other organs, such as the kidneys.
- Do not use any oils and remove all fats from the meat you cook. These compounds require the pancreas to work harder to digest and this can cause inflammation in this organ.