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Can Dogs Eat Rice Cakes? Vet-Approved Facts and FAQs

Written by: Lindsey Lawson

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Rice Cakes? Vet-Approved Facts and FAQs

VET APPROVED

Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Rice cakes are a very popular snack that is often used as a lower-calorie alternative to bread, crackers, and chips. Since we frequently find ourselves wondering what foods in our pantry are safe for our dogs to eat, it’s important to know whether dogs can eat rice cakes, especially considering how common they are.

Rice cakes are often made with only a few ingredients and are safe for dogs to eat as long as they are plain with no added seasonings, sweeteners, or other ingredients. That doesn’t mean you should allow your dog to gorge themselves on rice cakes, though. Just because human food is safe to eat, doesn’t mean it is a beneficial addition to  their diet.

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Are Rice Cakes Good for Dogs?

Rice cakes may be safe for dogs to eat, but they aren’t going to provide much nutritional value, especially since most rice cakes are made from refined white rice which is lower in fiber and overall nutrients.

Rice cakes that are plain with no salt, sugar, or flavoring are not going to cause any harm to your dog. The biggest risk for plain rice cakes is the potential for digestive upset if eaten in large quantities. Always be wary of ingredients like chocolate, xylitol, onions, and garlic which are toxic to dogs. You also need to avoid excess salt and sugar in your dog’s diet.

A lot of commercial dog foods on the market include rice in their ingredients, and rice can be a beneficial carbohydrate for dogs. But since rice cakes are often seasoned or flavored, it’s best to avoid letting your dog snack on these and opt for high-quality dog treats instead.

Pile of three puffed rice cakes isolated on white
Image Credit: Moving Moment, Shutterstock

Why You Should Avoid Seasoned or Flavored Rice Cakes

Salt

Excessive amounts of salt could lead to salt toxicity in dogs, which is also known as hypernatremia. Sodium is typically balanced within the body, but when it is consumed in high amounts it results in too much sodium in the bloodstream, which draws water out of the cells and into the bloodstream to restore that balance.

Salt toxicity occurs when large amounts of salt are consumed at once. It can progress within 30 minutes to several hours and may cause weakness, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and seizures. Fortunately a small amount of rice cakes are not going to cause salt toxicity, however heavily salted rice cakes in large amounts are not healthy for your dog.

Sugar

Natural sugars, like those found in fruits and vegetables, are safe for dogs to eat in moderate amounts but dogs should be kept far away from granulated sugar and other varieties for many reasons. Not only can sugar lead to an upset stomach and an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria, but too much sugar regularly can lead to obesity, which can, in turn, lead to many other serious health conditions.

Artificial Flavors

Many foods on grocery store shelves are made from cheap ingredients containing artificial colors and flavors to make them look, smell, and taste better. It may be a good idea to avoid feeding your dog any foods that contain these kinds of ingredients, as they provide no nutritional value, and can potentially cause an allergic reaction.

Toxic Ingredients

Rice cakes come with a wide variety of seasonings and flavors, some of which may be toxic to your dog. As mentioned above, ingredients like chocolate, garlic, onion, and xylitol, an artificial sweetener, are all incredibly toxic to dogs, and allowing them to eat rice cakes flavored with these ingredients could be quite problematic, especially in large doses. If your dog consumes any of these ingredients, reach out to your veterinarian for further guidance right away.

close up of a dog eating from the bowl
Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

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Human Food That Makes the Best Dog Treats

Rice cakes may not be the worst snack for your dog if they are plain, but there are plenty of better options out there if you are looking for a healthy snack you can share with your beloved pup. Here are some of the top contenders.

Chicken

Boiled, plain chicken makes a great treat to share with your dog. You do need to make sure it’s plain though. So, avoid adding salt or any other seasoning, limit the amount you give, and avoid feeding off your dinner plate. Chicken is a common ingredient in many dog foods and is an excellent source of protein and amino acids.

Salmon

Salmon is another great source of protein you can offer your dog as an occasional snack. Like with chicken, make sure it’s plain with no seasoning or salt. Not only is salmon rich in protein and amino acids, but it’s also a healthy source of omega fatty acids that are great for skin and coat health.

Carrots

Dogs are free to enjoy carrots whether they are cooked or raw. They make a great low-calorie snack that is high in fiber and a great source of vitamin A and other nutrients. Make sure you cut up raw carrots well, though, as you want to make sure it’s not a choking hazard.

Green Beans

Green beans are another nutritious, low-calorie vegetable snack that is rich in fiber and various nutrients. All types of green beans are safe for dogs to eat, but make sure they are not salted or seasoned.

woman giving treat to a dog
Image Credit: EugeneEdge, Shutterstock

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a popular go-to for dogs that are having digestive issues, but it can also make a great snack or addition to their meal. Dogs tend to love the taste and it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals. You can feed your dog raw, cooked, or canned pumpkin, and even pumpkin seeds. It is important to cut up the raw pumpkin to prevent the choking hazard. Also, avoid any added ingredients to mix with the pumpkin.

Blueberries

Blueberries are rich in minerals and antioxidants and are completely safe for dogs to snack on. Their small size also makes them an excellent option for training treats.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is well-loved among the canine community and makes a great go-to for those KONG toys if you want to keep them busy trying to lick every last bit out of the toy. Avoid peanut butter with added ingredients, and be especially aware of xylitol, which could be used as an artificial sweetener in some varieties. Peanut butter should only be offered in moderate amounts, as it is high in fat and sometimes contains added salt.

Apples

Apples are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. They make an excellent treat for dogs of any age. Since apples are high in natural sugars, it’s best to keep the amount you offer moderate. Remember to remove the core and seeds, as you shouldn’t allow your dogs to eat these parts.

Sardines

Sardines are high in protein and contain healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a good idea to choose high-quality sardines that are sustainably sourced so that your pup is getting the best of the best.

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The Importance of Avoiding Table Scraps

Now that we’ve gone over why you should use caution with rice snacks and some additional snack options you can offer your dog, we need to talk about why it’s a good idea to avoid offering people food in the first place. Can it be harmless when proper safety measures are taken? Sure, but there are some considerable downsides to feeding your dog table scraps.

Begging Behavior

Feeding your dog table scraps and leftovers could begin a very problematic behavior – begging. Dogs often turn to begging once they realize that they are open to being fed human food, which of course is going to leave them wanting more. Begging can be quite an issue and difficult to resolve. Some dogs may whine, stare, try to grab food, and not allow you any space while you’re eating.

Feeding your dog when they are begging will only reinforce the behavior and make the problem worse. This is a difficult habit to break and will require a lot of patience and training so it’s best to prevent it altogether.

chihuahua dog breed eating human food
Image Credit: Bhitakbongse Leesothikul, Shutterstock

Digestive Issues

Human food can easily result in digestive upset. A dog’s digestive system is much different from ours and feeding them human food can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset. A considerable amount of human food is also full of sugar, carbohydrates, and fat, which provides little to no nutritional value to your dog.

You May Create a Picky Eater

Certain dogs may go so far as to refuse their food if they feel like they are entitled to human food. Many dogs have presented to the veterinarian due to a lack of appetite when in reality, they just no longer had an appetite for their kibble. This can cause quite a health scare as a dog owner, and you may run into issues convincing them to eat their food again.

Risk of Toxicity

We’ve talked briefly about toxicity risk, but it’s important to keep in mind that allowing your dog to eat people food regularly could potentially result in toxicity. Even if you make sure you only offer non-toxic food items as snacks, your dog may be more likely to try to sneak food from the counter or out of the trash if they know that they can have human food, and this can further open up the risk that they get into something they shouldn’t.

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Conclusion

Rice cakes are safe for dogs in small amounts as long as they are plain and free from added ingredients. Many rice cakes on the market come with added salt, seasonings, and various flavors which is a no-go for the pups. There are plenty of alternative foods that can make a healthy treat for your precious pup, but remember that sharing your food with your dog can also be very problematic as it can lead to unwanted behavioral and health issues.

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Featured Image Credit: mmkarabella, Shutterstock

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