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Can Dogs Eat Saffron Rice? Vet-Verified Facts & Safety Guide

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Saffron Rice

Can Dogs Eat Saffron Rice? Vet-Verified Facts & Safety Guide


Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo


Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

Learn more »

Saffron rice is a tasty and savory dish, and dogs may be tempted to eat it. Many dogs enjoy the taste of rice and may see no problem with eating saffron rice. However, the issue with saffron rice is that it contains ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Saffron is known to be toxic to dogs, and some saffron rice can include other dangerous ingredients as well.

So, no matter how much your dog begs, it’s best to refrain from feeding them saffron rice. Saffron rice is a risky food for dogs, and there are much safer and healthier alternatives.

Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Saffron Rice

Saffron is made from the Crocus sativus plant, also known as autumn crocus. It takes 4,000 stigmas to produce 25 grams of saffron. Several toxins, including crocins, safranal, and picrocrocin, are contained in saffron, but safranal is likely to be the problematic toxin, causing kidney damage, anemia, and depression at high doses.

The basic ingredients in saffron rice are basmati rice, saffron, extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and broth. Different versions of saffron rice can include additional ingredients like garlic, onions, bay leaves, and turmeric.

While most batches of saffron rice contain just about ¼ teaspoon of saffron, it’s still not a good idea to feed it to your dog. It’s unclear how toxic saffron is to dogs, but it can cause an upset stomach. Some evidence shows that 20 grams of saffron can cause death in dogs. So, dogs may have to eat a large amount of saffron to experience negative or fatal consequences. However, it’s still possible for them to feel sick after eating it, especially for smaller dogs.

Saffron rice also includes other ingredients that are dangerous to dogs, like garlic and onions, which both belong to the Allium family. All plants in the Allium family are toxic to dogs. All parts and forms of these plants are unsafe for dogs, including dried and powdered forms. It’s also important to note that broth used in saffron rice is usually prepared with onions or garlic.

Some saffron rice recipes use additional spices, like bay leaves, which are another ingredient that’s toxic to dogs. Recipes may also use butter or ghee instead of olive oil, and these forms of fat add no nutritional value to a dog’s diet.

Saffron rice with spices
Image Credit: Tatiana Bralnina, Shutterstock

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Saffron Rice

The effects of saffron rice will vary from dog to dog. Smaller dogs can get sick from eating small amounts, and it’s very likely that your dog will get an upset stomach if they eat a large quantity.

If you notice that your dog has eaten a small amount of saffron rice, monitor their condition and look for signs of an upset stomach. Your dog may have diarrhea or vomiting. Some dogs can feel nauseous, which is often expressed by licking their lips. Your dog may also lose their appetite and appear lethargic.

If your dog consumes a large amount of saffron rice, it’s best to contact your veterinarian. It’s also time to take your dog to the veterinarian if the upset stomach persists for more than 24 hours. The course of action your veterinarian takes will depend on the severity of your dog’s condition. Some dogs that experience severe food poisoning or dehydration may require fluid therapy. Your veterinarian may also prescribe medication and recommend a bland diet to help your dog recover.

Better Alternatives to Saffron Rice

Fortunately, you can find safe alternatives to saffron rice. You can just set aside plain cooked basmati rice while you prepare saffron rice and give it to your dog. Dogs don’t require any salt or seasoning in their food, so it’s best to serve basmati rice plain.

You can also feed your dog unseasoned and cooked ingredients from dishes that pair well with saffron rice. For example, if you’re making a chicken dish with saffron rice, you can cook a small piece of unseasoned chicken and feed it to your dog. Dogs can also enjoy certain fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, apples, and bell peppers.

dog eating apple
Image Credit: Agnes Kantaruk, Shutterstock


It’s best to avoid feeding your dog saffron rice because it has multiple health risks and doesn’t have many nutritious benefits. Your dog can enjoy some tasty treats while you cook saffron rice, including certain fruits and vegetables and unseasoned cuts of fully cooked meat. If your dog ends up sneaking a bite of saffron rice, make sure to monitor their condition and contact your veterinarian if they show signs of an upset stomach or food poisoning.

Featured Image Credit:, Shutterstock

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