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The truth about brewer's rice in pet food

Get the low down on brewer's rice in your pets food
Get the low down on brewer's rice in your pets food
Photo by BuzzFarmers CC BY

When reading the ingredient’s list on a bag of dog food it is easy to become confused. Some ingredients are simple- meats, fruits and vegetables. Even some vitamins and minerals are familiar. But some items in that list baffle pet owners.

I often get questions about brewer’s rice. What is it? Why is it in dog food? Where does it come from? There are common misconceptions about brewer’s rice that should be cleared up. With the right information you can make the best decisions for your dog’s diet.

Brewer’s rice is small fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice and can be found in some dog and cat foods. This type of rice was traditionally used for brewing alcohol and is where the name ‘brewer’s rice’ originated from. The fragments of rice are not aesthetically pleasing. The perfect kernels go to human food and the broken kernels go to dog food. Rice is a grain. Grains are easy to obtain and inexpensive and are often used in pet food as a filler.

Brewer’s rice- also known as broken rice- is an easily digested carbohydrate that contains fiber. Fiber is important in a dog’s diet. Although fragments may contain fewer nutrients than a whole grain of rice it is not necessarily a bad ingredient. It is filler- a by-product created when milling human grade food. It does not contain a large amount of nutritional value nor is it harmful to cats and dogs unless they are allergic.

Brewer’s rice is sold exclusively for dairy feed and pet food. This bulky fiber will fill your dog up without harming him. It is found in some super premium dog foods and almost all grocery grade dog foods.

The key to your dog’s health in regards to brewer’s rice is where it is located on the ingredient’s list. Most super premium foods use ground rice which is richer in nutrients. It is not uncommon to see ground rice listed third or fourth on the ingredients list. Brewer’s rice however should not come third or fourth. The more brewers’ rice, the more carbohydrates and too many carbs can make your pet gain weight rapidly.

Selecting the right pet food with the right ingredients can be tricky and it changes from dog to dog. Every dog is different and that should be taken into account. But the low down on brewer’s rice is that it is not harmful but also not overly helpful.

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