Can dogs eat corn?
Corn is one of the most popular grain cereals in the world. It’s a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, corn can be found in a variety of dog foods. Pet food manufacturers favor using corn as one of the ingredients in their formula because it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain. Many pet nutritionists agree that corn can be used in formulating complete and balanced pet food diets. Corn isn’t toxic to dogs, but you have to keep several important things in mind when feeding corn to pets. So, can dogs really eat corn? Continue reading to learn more!
Book a video consultation with an experienced veterinarian within minutes.
- Professional vet advice online
- Low-cost video vet consultations
- Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Is it safe for dogs to eat corn?
Yes, you can give corn to your dog, but you should always remember the magic word which is “moderation”. Also, you should make sure that your dog is not allergic to corn. Start by offering small amounts of corn and closely monitor for signs of any problems.
How about corn on the cob?
If you love corn on the cob, your pooch may love it too. Grilling and backyard barbecues aren’t complete without corn, on and off the cob. The combined smell of grilled corn, butter, and salt will certainly be tantalizing to your dog’s senses too.
While most people think that it’s safe to offer corn as a treat for dogs, this is not always the case. While eating kernels of corn, or corn added with other ingredients, does not pose significant health risks for dogs, the corn cob can be a problem if the dog ingests all or part of it. This is a common problem during the summer and fall months when corn on the cob is most popular.
Aside from the tasty corn kernels, dogs love to chew on the cob. But feeding your dog corn on the cob can be extremely dangerous. Some dogs will eat whole corn cobs or gobble up large pieces of the cob. This can increase a dog’s risk of injury to any part of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). The size of the cob can be too large to pass through the GIT and can get stuck and cause an obstruction, which can be life-threatening.
Corn cobs can also be potential choking hazards. The risk of GIT injury and obstruction associated with corn cobs is highest in small and medium-sized dogs, but there have also been cases in which large dogs have been brought to the vet after eating corn on the cob. Also, corn cobs are indigestible, which means invasive surgery is needed to remove a corn cob that is stuck in the GIT.
Corn in Pet Food
Corn is commonly used as a primary ingredient in the pet food industry. But what makes it so popular as an ingredient in making dog food? Corn and other carbohydrates are cheap but highly digestible and nutritious. They are also vital to the making of kibble, in a process called “gelatinization”. In other words, corn is a cheap source of important calories in pet food. Adding corn to pet food makes it less expensive to produce and thus less expensive for the consumer.
Contrary to popular notions, dogs are capable of digesting and utilizing nutrients in corn because their digestive tracts have evolved with domestication.
When is corn not good for dogs?
Certain situations warrant extra precautions when it comes to giving corn to dogs.
- Corn, whether in the form of corn kernels, in pet food, or other products, should not be given to dogs that are allergic to it.
- Corn that has been slathered with butter can increase a dog’s risk for developing pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition of the pancreas that can be fatal in some situations.
- Corn sprinkled with salt is also contraindicated in dogs with certain medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure.
Can corn be fed as a treat for my dog?
When given as a treat, moderation is always the key. Remember what pet nutritionists have always been telling pet owners - calories from treats should never comprise more than 10% of a dog’s daily total calorie intake. Feeding too many treats can increase a dog’s risk of obesity. Also, corn is not a substitute for a complete and balanced diet.
Need to speak with a veterinarian regarding your dog’s food or another condition?
Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.