There are many things that we humans eat daily without thinking twice about it. It’s natural to wonder if it would be okay for us to share what we are eating with our furry friends.
So is it okay for our dogs to have corn, and if so, how should we feed it to them? Canned? Fresh? Corn on a cob?
Let’s find out.
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Is Corn Safe for Dogs?
The easiest way to put it is that corn is not unsafe for dogs. Most people know that the dog is related to wolves and that a long time ago – before they were domesticated – they probably ate a mostly meat-based diet. T
his has changed and their bodies and digestive tracts have evolved, and it is now common to feed vegetables and fruit to domestic dogs.
In fact, most high-quality dog foods contain a mix of veggies and plants, but how about corn?
Corn might be something your dog is already eating, without you having realized it. Many dog foods contain corn or corn starch, and if you ever feed table scraps to your furry friend – it is very possible that some corn might have slipped in there.
The good news is that corn is not dangerous for dogs, and they can eat it provided it is the right type of corn. Corn on the cob is an exception, but more on that below.
Popcorn is a delicious snack that we also need to bring up, mostly because many dogs out there are obsessed with the crunchy and white snack.
Is it okay for our dogs to have a popcorn? Yes, it is, but it should preferably be popcorn we have popped ourselves, without too much salt and/or oil.
Movie theatre popcorn is drenched in a buttery substance and has too much salt to be healthy for dogs, so if your pup is a popcorn lover – learn to pop popcorn yourself and use as little oil as possible with no added salt. You should also feed in moderation as too much could cause a stomach ache or other digestive issues.
Can Dogs Eat Corn on the Cob?
Corn may be fine for dogs to eat, but if it is still attached to the cob – beware!
Corn on the cob can be lethal to a dog, and it is not because of the corn itself, but because of the cob. Corn cobs are not digestible, which is why humans tend to eat the corn off the cob and throw the rest away.
Dogs don’t think the same way that we do, and they are very likely to chew up the whole thing, which could cause a life-threatening obstruction in their intestines.
If a cob obstruction occurs, you could be looking at a life or death situation, and one that will develop surprisingly fast.
There might be very little time for you to act once your dog has ingested a cob or part of a cob, so take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you possibly can. In the best of scenarios – your vet might be able to make your dog throw the cob back up, but if more time has passed you will likely be looking at an expensive surgery to solve the blockage.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Corn?
The sweet corn you find in cans is harmless to dogs, and it is fine for them to try it if they would want to.
However, there is absolutely no need for a dog to eat sweet (canned) corn, as it is very starchy and hard for their bodies to digest.
This does not necessarily present an issue, but the corn will almost always go in one way and out the other, so to speak, with the dog’s body unable to take up any nutrients from it.
It is up to you whether you choose to give canned corn to your dog, but you can basically say that if some falls on the floor and if your dog eats them – don’t worry, as it is completely safe.
There is no need to run down to the store to buy a can of corn for your dog though, as it won’t provide them with any nutrients.
Corn in Dog Food
If you have ever taken the time to read through the ingredients on dry or wet dog food, you might have noticed that some of them contain corn.
This is especially true for commercial dog food brands – those you find in the pet aisle at your local grocery store – and they are often listed among the first ingredients.
Despite corn not being harmful to pets – it is not something you want to see listed high among the ingredients of your dog food.
Why? The problem with corn is that it is a cheap filler; mostly used by low-quality dog food brands to produce kibble or wet food at a lower price.
Corn, when found in dog food, is classified as a filler to increase the mass of a cheaper product; just like wheat, soy, and tapioca. They have very little nutritional value for dogs and are mostly there to make the production of dog food a lot cheaper. When you buy food for your dog, it is true that you often get what you pay for.
You can test this yourself by comparing the ingredients of a grocery store brand with a high-quality kibble like Orijen, Acana or Taste of the Wild, and you are almost guaranteed to find corn in the commercial brands and not in the others. It is a clear sign of that a dog food is of less quality.
Corn starch is also commonly found in dog food products, usually further down the ingredient list, and it works to bind other ingredients together. It adds thickness and makes the dog food more substantial; which makes it easier to store, serve, and for your dog to eat.
Now that we have established that dogs can eat corn (just not corn on the cob) and that it is unlikely to do them any harm unless they have allergies or food sensitivities, we are still left with the question of whether they should eat corn.
It is not something they need in their diet, and nothing indicates that a dog benefits from eating corn; you can feed it to them without putting them at risk, but you shouldn’t replace any of their regular food with it.