Food is a social activity, even for pets. Not many people can say no to those puppy dog eyes, so it is not uncommon for dog owners to share a bite of their dinner with their furry ones. But how can you know which food is safe for your dog to consume and which is not? One specific food and the effect it has on dogs that a lot of discourse is surrounding is corn. Many dog food brands like to position themselves as the healthier/hypoallergenic option by marketing a corn-free product. But because this specific grain is so inexpensive, it is hard to avoid in most human and dog foods. So, the big question is, can dogs eat corn?
Nutritional Benefits of Corn
Corn is not only safe to eat, but it adds nutritional value to your dog’s diet! Some may argue that corn acts as a filler ingredient in dog foods or an additive that provides no nutritional value. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding corn and its effect on dogs, so it can be confusing and overwhelming trying to find a definitive answer. You may even be tempted to opt-in for those corn-free options that appear as the healthier choice, but don’t be fooled.
Corn acts as a carbohydrate and can be a good source of energy for your pup. The carbohydrates found in corn are easily digestible and necessary for brain, heart, liver, and muscle health. Additionally, corn provides an abundance of vitamins and antioxidants, we well as protein, fat, and fiber. Antioxidants are vital in your dog’s diet; they support the immune system and slow down the aging cycle. The protein provided from corn builds amino acids and hormone creation, while the fiber aids in gut bacteria and a healthy digestion tract.
It is completely safe, and even beneficial, to feed your dog corn in moderation.
When is Corn Unsafe for Your Dog?
Although it is usually completely safe for your dog to ingest corn, there are some instances where the grain can pose as a health danger for your pet.
When you’re enjoying a summer barbeque with friends and grilling corn on the cob, make sure the kernels you share with your pet are OFF the cob. While it may seem like a good makeshift bone or toy, the corn cobb can cause them to choke or even have intestinal blockage.
It is also possible, although very rare, for your dog to have a sensitivity towards corn. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before you feed corn to your dog, just in case they are a part of the less than 1% that cannot tolerate it.
Also, be cautious of what form of corn you give your dog. Popcorn is also safe if unsalted and unbuttered. The amount of sodium and fat in prepackaged popcorn can lead to many health complications later in your dog’s life. Make sure to pop your own kernels and not add any spices or seasoning to the treat.
It is important to note that canned corn also has large amounts of sodium and is best to be avoided. Dogs can become dehydrated or even have sodium poisoning. Too much sodium can cause more serious long-term effects in dogs such as high blood pressure.
Signs of sensitivity or health complications related to corn ingestion include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, excessive water consumption, and restlessness. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, call your vet for advice and ensure your pet does not eat any more corn.
Is Frozen Corn Ok to Give My Dog?
Frozen corn is also safe to feed your pup. This may even be the most convenient alternative- it is always available, unlike seasonal fresh corn, and often does not contain any added sodium or spices. However, do make sure to always check the nutrition label before purchasing the corn, especially if you feed it to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Corn? The Quick Answer, Yes!
With so much misinformation and misleading advertising on dog food brands, you may find yourself asking the question: Can dogs eat corn? Yes, it is perfectly safe for your pup to consume corn in moderation.
Double-check with your veterinarian that your dog is not allergic to the grain, and ensure the corn has no added salt or other spices that could harm your pet. If your dog experiences any health complications, such as diarrhea or loss of appetite, consult your vet and avoid giving them any more corn.
However, the big picture is clear: Corn is safe and beneficial to your dog’s entire nervous system. The grain is easily digestible and even adds nutritional value to their diet, so you can be guilt-free while you share a snack with your furry friend!
Written by: Samantha DiFederico