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Can Dogs Eat Corn or Is It Too Risky?

Corn offers minor health benefits. But it also has risks for pets. So, can dogs eat corn safely? Generally, yes, if it’s off the cob and has no added ingredients.

Close up shot of several ears of corn.

Corn offers minor health benefits. But it also has risks for pets. So, can dogs eat corn safely? Generally, yes, if it’s off the cob and has no added ingredients.

Corn is used in so many foods and dishes that it's become a staple in most of our diets. Whether it's canned corn, corn on the cob, or a corn-based product like corn syrup, you've  likely consumed corn recently, whether you knew it or not.

Corn is very likely a part of your dog's diet, too. This veggie is often used in dog food — if you look at the ingredients list on your pooch's food packaging, you'll probably see corn listed. We know that corn isn't toxic to our canine friends. But the question is, can dogs eat corn in the same way that we do?

The answer is no. While corn isn't toxic to dogs and is even included in dog food formulas, you shouldn’t necessarily feed your dog corn from your dinner table. If it’s fed at all, corn should be safely prepared and reserved for the occasional snack or treat. 

Read on to learn more about corn in your dog's diet and answer the big question: Can dogs eat corn safely? 

What Are the Health Benefits of Corn for Dogs?

Corn sometimes gets a bad rap in the culinary world, as it isn't as nutritious as other vegetables. In dog food, corn is often thought of as a "filler" material, used to stretch the formula and allow the manufacturer to produce more kibble at a lower price.

While other vegetables provide more nutritional value for dogs, corn isn't all bad. In fact, it offers your canine friend a few health benefits. Corn provides:

  • Fiber: Corn is a high-fiber food, which is helpful in moderate amounts. Fiber is important for proper digestion, and it helps your dog feel full. In fact, many weight-loss diets are high in fiber for this exact reason.
  • Carbohydrates: Corn provides plenty of carbs, which are important for energy production. Like other grains, corn is great for providing the energy your dog needs to go about his or her day.  
  • Linoleic acidLinoleic acid is a type of omega-6 fatty acid. It's an essential part of your dog's nutrition because dogs can't manufacture it on their own and need to get it from an outside source. Linoleic acid helps balance the inflammatory response around Fido's body, and it's good for skin and coat health, too.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Corn is also high in certain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. 

Corn can offer several health benefits for your dog. And corn can even be a part of a healthy, balanced diet for dogs. But corn comes with a few risks for dogs, too, especially when prepared for humans.

What Are the Risks of Corn for Dogs?

A French Bulldog sitting in a field holds a cob of corn in its mouth.

Corn is one of those human foods that, while technically safe and non-toxic for our canine companions, can pose some risks. Here’s why corn can be hazardous to your pup's health: 

Intestinal Blockage

It might seem like a good idea to toss your furry friend a corn on the cob as a fun dog treat. You'll want to reconsider this. 

Corn cobs are easy for dogs to chew into chunks, which can easily cause a blockage in your dog's stomach. It also presents a serious choking hazard. Never give your dog corn on the cob.

Upset Stomach

Too much of any unfamiliar food can cause an upset stomach. And because corn is high in fiber, too much can easily result in constipation. Dog owners should take care not to overdo it when giving their pet corn. (You'll learn more about portion size below.)

Does your dog have a sensitive stomach? Adding a probiotic supplement to your dog's pet food can help support a thriving digestive environment to help your dog feel better. Native Pet's Probiotic powder is a great choice.

Issues from Added Ingredients

When humans eat corn, we often slather it with butter or load it with salt. When it’s prepared like this, corn can be bad for dogs. Salt will make your dog thirsty, which means more trips to the bathroom and more potential for dehydration. Too much salt can even result in dangerous sodium ion poisoning. Your dog would probably have to eat the equivalent of an entire bag of salty chips or pretzels for this to happen, but it’s not worth the risk. Buttery foods can result in vomiting or diarrhea. 

It’s best to avoid sweet corn and creamed corn, as these varieties have added sugars. This could be especially dangerous for a diabetic dog whose sugar intake has to be closely regulated. Don’t give your dog canned sweet corn or creamed corn, or any corn recipe that contains added sugar, salt, butter, or other additives.

Allergic Reaction

A small number of dogs are allergic to corn. If your dog reacts to corn, you'll need to find a food that is completely corn-free. Symptoms of food allergies, including a corn allergy, include things like loss of appetite, skin problems, vomiting, and diarrhea. Let your veterinarian know if you spot these signs. You'll need to work closely with them or with a veterinary nutritionist to find a healthier diet.

Is your dog prone to allergies? Native Pet's Air-Dried Allergy Chicken Chews can help bolster their defense against allergens. They even help with long-term immune system support.

How to Feed Corn Safely

A beagle eats from a bowl of dog food.

Is corn good for dogs? Yes, it has some health benefits. But we've also learned that it presents a few health hazards. How can dogs eat corn in a safe manner? 

First, consider the type of corn you're feeding your dog. Corn on the cob is a no-go. And corn that's prepared with salt, butter, or other additives should be avoided, too. 

Canned corn is one of the best ways to give your dog corn. It makes for a tasty treat that is an excellent source of fiber and a good source of protein. Whether it's whole-kernel canned corn or sweet corn, make sure there is no added salt or extra ingredients. Keep the portion size small — just top your dog's meal with a spoonful of canned corn kernels.

You may be surprised to learn that popcorn serves as a great occasional treat for your dog as well if it's prepared without salt, butter, and sugar (no kettle corn, please). Plain popcorn is fine to feed to your dog in small amounts. (A handful of popcorn is more than enough.) Avoid giving your pet unpopped corn kernels, though, as they can be hard on the digestive system. 

Can Dogs Eat Corn Safely?

Are you still asking yourself, "Can dogs eat corn?" The answer is yes, they can. Corn is non-toxic for our four-legged friends and is included as an ingredient in many dog food formulas. It's a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals. 

While corn does provide some nutritional benefits for dogs, it's not the healthiest vegetable. If you're going to give your pet corn, use it only as the occasional treat and make sure it doesn’t contain salt or butter.

Additionally, stick to plain canned corn or plain popcorn. Keep the portion size small to avoid an upset stomach or choking. Never give your dog corn on the cob.  

Would you like more insights into your dog's health, diet, and wellness needs? Visit the Native Pet blog today.

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