Many of the popular dog foods today always come with the labeling ‘no corn’. This is often in addition to not including wheat and soy in the grain-free formulation of many doggie food items. However, it is also very common to see pooches enjoying a few morsels of unbuttered and unsalted popcorn or even corn on the cob. This actually confuses a lot of folks regarding the safety of giving dogs corn. So, what’s the real deal? Can dogs really eat corn?
The “No Corn” Debate
Part of the confusion lies in the ‘no corn’ debate. On one side of the equation are corn advocates who say that corn:
- Doesn’t raise blood sugar levels significantly,
- Doesn’t cause allergies,
- Is easily digested by pooches,
- Has high nutrient value,
- Is rich in minerals and vitamins, and
- Is an excellent source of energy for dogs.
On the other side of the debate circle are those who are against the use of corn, offering counterclaims citing that corn:
- Has a higher glycemic index than oatmeal, barley, and wheat,
- Belongs to the top 6 food allergens among dogs, alongside beef, chicken, eggs, wheat, and soy,
- Is only made highly digestible if it has been processed well,
- Has lower nutrient value compared to eggs, fish, beef, milk, and even wheat,
- Is not as nutritionally complete as barley, oats, quinoa, potato, peas, and spinach, and
- Doesn’t contain much calories for energy compared to meats.
One of the most striking observations is that ancestral dogs are not really known for devouring corn cobs, although in exceptional cases, such as when there is nothing left to eat, they might have. The point that experts would like to argue is that the use of corn as food for pooches can be inherently traced back to the invention of the dry kibble. Manufacturers way back then have to come up with inexpensive ingredients to include in the dehydrated form of dog food. Putting exclusively protein into the mix was deemed expensive. Carbs are a viable option as these are relatively inexpensive. And since corn is actually a staple in the world, then it made perfect sense to turn it into a kibble.
How about Fresh Corn
In our preceding discussion, you may get the impression that corn is bad for dogs. Do understand that what we presented is actually corn found in dog food and not the fresh corn on the cob.
Experts say that you can actually feed your dog corn on the cob provided that you give only small amounts as anything excessive can have an adverse effect on your mutt’s health. While it is true that it doesn’t contain as much vitamins and minerals compared to other foods out there, corn do contain them nonetheless. As a matter of fact, some veterinary nutritionists recommend making it as part of a dog’s well-balanced diet.
However, caution should always be exercised when giving corn to a pooch that has known sensitivity or allergy to this cereal grain. That is why, while it can supply your pooch with sufficient nutrients, it is still recommended that you have your pet checked and evaluated by your veterinarian for any food sensitivities or allergies. You simply don’t want your mutt suffering from intolerances, itchy skin, or upset stomachs.
The Real Danger
As we have already said, it is okay to give dogs corn on the cob except that you have to remove the kernels from the cob. The point is that this woody part of this food should never be eaten or consumed as it doesn’t get broken easily. This can lead to intestinal obstruction which, if severe enough, may require a very expensive procedure to get it out while also paying for the bills inherent in a recuperating dog.
The cob itself is not only the problem. Most of us love to slather our delicacies with tons of butter, spices, seasonings, and other stuff that our dogs simply are not built to consume. This can also lead to a host of other health problems for your pooch.
The best way to let your mutt enjoy corn is to scrape the kernels from the cob and give it in small amounts with no added flavoring or seasoning. On that note, you can also give popcorn if you wish, but only the unbuttered and unsalted versions.
For the most part, if your pooch is getting high quality food, you don’t actually need to give it corn. But if you do, make sure to only give it in small amounts, excluding its cob, and with no other ingredients added.