You’re having a backyard barbecue, grilling corn as a side dish, and your dog is giving you those irresistible, pleading puppy-dog eyes. Should you let her have some? Can dogs eat corn too?
Corn does have some nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, and protein. It’s safe for dogs in moderation.
However, you should still be careful, as it can be very dangerous in certain forms. Can dogs eat corn cobs? The short answer is no, they should only eat the corn kernels that have been removed from the cob.
Is corn good for dogs? Is corn bad for dogs? Let’s explore all of this in more detail.
Some Fun Facts About Corn
- The average ear of corn has sixteen rows and contains about 800 kernels.
- It comes in a variety of colors including red, blue, yellow, green, and black.
- Corn is also known as maize. It was originally domesticated in Southern Mexico 10, 000 years ago.
- In the Taino language, it means “giver of life.”
Can Dogs Have Corn?
Corn is considered a fruit, a vegetable, and a grain—all in one.
The corn kernel is the edible portion of the plant. It contains a number of essential vitamins and minerals. Some of these include vitamins B, C, E, and K, folic acid, and selenium. Corn is also an excellent source of both potassium and fiber.
It is a high-carbohydrate food, but it does contain some protein and a small amount of fat. The phytochemicals, like carotenoids, found in corn are also considered to have many health benefits that can help lower the risk of chronic illness.
Now that we know a little bit more about the contents of corn, is corn safe for dogs?
Corn products are often used in dog foods for a number of reasons. One reason is because of how inexpensive it is.
In general, corn is relatively safe for dogs to eat in moderate quantities. Just don’t give dogs corn on the cob!
Although corn is not a common allergy in canines, some dogs may be allergic. So you should be cautious when introducing this food.
Take note that dogs can also develop allergies later on in life. So even if your dog has been fine with corn, that may not always be the case.
Symptoms of allergies in dogs can include recurring skin problems or stomach problems resulting in diarrhea or loose stools.
Is Corn Bad For Dogs?
For the most part, a little bit of corn is fine to include in your dog’s diet.
However, you should feed corn in moderation and not allow such a treat to exceed 10% of your dog’s diet, as with all human foods added to a dog’s diet.
Too much human food may make your dog’s diet inadequate to their nutritional needs and can contribute to unhealthy extra weight gain.
Make sure the corn isn’t covered with butter, salt, or other fat
ty flavor enhancers. A little fat is good, but too much fat and salt is bad for dogs and can lead to obesity or stomach issues, as with humans.
The cob of the corn is never safe for dogs to consume or even chew on. It is an inedible part of the plant and even a small piece can cause an obstruction in a dog’s digestive tract.
Dogs should not be permitted to eat corn off of the cob or to chew on the cob. Many owners believe that the cob is too tough for their dog to gnaw through. Unfortunately, it is not. Dogs have been known to swallow a portion of or even the entire cob.
Any ingestion of the cob is considered a medical emergency. It can result in choking or an intestinal blockage. It can even cut up your dog’s digestive tract. If you think your dog may have ingested a part of the cob, contact your veterinarian right away.
Is Corn Good For Dogs?
Studies show that corn is easily digestible and provides above-average nutrient levels for canine diets when processed for dog food.
This research says that corn is a good second choice behind rice for the primary cereal grain in foods designed for dogs.
Corn can be a good source of proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and linoleic acids.
Carbohydrates make up most of the nutritional value of a kernel of corn followed by protein. Corn can be a good source of their dietary fiber under certain conditions.
Corn’s main limitation as a source of nutrition is the limited amounts of vital animal acids that it contains. Lysine and tryptophan are among the amino acids that corn lacks in abundance.
So yes, corn does have some nutritional value. And corn for dogs can provide some protein and certain vitamins and minerals.
But this is not a natural food for dogs. They won’t get as much out of it as the foods they are evolved to easily ingest
Can Dogs Eat Corn Kernels?
Yes, kernels are one type of corn that dogs can eat. They are small, and there is no choking hazard.
Salt, butter, mayonnaise, and other common toppings offer nothing good for your dog.
Make sure the corn kernels are plain and feed only in moderation if you decide to feed your dog corn kernels.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Corn?
Canned corn mostly consists of kernels of corn taken off the cob. Thus, it’s safe for dogs to eat. Just remember not to give them too much.
Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?
Unseasoned, air-popped popcorn is a perfectly acceptable little treat. It contains riboflavin, thiamine, and small amounts of protein and iron.
A few plain pieces of popcorn every now and then are fine as long as your dog doesn’t get any of the un-popped kernels. The unpopped kernels can be a choking or dental hazard.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Corn?
Sweetcorn is a variety of corn that has high sugar content. It’s picked at a more immature stage than regular corn. It’s the type we eat fresh, canned, or frozen.
Dogs can eat sweet corn as long as they eat the corn without the cob.
But this corn is starchy and hard to digest. If you’ve ever eaten corn and had it come out the other side completely intact, you know what we mean. However, it’s not dangerous at all to dogs.
Sweet corn as a sometimes-snack is fine as long as your dog isn’t showing allergy symptoms.
My Dog Ate Corn On The Cob: What Should I Do?
So can dogs eat corn on the cob? No, you should treat this situation as an emergency.
Eating corn on the cob can be a life-threatening medical issue. Dogs cannot eat the cob portion of the plant as it can cause serious problems in their digestive tract.
Signs of intestinal distress can include lethargy, lack of appetite, pain, and lack of a bowel movement.
You need to seek help immediately If you see vomiting, lethargy, or loss of appetite. Call your vet or an after-hours vet facility immediately.
Your dog may not seem to have an initial problem, but the sooner you get advice from a medical professional, the better.
Be ready to take your dog in as soon as you can. Basically, this situation is treated as one in which a foreign object has been ingested.
Your vet may want to induce vomiting. If it’s more serious, and the cob remains in the stomach, endoscopic surgery may be indicated.
Can Corn Treat Any Problems In Dogs?
Corn is not known to treat any canine conditions although there is some nutritional value to corn.
It can be found in some dog food brands as a source of cheap and filling nutrition. But it is not a remedy of any kind.
How to Give a Dog Corn
Cooked corn kernels that have been removed from the cob and are free from additives, like salt or butter, are the safest and best form of corn to give your dog.
Use these little golden morsels as occasional treats and not as the main component of their diet.
The infrequent bite of plain, air-popped popcorn is also an acceptable treat. Just be careful your dog doesn’t end up with any of the un-popped kernels from the bottom of the bowl.
Alternatives to Corn for Dogs
- Cheese: It can be a tasty treat for dogs, assuming they are not lactose intolerant. Low-fat varieties of cheese are the better choice for your furry friend’s health.
- Coconut: The white, meaty part of the coconut is another healthy human food that your dog can enjoy too. Coconut meat is not just a delicious snack, it actually has some potential health benefits for your dog. It can help improve their immune system, fight bad breath, and promote healing from skin conditions related to hot spots and fleas.
- Green Beans
Summary: Can Dogs Eat Corn?
Yes, it’s okay for dogs to indulge in corn once in a while if your four-legged friend has a panache for it. Corn does have some nutrients that are beneficial to dogs.
However, there are certain conditions when giving corn to your dog:
- Can dogs eat corn cobs? No. A dog eating corn on the cob is a medical emergency waiting to happen.
- Let your dog have only the corn kernels that have been removed from the cob.
- Also, avoid salt and other toppings that add fat and chemicals to the corn.
Ultimately, it’s important to make sure your dog has all the nutrition they need. And corn can fill them up so that they don’t actually eat the foods that they really need.
Use corn as an occasional treat and just ensure your dog doesn’t eat too much.
In conclusion, corn kernels in moderation are safe snacks for dogs.
References and Further Reading
- American Kennel Club. 2019. “Human foods dogs can and can’t eat, can dogs eat wheat and other grains?”
- Shah, T. R. et. al. 2016. “Maize—A potential source of human nutrition and health: A review.” Cogent Food & Agriculture.
- Twomey, L. N. 2002. “The use of sorghum and corn as alternatives to rice in dog foods.” The Journal of Nutrition.
- United States Department of Agriculture. 2019. “Corn & Other Feed Grains.”
- Yuill, C. “Nutrition—General Feeding Guidelines for Dogs.” VCA Animal Hospitals.
- Yongfeng, A. and Jane, J. 2016. “Macronutrients in corn and human nutrition.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.
This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019.