Can Dogs Eat Corn? (Nutritional Guide)
Yes, dogs can eat corn. However, one should always observe caution when feeding corn to pet dogs. This grain contains nutrients that can contribute to the overall health of your pet. It is also rich in fiber that can promote better intestinal motility.
Why is Corn Good for Your Pet Dog?
Can dogs eat corn? Of course, they can. It is a healthy grain that you can find in many commercially available dog food products today. Unfortunately, many people consider corn in dog food as fillers. One has to understand that fillers do not provide any substantial nutrient value. Their only function is to increase the bulk of the dog food without contributing to its nutritional value.
Having said that, corn does not qualify as a filler. This is a grain that contains a number of nutrients and substances that are vital for your pet’s health. They are as follows:
A cup of corn kernels can provide dogs with about 6.5 grams of protein. What is more important is that it includes 10 essential amino acids that dogs cannot produce on their own. These include Arginine, Threonine, Methionine, Valine, Isoleucine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, Lysine, and Leucine. There are 8 other amino acids present in corn. These serve as important building blocks for many of the dog’s tissues.
There are about 4 grams of dietary fiber for each cup of corn kernels. This can improve the movement of fecal matter through the dog’s large intestines. It cleanses the colon and facilitates better digestive processes.
Corn also contains Vitamins A and C as well as the B vitamins. These can contribute to the dog’s overall health by affecting the different physiologic processes of its body. It is rich in Niacin, which can help the dog lower its risk of heart problems. Corn also contains Pantothenic Acid. This can improve the function of the digestive tract while supporting the formation of healthy red blood cells.
A cup of corn can contain 70 mg of magnesium and about 170 mg of phosphorus. These are in addition to iron, manganese, zinc, and potassium.
- Other compounds
Corn contains two carotenoids that have antioxidant properties. These include zeaxanthin and lutein. They can help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts in dogs. Giving corn as a treat to your pet can help improve the health of its eyes.
Safety Precautions When Feeding Corn to Dogs
Like every other human food, one should be cautious when giving corn to dogs. For starters, one should never feed the corn cob. This is the woody and very fibrous part of the corn to which the corn kernels are attached.
So, can dogs eat corn cobs? The straightforward answer is “no”. Regardless of how much your dog begs you to give it the corn cob, it is not safe. There is a good chance that the cob will break off. These broken pieces can get lodged in the dog’s esophagus. It is a choking hazard. If you do not address the choking at once, there is a chance that the dog may die because of suffocation. It happens because the mass of cob will compress on the airways that lie next to the esophagus. This can make it difficult for the dog to breathe.
In cases where the dog is able to pass the cob into its stomach, it will still be impossible to digest the cob. The woody nature of the cob makes digestive enzymes incapable of breaking it down. As such, the cob will pass through the stomach and the intestines unchanged. The small intestines have a very narrow lumen. There is a chance that the corn cob can get lodged anywhere along the length of the small intestines.
If the cob manages to move past the small intestines, it may find resistance in the dog’s rectum and anus. It will make the dog appear constipated. If the cob is large enough, it can scrape against the inner wall of the large intestines and the rectum. This can rupture some of the superficial blood vessels. You may see a blood-streaked stool in the process.
There is also the issue of gluten allergy or gluten intolerance in dogs. We know that corn kernels contain protein. One of the groups of proteins present in corn is gluten. There are some dogs that are intolerant to gluten. There are also those that have gluten allergies.
Diarrhea is one of the most common manifestations of gluten allergy in dogs. Because fluids and electrolytes are also lost, the dog can become weak. Over time, the pet may show significant weight loss. One can also notice a sudden change in the condition of its skin and coat.
So, can dogs eat corn kernels? Yes, they can. However, if your pet has allergy or intolerance to gluten, it may be wise to provide your pet with other treats.
One should also not give dogs too much corn kernels. While they are nutritious, they also contain more sugar and starch. A single cup of corn kernels can deliver about 10 grams of starch and 12 grams of sugar. If the dog is already at-risk of diabetes, giving corn may not be a good idea. It can cause a sudden surge of glucose in the blood. This can reduce the sensitivity of insulin in the long run.
How to Give Corn to Dogs
Can dogs eat corn? Yes, you can feed corn to your canine friend. However, you should always take heed of the following tips.
- Give only the corn kernels, not the cob. Treat corn as a snack. Hence, it should never comprise more than 10 percent of the dog’s daily diet.
- Give corn that you cooked yourself. Do not add any seasoning, such as butter, salt, and others.
- You can mix cooked corn in your dog’s regular meals to give it extra flavor and texture.
- Popcorn is okay, as long as it is air-popped and does not contain other ingredients.
Dogs can eat corn as it can provide them with dietary fiber and nutrients. However, one should always observe caution, especially in dogs with known gluten allergies and a predisposition to diabetes.