Dogs and Corn: Myths and Half Truths

There seem to be several myths and half truths about how dangerous corn, corn gluten and other corn by products are for dogs. Dogs are not carnivores, cats are. Corn is dangerous for cats and causes several diseases and conditions, but it is completely safe for dogs, and is even extremely beneficial to your dog’s health.

There will always be debates if dogs are carnivores or omnivores, but the fact is they are really both. There are three classifications of animals based and their diets: carnivores eat meat, omnivorous eat most anything edible, and herbivores eat primarily plants.

Have you ever met a dog that will not eat almost anything? Certainly we, as owners, must watch what they eat and be careful in what we feed them, but they are not cats.

If your dog ate only plants and grains, it would jeopardize their health. But they don’t and they need several different foods in their diets, including corn products.  

Here are some of the myths and the actual benefits of some corn; the key word is some, in your dog’s diets.

Myths about Corn

Corn is filler and your dog can not digest it.

True, if the corn used in your pet was whole corn. Most of us can not digest whole corn either. But the truth is that all corn in dogs food is ground, meaning that it is finely ground and designed specifically to digest in your pet’s stomach.  Ground corn is 99% digestible. Corn is perhaps the best source of carbohydrates for your dog.

Your dog does not need carbohydrates.

False, dogs do need carbohydrates, as the Linoleic acid in complex carbohydrates like corn provides your pet with both fiber as well as amino acids. It is also essential for helping your pet with keeping the skin and coats healthy as well as several other benefits.

Carbohydrates also help your pet’s liver, heart, brain and nerve tissues function properly. They also regulate how much starch and fat is broken down and utilized in their digestive tract. It is than stored in the liver in the form of glycogen and released as energy as your pet needs it.

Corn gluten is extremely bad for your dog.

Nothing could be further form the truth. First of all, it is not corn, but is a product that goes through an entire series of corn wet milling processes and has numerous benefits for your dog.

Raw food diets are much better for your dog than commercial dog foods as they contain absolutely no corn products.

Absolutely false, as raw dog food diets put your pet at a very high risk of infections as well as potential poisonings, especially from salmonella.

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  1. Who wrote this article? A Science Diet spokesperson? The next article will tell you how good animal by-products are and healthy for your pet. If the main ingredient in your whole diet was corn, how healthy would you be?? Think about it.

  2. If you have a question about dog nutrition, ask a dog nutrition expert – not some nameless entity over the web. This website is similar to wikipedia and i agree that ANYONE (even someone working for crap store bought brand foods) could post this in an attempt to make more profit.

    The two nutritionist i spoke to when my dog went through a period of food allergies AGREES that corn is not digestable and is a main cause of allergies – and yes, once i switched to a corn free food my dog’s allergies went away and stayed away.

    PS – Vets get kickbacks and most of their “nutrition” schooling is funded by pet food companies… makes you wonder, yes?

  3. I’m not a expert in canine nutrition and I do not claim to be. But I realize even with people that whole corn isn’t highly digestible, but once it’s in a meal form for instance something like corn bread, then it becomes almost completely digestibel. So I would have to conclude that our canine friends are the same way, I wouldn’t think you would need to find a food that’s entirely based on corn, but I think a good meat/grain ratio yes even if the grain is corn meal would be appropiate diet for our dogs.

  4. I am a groomer and I’ve seen lots of dogs come in with severe skin allergies (mostly feeding foods full of corn when asked). I’ve suggested corn free diets to some and the people who switched said their dogs skin improved? HOW WEIRD! My own dog has corn allergies. He throws up a lot and has constant diarreha while eating any food with corn. Yes, dogs are omnivores. They are also opportunistic hunters which means they will eat anything you feed them to “survive” so to speak. Try giving your dog bakers chocolate. I bet he will gobble it up but it WONT end well! Some grains are okay like whole grain rice, brown rice, ect. A lot of dogs suffer from grain allergies though. If you have been through several vets and “vet I.D. foods” (which have corn and other grains?) Try switching to a grain-free food and see how it helps your pup!

  5. I have heard it both ways, both from \”experts\”. However there are a couple things I would like to add before everyone considers corn good after reading this. It mentions nothing on behavior. This same info is available in the small animal clinical nutrition book and I know they do all the science and testing and spend a million dollars per test but the fact remains that we get dogs that come into our business with serious behaviour problems that get better when corn is removed from their diets. Corn may be easily digested in dogs but so is sugar in humans and that is what corn is to a dog and it causes the same thing sugar does in people, hyperness, crashes, lack of attention, etc…some believe that corn may inhibit dogs natural ability to produce tryptophan….it would be nice if they would spend money on testing those types of things as well instead of just asuming corn is good because it can be digested.

  6. Coming from a website that plays a Friskies commercial. No thanks. Where’s the Beneful ad? LOL What a joke.

  7. Corn is not good for anyone it does not matter if the corn its a meal or not. New dog food has come out that has not grain in them like corn and rice because the grain can blow up a dogs belly and turn it over and make the dog sick. It like a bird eating rice at was tossed at weddings. The Bird eat and it blows up the bird track and they can die. because rice soaks up water and juices. corn just sits a for a long time and comes out whole. corn is like eating a potato. you are eating dirt.

  8. Most of the people who commented on this post are nuts. Corn has many nutrients in it as well as potatoes and most other vegetables. If your dog is allergic to corn then don’t feed it corn in the same way, if your kid is allergic to peanuts then don’t feed him or her peanuts. Just because some dogs are allergic does not mean that corn is unhealthy for all dogs. There is corn in my dogs diet and she is perfectly healthy and very calm, happy and obedient.

  9. this is rediculous. not just the corn. not the comments (the comments are the LEAST rediculous aspect of this)
    what i find rediculous is the fact that i have been searching the net and haven’t yet found ONE SITE that has given me an APPROPRIATE ANSWER to ANY question i have!!! the majority subscribe to the deadly line of thinking *(the answer is BLACK… OR the answer is WHITE…EITHER WAY WE know the ANSWER!!)
    i sell dog food. “good” dog food. i feed my animals raw food/table food/kibble/cans/ and yes.. sometimes i let them taste junk food.
    they are immaculate.
    my grandfather has owned “junkyard” dogs since moving to America and starting his business. they are there to attack intruders and let me tell you. they love the family. but enter our junkyard after hours and they will kill you. they are tough, sleep outside and patrol approx 2 acres of land 24/7 – “dogs dont get holidays”
    these are NOT PET DOGS. now. he has NEVER fed them “dog food”. they eat Italian. any food that the family doesnt eat-they get. nomatter what i tell him- he wont even accept FREE food from me. He has a point though when he tells me
    “james… they are immaculate”
    and he is right, they are. they are always German Shepards. and always live 14-17 years old.

    i think the truest issue here is this: What is the point of being this advanced if we cant answer succinctly whether or not corn (ground/whole/pulverized) is good for your dog? or if coffee is good for YOU?

    PS: As succinctly as i can answer to the best of my ability i believe corn is a B- level (high school grading style) grain that has a purpose but is way too overused possibly to the point of being an allergen in certain genetic family lines of our dogs. so. use it its fine in moderation! or.. dont, if you find its not.
    i do not eat corn as a whole food. it was inside my genetics as i was being conceived (im a human-and if you are too, its in your genes too) and is still in my other foods in “broken form” (glutens, oils etc) so i dont feel my body needs that on-the-cobb addition.

  10. Better do your research, looks like you know absolutely nothing about dogs and their diet. And YES, raw feeding is the best diet and NO infections is not a risk and, definitely NO they do not get salmonella. Lastly, corn of any kind is certainly bad for a dogs diet. I suggest you do your homework!!!

  11. I totally agree with Amy on this. I work in a pet food store that sells only holistic, grain free and raw diets and they are all the best foods on the market and guess what…NOT ONE OF THEM HAVE CORN IN IT. You really should do your homework before providing information to people.

  12. When picking a dog food you shouldn’t listen to anyone but your dog. What works for one dog may not work for another dog. Even the best dog foods out there (the ones that are holistic and grain free) cause cause some dogs (and there owners) nothing but problems. Same goes for cats. I feed my cat Taste of the Wild. This food is human grade ingredients that comes form the US and is also grain free. This food is suppose to be one of the higher end foods but for my cat it ment a death sentence. He died on Feb 29 at just 2.5 years old. If I had only stayed with my old food he would still be alive today.

    If your dog or cat likes the food you are feeding and doing well on it keep going with it. Don’t just switch foods because someone told you to.

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