Sometimes, it’s hard not to give in to the temptation to give your dog some of your own food, especially when he looks so begging. But some foods just aren’t healthy for dogs. If you have a delicious corn on the cob on your plate right now, you may be wondering if corn is appropriate for dogs.
Corn kernels are usually safe for dogs to eat. Corn contains a lot of fiber and other nutrients that are beneficial to a dog’s health. Corn on the cob, on the other hand, is dangerous for dogs, you should never give these to your dog. And prepared and seasoned corn is also not suitable for dogs.
Corn can end up on your plate in many varieties, and it is often mixed or seasoned with things that are not safe for dogs. Therefore, you have to be a little careful when feeding it to your dog.
This article explains when corn is safe for dogs and when it is not. It also tells you when you should call your vet if your dog has eaten corn.
Is Corn Safe for Dogs?
Corn comes in different forms, so you can’t make a blanket statement that corn is suitable or unsuitable for dogs. It is important to look at the particular way it is prepared.
First, let’s look at what forms corn are generally suitable for dogs.
Corn that has come off the cob is perfectly safe for dogs, as are canned corn kernels or frozen corn.
However, you should only feed corn to your dog in moderation. It’s best to serve it unseasoned and with no fats like butter to decrease the risk of stomach problems.
Baby corn is another option for feeding corn to your dog. You should also serve this small variety of corn unseasoned and cooked.
Occasional popcorn can do little harm if it is served without salt, sugar or butter. However, you should make the popcorn yourself at home so you know how it was made and processed.
However, be sure to keep an eye on your dog’s teeth. Popcorn pieces can easily get stuck between teeth, which can lead to dental disease.
Corn in Dog Food
Corn is regularly found as an ingredient in dog food and is completely safe in that regard.
Although dogs feed predominantly on meat and meat products, they are omnivores by nature. This means that they can and should also have grains like corn as part of their diet.
Sometimes, reports circulate on the internet about grain allergies in dogs, but most dogs do not need to be fed a grain-free diet. The only exception is when your veterinarian gives specific recommendations for your dog.
On the contrary, there is even evidence that a grain-free diet does more harm than good, as some cases of a heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy have been linked to this type of diet.
However, more research is needed in this area. So far, however, all indications are that corn and other grains are an important part of dogs’ diets.
When is Corn Bad for Dogs?
While corn offers nutritional benefits to dogs, there are cases when it can be dangerous for dogs. You should definitely not give your dog the following products.
Corn cobs are dangerous for dogs, so you should avoid them. It may seem harmless to let your dog chew off the corn on the cob directly.
Unfortunately, some dogs get tempted and chew on the tough, fibrous cob itself. They may even swallow the corn cob. Since this part of the corn is indigestible, there is a great risk of it clogging the dog’s intestines.
If constipation occurs, this could be a big problem for your dog.
The cob could leave the stomach relatively undigested and get stuck in the stomach outlet or intestines. In this case, emergency surgery will be required to remove it.
Dogs suffering from such blockages are often very uncomfortable.
Food and water can no longer pass through the digestive tract as usual, so your dog is likely to vomit or suffer from constipation or diarrhea.
Usually, the dog also stops eating food and becomes lethargic and listless.
Some dogs also have abdominal pain and look at their belly or yowl and whine when you touch them.
They may also assume a special position to get more comfortable. Dogs will often lie down with their front half on the floor and stretch their rear end in the air.
In this way, they try to relieve pressure on their belly. In extreme cases, dogs can dehydrate and collapse, especially if not treated immediately.
How Does a Veterinarian Treat Dogs That Have Eaten a Corn On the Cob?
Your veterinarian will first examine your dog and look for signs of abdominal pain or dehydration. Usually, diagnostic imaging is needed to locate the corn on the cob.
Sometimes, the corncob itself can be seen on radiographs, but sometimes, it isn’t easy to visualize. In that case, the veterinarian will instead look for things like gas buildup in the intestines.
It may be possible to remove the corn on the cob through endoscopy.
This involves inserting a small rod-shaped camera into the stomach with a basket or grasping forceps to pull the foreign body back out through the esophagus and mouth.
However, in many dogs, surgery is required to remove the foreign body, especially if it has already migrated from the stomach to the intestines.
Such abdominal surgery also enables your veterinarian to fully examine your dog’s digestive tract for damage.
In most cases, your dog will need to stay in the veterinary hospital after surgery for pain relief and monitoring. He may also need to be kept hydrated through a drip.
Butter corn, corn that is heavily buttered or flavored, should not be fed to your dog.
In some dogs, eating a large amount of fat can cause an upset stomach or even inflammation of the pancreas. Such inflammation can lead to abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
You should also avoid salted foods, including salted corn, as high salt content is harmful to dogs.
Therefore, you should only give your dog corn kernels that have been cooked without adding salt or spices.
While popcorn that is popped in the air and served unseasoned is unlikely to cause harm, heavily flavored or seasoned popcorn certainly can.
Chocolate-covered popcorn is actually toxic to dogs because they cannot metabolize theobromine.
Theobromine is present in all chocolate, but especially in dark chocolate and chocolate powder. It can cause overexcitation, tremors, and even seizures. In some cases, theobromine can cause liver failure.
Other popcorn is coated with sugar, which is not healthy and can cause weight gain in dogs. Salted popcorn is also not suitable for dogs.
Popcorn served with butter or made with large amounts of oil is also a bad idea for dogs who are prone to pancreatitis.
So, Should Dogs Eat Corn at All?
You can certainly give your dog corn as long as you stick to the safe varieties already mentioned. Corn and other grains actually have benefits for dogs in small portions.
Remove the kernels from the cob and serve only those. Do not give your dog seasoned or buttered corn. Always stick to plain varieties with no additives.
Only give your dog such additional foods in moderation, as overfeeding these can result in digestive problems.
If your dog gets more than 10% of his daily calories from an unbalanced food like corn, it can upset his vitamin and mineral balance.
Summary: Can Dogs Eat Corn?
Dogs can eat corn if you prepare and serve it properly. Keep corn on the cob out of reach of dogs because if swallowed, your dog could be very unwell.
Also, be careful at barbecues, picnics, or other celebrations because your dog could accidentally swallow a carelessly discarded corn on the cob.
Also, keep corn on the cob out of reach in cupboards or high up on shelves at home to avoid such problems.
If you want to give your dog a new food, you should always try a small amount first.
But even after that, you should always give corn in moderation, as large amounts can cause stomach problems.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten something he shouldn’t have, or if he is unwell in any way, you should ask your vet for advice.
Having your dog examined immediately in such cases will lead to a much better result than if you just wait and see.