Getting some extra added healthy bits and pieces into our diets has become more a part of the public consciousness than ever in this day and age – yet not just for people, but also their pets.
As their masters add more vitamins and minerals to their diets, pets often get swept up in the ride – but it’s important that we keep in mind that not all food that’s healthy for human beings is healthy for them.
So, can dogs eat corn, for instance? They can indeed – but read on to find out why, and what to avoid.
Is corn good for dogs?
It most certainly is – although all good things are to be taken in moderation, of course. Corn is not just a staple grain in our own dietary habits, but also in the diets of our dogs.
Many dog owners perhaps don’t even realise that many dog food businesses use corn as a filler component in their specially formulated feed mixes.
Naturally, they’d not do so if corn was in any way bad for your pets. It certainly isn’t something that’s wise to feed your dog as the central component of their mealtimes, but if you’re eating a little corn as part of your meals in the family, throwing a few pieces of it your dog’s way will certainly do no harm.
The only risk to keep in mind – especially if you need advice in having recently adopted a dog, or in raising a puppy – is to check that your dog isn’t allergic to corn.
This is something that your vet will be able to advise with, and it’ll help both them and you in the long run in understanding what corn products your dog can eat.
The nutrition, fibre value and overall good carbohydrates found in corn are able to do plenty to help your dog leading a long and contented life.
Corn off the cob, or from a can, is well suited to how dogs eat – raw corn kernels, like popcorn that hasn’t been microwaved for instance, is far less advisable.
Corn is pretty solid, but also comes in small pieces – it’s a bit unusual versus the kinds of foods that your dog usually likes to eat.
As such, you need to supervise your dog when they eat corn for the first time, the same way you would for any new food being introduced to your pet’s diet.
Young dogs and puppies especially are ones to watch for the choking hazard that corn can often represent, especially if they’re eating very fast and gulping it down to the extent that pieces of corn are getting stuck in their throat.
Keep some cool fresh water by for your dog in times like these, and give plenty of reassurance if they cough some corn back up after eating it a touch too fast.
Health benefits of corn for dogs
As we’ve already touched on, a lot of mainstream dog foods use corn as part of their ingredients, so it’s safe to say that corn prepared well for your dog has plenty of nutritional value to him or her.
More than this, it doesn’t pose any digestive risks if processed or prepared in just the right way.
Corn packs plenty of health benefits into a pretty small and appealing package. One of those is a good range of antioxidants, which help your dog’s health and immune system tremendously.
However, good carbohydrates, as well as some fibre, all help your dog’s digestive system, energy release, metabolism and, of course, keeping them regular from end to end.
It’s also worth mentioning that corn contains more in the way of protein than many people realise – both in terms of corn’s benefits to dogs as much as its benefits to human beings too.
While it’s not likely to replace the major components of protein in your dog’s diet any time soon, it certainly adds on to what’s already going in – bringing extra strength, vitality and well-developed muscle growth along with it.
Keep those vitamins in mind too – a healthier coat of fur and an overall gleam in your dog’s eye will come from these over the long term.
Vitamins in your dog’s diet will also add to their immune system, boosting it if your dog has been feeling poorly and easing their road to recovery – or boosting it in advance of any sickness coming their way, helping your pet fight off illness before it can take hold.
How much corn can a dog eat daily?
The digestive system of your dog is much different to that of a human being’s, and that means they need to tackle things like fruit, vegetables and grains in a much different way than their masters.
Your dog finds the kind of roughage we find in grains, vegetables and fruit quite taxing on their digestive processes, giving them quite the workout.
Because of this, a dog needs comparatively little corn to get by – maybe a handful a day, and certainly no more than a corn on the cob’s worth every couple of days.
Granted, every dog is an individual, and you’re by all means free to experiment with how much or how little to give your dog here.
However, definitely make sure not to overdo it, as your dog could get a bit of a belly ache – as well as fill up on a kind of food that doesn’t do as much for them, nutritionally, as their more mainstream meals do.
It’s worth noting also that corn for dogs is best enjoyed free of additives, extra flavours, salts, sugars and the like.
Dogs have tolerance of these things we add to our food too enhance the flavour that’s far and away lower than our own.
Likewise, the sheer amount of sugar in something like candy corn means that this is one thing that’s likely not wise to give to your pooch.
You should also entirely avoid giving your dog the cob of corn itself – it’s a stocky, robust thing with no nutritional value, but plenty of potential to choke a hungry dog eating it too fast, or even clog up their intestines.
If your dog is eating corn on the cob, but especially the cob and all, it’s best to seek the attention of a vet as soon as possible to avoid any dangers.
What to do if your dog eats corn
Unless your dog has expressly eaten the cob of some corn, there’s no reason why you should panic if your dog eats corn without your offering it or initially realising.
Our pets are often remarkably gifted at getting to treats they’re not supposed to have – or begging for scraps from visitors who don’t know any better through having any pets of their own.
Corn’s nutritional value means that it’s going to do no harm if fed to your dog, but if your pup chooses to overindulge in corn through his or her own initiative, you should at least watch that they don’t begin to choke or throw up.
If your dog becomes poorly through eating corn, it’ll be little more than an upset tummy – you might find your dog becomes a bit lacking in energy, and wants to lie down while his or her belly gurgles and sorts out what’s coming through.
You might be worried your dog has eaten the cob of some corn without your realising – perhaps you notice it’s missing from the garbage far too late, and are really concerned that your dog has eaten it and is going to suffer for it.
Calling your vet is a good first step, but you want to be certain your dog has eaten the cob of some corn first. Look for signs of sudden energy dips, or very intense dehydration – even vomiting over and over as they try and clear what has likely become an internal blockage.
Moreover, do your utmost not to panic. Your dog considers you his or her master, after all, and that means that if he or she sees you panicking about something they’ve done, they’re that much more likely to follow suit.
As you likely already know, getting overexcited in a time of risk only puts them in more danger – be calm and patient as you work to soothe and help your pet.
It’s surprisingly likely that your dog has been, in some way, eating corn for as long as he or she has been part of your family – you just never quite realised it.
Corn is such an important cereal in our dietary habits today that its nutritional values – protein, good carbs, vitamins and more – have all been put to good work boosting your dog’s health.
Yet if you’re feeding your dog corn directly, recognise that you need only a very small amount of it in their meals to really make a positive difference.
And as for corn on the cob, never let that central part itself enter your dog’s digestive system – it poses a serious risk of blocking them up and causing distress.