Is Corn Good for My Dog?

Updated: 12/21/20232-4 minutes
Smiling dog

We all want the best for our dogs. And lately, you may have heard more than a little skepticism about corn in dog food. Since there’s so much misinformation floating around, we think you should know the real facts about corn before you decide what’s right for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Corn?

Absolutely. Our research and expert nutritionists have shown us that corn is not only acceptable in a dog’s diet, but also beneficial to their health.

Is Corn Just “Filler” in Dog Food?

No, corn is not a filler and has nutritional benefits. Grains can actually be nutritious for dogs and cats, according to Lisa Freeman, veterinary nutritionist and clinical professor of nutrition at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. “Dogs and cats can digest and metabolize grains quite well. They’re not there as filler, but instead provide proteins, vitamins, and minerals.”

Why Use Corn in Dog Food?

Corn is part of a balanced diet and an excellent source of:

  • Protein. The corn gluten meal we use functions as an important source of protein and amino acids, which are vital for maintaining healthy muscles, skin, and hair. So if you’ve been wondering, “is corn gluten meal good for dogs,” these are just a few of the reasons why.
  • Carbohydrates. Whole corn or corn meal provides easily digestible carbohydrates, which serve as a key energy source for your dog.
  • Linoleic acid. This omega-6 fatty acid found in corn is essential for helping your dog grow and maintain his healthy skin, coat, and immune system. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, which means your dog’s body cannot manufacture it on its own – it must come from plant foods in the diet, and corn is an excellent source.
  • Antioxidants. Corn contains antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene, which help support a healthy immune system. In fact, ounce for ounce, corn has twice the level of antioxidants as an apple.

“Carbohydrates often get a bad rap, but carbohydrates actually provide your pet with quick energy that can help spare protein for use in supporting other bodily functions,” states the Pet Food Institute. “Carbohydrates also can be a good source of fiber, which promotes gut health and motility. Certain sources of carbohydrates (such as corn) also provide essential nutrients such as protein, fat, fiber and vitamins.”

What About Allergies?

According to the Clinical Nutrition Team at Tufts University, “While food allergies in pets are uncommon, allergies to grains are even rarer.”

Less than one percent of dogs may have sensitivity to corn. Naturally, if your dog is part of that one percent, of course you should opt for a corn-free diet. But for the ninety-nine percent of dogs who thrive on a diet that includes corn, we proudly include this nutritious ingredient in a wide variety of pet food products.

NOTE: The only way to truly diagnose a food sensitivity/allergy is through a diet elimination trial administered by a veterinarian.

A Personal Choice

Ultimately, whether or not to feed a dog food without corn comes down to personal choice. Now that you’ve read this article, you’re better equipped to make a well-informed decision for your dog.

Would you like to learn more about why Purina believes in the power of grains, including corn? Click here.

Is Corn Dood for Dogs?

It’s reassuring to note that less than one percent of dogs are allergic to grains. The other 99 percent actually thrive on a diet that includes grains such as corn.

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