Can Dogs Eat Corn? There Are Some Exceptions

Three Minutes
Jun 15, 2022

Sharing is caring, and if you’re staring into a set of puppy eyes, sharing your corn on the cob may feel like a requirement! Your dog may be literally begging the question, “Can dogs have corn?” and the answer is a resounding yes!

Let’s go over the health benefits of corn and the best way to share it with your pup.

OK, but Is Corn Good For Dogs?

Corn is one of many beneficial fruits and vegetables that dogs can eat and is so good for dogs that it’s already in many popular commercial dog food formulas already. In fact, it's suggested that a kibble diet that lists corn as the first, and most abundant, ingredient can be healthier for dogs than a dry kibble that lists meat first.2 Some of the nutritional benefits of corn:

●      Energy: Above all, corn is an easily digestible carbohydrate that fuels your dog.

●      Gut health: Due to its high fiber content, corn can help improve regularity for sensitive guts.

●      Skin and coat: Corn is particularly beneficial due to the omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid, a key nutrient in maintaining healthy skin and shiny coat. If your dog has dandruff, increased shedding, thin or discolored hair and slow healing, they may have low levels of linoleic acid in their diet.

●      Immune system: Linoleic acid also supports a healthy immune system.

The Exception: Is Any Type of Corn Bad For Dogs?

Do not feed your dog canned corn. Any nutritional benefits intrinsic to the grain itself are not worth the sodium levels present in canned corn. According to the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists, sodium ion poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lethargy, tremors, seizures, shortness of breath, and disorientation.3

For reference, a medium-sized dog, like a beagle, can be poisoned with salt with just 1.3 tablespoons.

FAQs About Dogs And Corn

Can puppies eat corn?

Puppies’ digestive systems are underdeveloped and may not be able to break down human foods. Dog food that is specialized for puppies will target their unique nutritional needs. It’s best to avoid giving puppies human food until they’re an adult.

How much corn should I give my dog?

According to the AKC, treats should account for less than 10% of your dog’s caloric intake.4 Try replacing a few of your dog’s regular snacks with cooked corn kernels instead as an occasional treat. Before you do that, you should talk to your vet before making changes in your dog’s daily diet.

Can dogs eat corn cobs?

No — the safest way for dogs to eat corn on the cob is by removing the corn kernels from the cob itself. The cob presents a serious choking hazard to dogs if they try to swallow any pieces of the cob. If they do manage to swallow any portions of the cob, it can also cause a serious intestinal blockage that may require surgery to fix.

You should consult a veterinarian immediately if your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms:

●      Dehydration

●      Lethargy

●      Reduced activity

●      Ongoing vomiting

●      Loss of appetite

●      Diarrhea3

Can my dog eat popcorn?

Yes — dogs can eat popcorn that has no salt, butter, or other flavorings. It’s high in fiber and carbohydrates which is good for digestion. Before you dump the crumbs at the bottom of the popcorn bag onto your dog’s food, remove all unpopped kernels since these are indigestible.

We suggest using popcorn occasions to deepen your bond with your dog and offer some light treat-based training.

Best Ways To Incorporate Corn Into Dog Food

As previously mentioned, always remove the corn kernels from the cob before feeding your dog corn to prevent risking life-threatening choking and intestinal blockages. Cook the corn thoroughly, either by boiling, baking, or grilling it. Frozen corn is always in-season and can be a welcome treat in the summer heat, but make sure that the frozen corn is free of salt and other additives.

Sprinkle a small amount of corn on your dog’s food as a tasty treat or use the kernels as medium-reward treats for training purposes. If you suspect your dog ate a cob, consult your veterinarian immediately. For an added layer of protection, consider adding a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance1.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 “Nutrition - General Feeding Guidelines for Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals

3 Pet Poison Control: Salt, American College Of Veterinary Pharmacists

4 “How Many Treats Can Your Dog Really Have?,”  American Kennel Club