Is Corn A Bad Ingredient in Dog Food?

Corn CobIt has been said that if you were to ask ten dog owners for their opinions on the right food to feed a dog you will get twelve different answers! It seems everyone has an opinion, and knows the “facts” about dog food that they have “heard” somewhere. Of course, a lot of the blame for the confusion can be laid at the feet of the petfood manufacturing companies themselves. After all, when you look at the poor ingredients that are used in many foods you can’t help wondering how the company concerned could have the conscience to market it as a “complete nutrition” for dogs, let alone with all the marketing hype that is found in most dog food advertising.

All this has led to many owners literally “throwing the baby out with the bath water” and denouncing anything that isn’t pure raw meat as bad food dogs. Without wishing to get into the debate over the merits or otherwise of a raw diet for dogs (apart from saying that many dogs I have observed on a raw food diet do not seem particularly healthy), the truth is that a dried dog food can not only be convenient and economical for the dog owner, it can also be extremely beneficial for the dog.

A common ingredient in dried dog food is corn. For some reason (no doubt something to do with information spread by petfood sellers whose brands don’t include it), it seems to have something of a negative connotation. Some people say it is unnatural, not well digested by a dog, of no nutritional value and simply a cheap filler used by companies to keep their prices down and their sales up.

But let’s look at some facts and we will find that corn is not only NOT harmful to dogs, it is also highly beneficial.

Corn is a carbohydrate and is thus an energy source. Dogs need a lot of energy, and corn is a very good way to provide it. Corn is one of the most digestible carbohydrates, with a 99% digestibility. This is why it has been described as “probably the perfect carbohydrate for dogs” by a number of nutritional experts.

The other reason corn is viewed negatively is because of the view that it can cause allergies. However, it is one of the least causes of allergies of any ingredient of dog food. In a study of 278 cases of food allergies for dogs where the cause was clearly identified, drone was way down on the list. Far ahead of it were beef, dairy products and wheat. Of the 278 cases of allergies in the study, only 7 were caused by corn.

Corn is also not a “cheap” filler. Human-grade corn (particularly when it is not genetically modified as is the case with Pro Pac) is not cheap to produce or buy.

As long as corn is not the FIRST (and therefore the main) ingredient in a food, it can be a highly beneficial component of the overall food for a dog. In fact there have been many reported cases of dogs that, when corn was removed from their diet, lost weight and coat condition and had a big drop in energy levels.

If you have heard that corn is “bad” and a “cheap filler” then you only need to look at the many dogs in magnificent condition who have a quality dried food that contains corn to know that corn is actually a highly beneficial ingredient.