Corn in Dog Food: Good or Bad?

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Corn in Dog Food: Good or Bad?

Some people claim corn is a nutritious cereal in a dog’s diet, others defend that it is an unhealthy cereal grain.

What really is the truth? Is corn good or bad as a portion of our dog’s food? Should you choose dog food without corn?

1. Corn as a central cause of food allergies and gastrointestinal problems.

There are several other ingredients commonly known to cause an allergy in sensitive animals.

Wheat, beef and dairy products are much more likely to be allergens for dogs than corn.

Corn in Dog Food

2. Corn has been known as a filler.

Corn is a natural ingredient that supplies essential fatty acids, protein, carbohydrates and antioxidants.

It is not just a filler, corn has nutritional value.

It is a good source of energy but you should not buy a dog food in which corn is the primary ingredient.

You dog should eat a dog food with a meat protein as the first ingredient.

Corn gluten meal is purified protein which has been separated from the other parts of the kernel.

It should not be the only source of protein, however, it does make a good complement to other proteins in the diet.

3. Corn is easy to digest.

Corn is a whole grain that is not highly digestible. Unless the corn kernels are refined into flour or meal, this ingredient can be hard to digest.

4. Corn has a high biological value.

To claim that corn contains elevated biological value is not truth.

For example, compared to fish meal which has a biological value of 92 %, corn only has a biological value of 54 %.

My advice is:

Corn isn't something you have to avoid in your dog’s food label but you should be conscious about the real nutritional value of this grain.

Bottom Line

Corn basically makes dog food less costly to produce by diluting the diet’s more expensive meat ingredients.

The goal so many manufacturers use it is to make their products more reasonably priced for consumers.

Still, to announce corn essentially because of its nutritional benefits is very misleading.

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About the Author:

Hi! I'm Dora Mancha, DVM. I am graduated for the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Lisbon (2009). My degree is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). I completed my degree in Veterinary Medicine in July, 2009. Over the first years as a veterinarian my work was closely related to the animal health field. I have gained some average experience having worked in Barcelona University (UAB) Equine Hospital and by working with veterinarians in Portugal. In addition, in 2009 - 2010 I was in Madrid at the University Alfonso X el Sábio doing an internship in the equine service. I am also very interested in small animal medicine and surgery. In fact I worked in several small animals clinics in Portugal improving my knowledge about small animal behavior and health. Dogs always have been present in my life, since I was a child. At the present moment I have four dogs a Labrador, a Epagnheul Breton, a Whippet and a mixed breed dog.


  1. Keith Seifert June 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    The issue with corn is fungal toxins, a category of toxins called mycotoxins, especially fumonisin and aflatoxin. Both are strictly regulated in human food but not so much in animal food. They are more prevalent in corn products from warm temperate to subtropical environments, i.e. the southern U.S. and Mexico. Goggle these toxin names and decide whether you want to take the risk. I don’t.

    • Dora Mancha July 4, 2015 at 8:56 am - Reply

      I understand your concern. In fact the quality of corn in pet foods can vary greatly. There are five grades of corn quality according to the USDA. Grades 1 and 2 are traditionally used in human food products. In the case of dog foods it depends on the manufacturer. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance for three types of mycotoxins: Aflatoxin, fumonisin and deoxynivalenol (commonly called vomitoxin). A good monitoring system will detect any excessive levels of mycotoxins in incoming ingredients and allow you the opportunity to reject them. Here you can find the FDA Mycotoxin Regulatory Guidance –

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