Corn is a staple in so many dishes that it’s an integral part of most American diets. But can your dog enjoy some delicious kernels as well, or should the only corn dogs be the ones dipped in batter?

By Chad Taylor
November 20, 2020
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One of the surest signs that summer is in full swing is when corn on the cob makes its triumphant return to farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and dinner tables far and wide. A staple of American comfort food, corn is one of the most popular vegetables in the U.S., and is used in everything from Thanksgiving corn casserole to Mexican street corn on a stick to southern-style cornbread partnered with BBQ. But can our dogs eat corn and enjoy it like we do?

Can Dogs Eat Corn?

Yes, but as with most all “treats” for dogs, corn should be given in moderation. In small, regulated amounts, there’s nothing wrong with your dog enjoying a little corn if they enjoy it. In fact, most types of corn (especially sweet corn) have enough natural sugars to make them taste good for dogs, so chances are high that your dog will appreciate the tasty alternative to dog biscuits.

Nutritional Value of Corn

Corn is rich in protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants, making it a great way to beef up the nutritional value of dog foods with as few ingredients as possible.

“Snacks that are high in fiber are useful because they can help suppress appetites,” says Denver-based vet Kaci Angelone, DVM, MS. “High fiber foods can make them feel fuller longer, which can help combat obesity.”

How Should Corn for Dogs Be Prepared?

People use corn in a variety of ways, not all of which are ideal for your dog. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s safe and what’s not:

Corn on the Cob

This one should be a hard pass. While it might seem like a fun treat/toy combo for your pup, corn cobs are fairly easy for dogs to break and chew, but difficult to swallow and digest, which can lead to intestinal blockages.

What do you do if your dog eats a corn cob? If you think your dog has swallowed a piece of cob, watch them closely for signs of lethargy, dehydration, loss of appetite, or vomiting, then get them to a vet if any of the above occurs.

Popcorn

This is a safe treat for dogs in moderation, provided that it is unsalted and unbuttered, to cut down on sodium and empty calories.

Canned Corn

“Canned corn is great,” says Angelone. “It’s a high fiber snack, no added salt, no extra ingredients. Avoid corn casseroles and the like, because of all the extra fat and oil. If you’re going with canned, I’d skip the creamed corn, but raw corn is fine.”

Corn Tortillas and Cornbread

Once again, the biggest caution here is going to be moderation. Corn tortillas can be high in sodium, depending on how they are prepared, and cornbread is often laden with fat and butter, both of which can lead to upset stomachs and diarrhea in the short term, and chonky dogs in the long term. Try not to purposely feed these foods to your dog, but if he swipes a bite dropped on the floor, he will probably be OK. Just watch for signs of illness and contact your vet ASAP if there's anything out of the ordinary.

Other Veggies Dogs Can Eat

There are a variety of fruits and vegetables that are safe and healthy snacks. These veggies are some of the best ones for dogs given they’re packed with vitamins and nutrients:

Though some plant foods can be good for dogs, it’s best to stick to a balanced diet of healthy dog food recommended by your veterinarian. If you do decide to give your pup a human food treat now and then, make sure your vet has cleared it and always supervise your pet to watch for any signs of choking, allergies, or adverse reactions.