corn in dog food

Check the ingredient list on your dog food label. Pretty good chance you will find corn listed as an ingredient. What purpose does corn (cornmeal) in dog food actually serve?  Is it beneficial or harmful? In this article, we will answer these questions regarding this popular ingredient often found in dog food. Let’s get started.

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Why Is Corn In Dog Food A Good Thing?

Proponents who support corn as a beneficial ingredient in pet foods are plentiful. These individuals will tell you that corn found in dog food formulas, are beneficial in a number of ways. Corn, in your dog’s diet will provide the following benefits:

  • Good source of protein – Provides energy.
  • Good source of carbohydrates – Provides energy to your pet, as well as a healthy source of fiber, promoting healthy digestion.
  • Source of Linoleic acid – This is an essential fatty acid, one that your canine cannot manufacture on its own, with corn providing the source to do so. Helps to maintain healthy skin, coat and immune system.
  • Provides a rich source of Vitamins A, B and E as well as beneficial minerals to your pet’s diet.

These are the primary benefits that corn or its forms, provide your four-legged companion. When taking a look at these benefits above, it is easy to understand why this ingredient is approved by numerous doh enthusiasts.

Why Is Corn In Dog Food A Bad Thing? Or Is It?

Those who oppose this ingredient in pet food, have their opinions as well. These individuals are just not comfortable with corn in their recipes, and cite the following reasons on why they feel this way. Keep in mind, these are beliefs that may or may not be based on facts. Let’s take a look at these below: 

  • Corn is just a cheap filler that provides zero nutritional value.
  • Dogs have a difficult time digesting corn.
  • Corn and other grains contribute to food allergies in dogs.

What This Veterinarian Has To Say

Let’s now look at these beliefs and compare them to facts. According to Dr. Roger Welton (Web – DVM) , a practicing veterinarian, corn “is actually a significant source of protein , polyunsaturated fat, and Vitamin B6.

In addition to this, Dr. Welton, states “corn is deshelled prior its inclusion in pet food making it quite digestible.” 

In response to the belief that corn is a major contributor to food allergies, the Doctor states, ” A recent study from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) on 278 cases of food allergies in dogs determined that beef (95 cases) followed by Dairy (55 cases) were the biggest culprits.  Of the grains, wheat was the highest at 42 cases, and corn was responsible for a mere 7 cases.  This study falls in line with most food allergy studies that have historically determined corn to represent less than 0.1% of food allergy cases in veterinary medicine.”

What Side Of The Fence Are You On?

corn vs no corn

Look, I am not trying to convince you one way or another. As a dog owner yourself, you certainly are entitled to have your own opinion as it relates to corn in dog food. 

The purpose of this article is to simply provide you observations (opinions) from both sides. As you have just read, the veterinarian (Dr. Welton) is a proponent of corn in dog food. He bases this on the nutritional value that corn provides our pets in their diet.

Others will argue that corn or any type of grain is simply not beneficial to our pets. This belief is so strong, that dog food companies are and have been formulating pet food recipes with the ‘grain free’ label. Is this a fad or a marketing ploy? Some will say yes, and others would respond with a no.

 Myth Or Fact?

Still not sure? Speaking with your local veterinarian regarding this topic may help to reduce your anxiety. Over the years, I have used a number of dog food brands that list corn as an ingredient. My dogs have all lived a long, healthy life so having ‘corn’ in my dog’s diet has never been concerned.

In my research involving this ingredient, it was difficult to find any real facts supporting the downside of corn in pet food products. I did come across a number of myths regarding this grain in dog food. Here are a few of these presented by Tuftsyourdog.

Myth #1 – Corn in dog food is just filler to add weight and volume and replace meat, which is much more expensive.

Myth #2 – Corn cannot be digested, or digested properly, by dogs.

Myth #3 – Because dogs are carnivores, like their ancestors the wolves, they should simply not consume carbohydrates of any kind.

Myth #4 – Because corn is rich in carbohydrates, it overwhelms the sugar-controlling functions of the pancreas, leading to dog obesity, diabetes, and other serous conditions.

Myth #5 – A lot of dogs are allergic to corn.

The same site that lists these myths, also counteracts this by naming facts to each one. You can find these here. 

Corn … You Have A Choice

As I noted earlier, it is not my intent to convince you one way or the other. My goal in this article is to shed some insight regarding this topic. Some dog owners will stay from corn and other grains at all cost (Grain-free recipes) where others will embrace the the nutritional value of corn.

In any event, I have listed a couple of recipes below for your convenience. The one on the left, (Orijen Original Grain-Free) is a popular, quality product that does not contain corn. The one on the right, (Hill’s Science Diet) a healthy brand of dog food, does contain corn in its ingredients. Simply click on each image below for further details.


Orijen dog food

Hill's Science dog food










Thank you for visiting my site, and I hope you received some value. Please feel free to leave a comment below or ask a question. To the health of your pet!



For those unfamiliar with dog food grain-free recipes, there has and is a controversy taking place as I write this article. The FDA has made public that it has launched an investigation between a possible connection between the grain-free diet and heart disease within dogs. For further information, the American Kennel Club has provided further details. Click here.
The purpose of this site and articles are intended to provide a source of entertainment and information. As a dog owner and dog lover myself, I enjoy researching dog food products on the market to provide you with helpful insights. I am not a veterinarian nor an animal nutritionist, just a dog owner who wants to provide a healthy lifestyle to their pet. I use my research to express an opinion which may or may not be one you agree with. assumes no responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of what’s written on this site. You should always consult with a veterinarian if you should have questions regarding your dog’s diet or overall health.


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