Is Corn Really Bad for Dogs:
Of all the ingredients that are found in pet food, it is my own experience that corn is considered to be the worst. Many pet food companies now state on the front of their bags that their products are free of corn. Is corn really bad for your dog?
Corn Compared to Other Carbohydrates:
It may be hard to believe, but corn is not necessarily any better or any worse than other carbohydrates that are found in dog food. Dogs tend to do better on diets that are rich in animal products, such are poultry, meat, eggs, and fish. Any diet that is dominated with plant products will be inferior. It does not matter if the plant product being used is barley, rice, potatoes, peas, or corn. In and of itself, corn is no better and no worse than other grains.
Some dogs are allergic to corn. In these cases, owners should obviously buy foods that are free of corn. Again, it is not anything inherently wrong with corn. Dogs can be allergic to anything really, including but certainly not limited to chicken, rice, and beef.
The Kind of Food that Contains Corn:
The commercial pet foods that contain corn tend to be lower quality, not because of the corn, but because of the other ingredients that the foods made with corn usually contain. Generally, foods that contain corn are the same ones that are filled with unspecified animal products (for example: meat and bone meal, animal fat, etc.) and by-products. I have noticed that the better brands of dog food generally do not contain corn. I personally believe this is because the customers they are marketing to do not want to feed their pets foods made with corn for a variety of reasons.
With this being said, it is wrong to assume that because a food is corn free it is automatically healthy. As mentioned above a pet food manufacturer has a number of other plant products they can fill their bags and cans with, leaving little room for the animal products your dog craves. Many corn free foods are just as bad as corn containing foods.
Corn is one of the most commonly split ingredients in pet food. Ingredient splitting is when one particular food appears many times on the ingredient label. It is a way for manufactures to hide how much of an ingredient (usually a grain) is in the food. For example, a label may read: Beef, corn, corn gluten meal, corn meal…. If the corn was not broken into different parts, it would most likely come before beef on the ingredient list. The manufacturer effectively fools the owner into believe the bag of dog food is meat based, when is it actually very much corn based. Any ingredient can be split, but corn and peas seem to be listed on pet food labels much too often like this.
Plant Protein Concentrate:
Many dog and cat food companies add concentrated sources of plant protein to artificially inflate the crude protein amount on the label. Anytime an ingredient list includes corn gluten meal, this is probably the manufactures intention. Once again, this can be done with other plant-based ingredients as well. Watch out for any food including pea protein, pea protein concentrate, potato protein, wheat gluten meal, and similar ingredients. These are all tricks to make the buyer believe that there is a good amount of protein in the product. In reality, dogs (and people) digest and process animal protein much more efficiently than they do plant protein, so while the guaranteed analysis may boast a crude protein of 30%, only 25% of that protein may be digestible by your dog.
There is nothing inherently bad about corn, but there is a problem with feeding a carnivore a diet primarily of grains. Any diet that is plant based is not optimal for most healthy dogs. It doesn’t matter if it is corn, wheat, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, or peas. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that just because the food you buy for your dog boasts a corn free label that it is healthy for your dog.