Recently, I wrote a blog about how to tell if your dog is at an ideal body weight. Over the years, I have found a passion for animal nutrition and I hope to share some of that with all of you! Today, I would like to talk about a common ingredient found in dog food, corn! To be frank, corn is a cheap filler that provides no benefit to your pet and it is something you never want to have in the list of ingredients you feed your dog. You will find a lot of different opinions out there on corn, but just remember to look at where your information is coming from. If you are reading that corn is great for your dog from a pet food manufacturer that uses corn, they may be a bit biased! Veterinarians also receive profit from the foods they sell you, which contain a large amount of corn. Therefore, many of them are not too eager to tell you not to feed it to your pet.
Corn in Your Pet’s Food
Pet food manufacturers sneak more and more corn into the food they make by splitting it up within the ingredients list. Words like “ground whole grain corn”, “corn gluten meal” and “ground yellow corn” is just a fancy way for pet food manufacturers to put corn further down the ingredients list. It is common now for pet food manufacturers to advertise that the first ingredient in their food is “real meat”. But, when you add all the corn ingredients together, corn ends up being the first ingredient. Yuck! Dogs are carnivores, and unless your dog is vegan, you want to see a meat source as the first ingredient.
A glycemic index refers to how rapidly a food raises blood sugar. When blood sugar rises, your dog’s body produces insulin to try to balance out that spike in blood sugar. A high production of insulin is hard on your dog’s body and can lead to diabetes in your dog and weight gain. So, why is that relevant? Well, you guessed it: corn has a very high glycemic index. In addition to the information above, corn is even worse for high energy dogs and puppies. You don’t need to artificially spike your pet’s energy levels when they are already full of beans! It can also contribute to higher anxiety levels and behavioural issues related to anxiety. So if you already have an anxious pup, it is best to avoid this ingredient!
What to Look for Instead
If you are going to feed your dog a food with corn, check for splitting ingredients. If more than one ingredient has the word “corn” in it, chances are corn is actually the first ingredient in your pet’s food.
Sweet potato is a great gastric regulator for your pet! It can help to keep your dog “regular” and keep your pet’s stool healthy. In addition to being a great dietary fibre, it is also high in vitamin B6. Look for a kibble with sweet potato as the carbohydrate source instead of corn.
Although dogs do gain benefits from different veggies and fruits, like spinach and blueberries, corn is not a vegetable that should be included in this list. Think about your dinner plate: adding something like corn and potatoes fills you right up, but you gain much more nutritional benefit from a leafy green salad. Add fresh food to your dog’s diet! Really, “people” food! Fruits like blueberries are high in antioxidants and great for your dog’s heart health. Grab a bag of organic frozen blueberries and add them to your dog’s bowl. According pet nutritionist Rodney Habib from Planet Paws, “dog on a diet of dry commercial pet food fed leafy green vegetables at least three times a week were 90% less likely to develop cancer than dogs that weren’t.” In addition, “dogs fed yellow-orange vegetables three times a week were 70% less likely” to develop cancer.
Unless your pet has a medical condition, I would highly suggest not feeding kibble purchased from a veterinarian. Most of the time, it is overpriced and contains a lot of corn. Do your research at home first before asking your vet about the kibble you are feeding your dog. Before heading out to a pet store, research what brands are exclusive to their store. They gain much more profit off of these foods and are more likely to try and sell them to you.
With all of that being said, you know your pet best. Do your research and decide what you feel most comfortable feeding your dog, whether this be a processed kibble diet with some fresh foods, strictly kibble or raw! As always, if you have any questions feel free to ask below or come visit us at Wooftopia!
Keep those tails waggin’ and those kisses coming!