Most dogs aren't especially picky about what they eat, so if you offer cracked corn to your dog he will probably give it a try. The real question is, should you be feeding cracked corn to your dog? Learn more about benefits and drawbacks of feeding corn then decide what's right for your pet.
Like all food, quality matters. Corn used in animal food tends to be lower quality than food corn and may contain pesticides. If this concerns you, organic cracked corn is an option but may be challenging to find in some areas. Corn gluten, the protein component of the corn kernel, offers another option for owners concerned about pesticide use and is available in pellet form at feed stores. You may replace some dog food with corn gluten pellets. Finally, you may decide to avoid corn-based products for your dog.
Corn offers a natural source of vegetable-based protein as well as fiber and carbohydrates, making it a balanced food choice. It is the least expensive protein for dogs, falling way behind meat in terms of cost. "Cracked corn" specifically refers to broken pieces of dry corn kernels, versus whole dried or fresh kernels. The unsaturated fats in corn promote skin and coat health, and carbohydrates offer energy. Many corn-based products are less expensive than their counterparts. As long as your dog is not negatively impacted by a corn-based diet, you may wish to feed him corn.
Corn is a top allergen for dogs, along with wheat and soy. Signs of a food allergy include poor coat quality, excessive licking, dry or itchy skin, frequent ear infections, hot spots, flatulence and anal gland problems. Certain breeds are more prone to food allergies, including the Dalmatian, German shepherd, Lhasa apso, dachshund and retriever. For this reason alone, you may wish to avoid corn-based foods in favor of those less likely to cause allergies.
Compared to other cereal grains, corn is also more challenging for your dog to digest. You'll notice an increased volume of solid waste in dogs with a high corn diet. As a high carbohydrate source, corn gives dogs energy and you may wish to avoid it if your dog has too much energy already. Corn used for feed may not be high quality. If you're concerned about pesticides, either avoid corn or look for organic cracked corn.
- 4 Paws University: What Are You Feeding Your Dog?
- "To Your Dog's Health!: Canine Nutrition and Recent Trends Within the Pet Food Industry "; Mark Poveromo
- Modern Dog Magazine: Food Allergies 101
- Washington State Legislature: WAC 16-213-260 Cracked Corn, Corn Screenings, and Mixed Grain Screenings Inspection Definitions.
- North Dakota State University Extension: Corn Gluten Feed
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images