Is There a Dog Food Without Corn Meal?

Corn is not easy for your dog to digest.
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Dog foods are made with and without corn meal. The main components of dry dog food in order of importance are protein, fat and carbohydrates. The specific components used to make up the protein, fat and carb sources vary among manufacturers as well as from batch to batch. This is because the raw materials are bought in commercial-sized lots, and from different farms, storage facilities, states and countries.

Why Is It Used?

Corn meal is a source of carbohydrates and an integral part of the manufacturing process of dog food kibble. The starch from the corn is part of the gelatinization process and is necessary for the machinery to form the pellets more commonly known as kibble. It also is an inexpensive way for the manufacturers to dilute the amount of more expensive meat protein in the kibble.

Read the Label

The ingredients on a dog food label are listed by weight, with the highest at the top and the lowest at the bottom. Look at the ingredients label to determine if your dry dog food has corn meal in it and how much it has. If corn meal is listed as one of the top three ingredients, there is a high proportion of corn meal in comparison to protein. Other terms to look for are corn germ meal, which is derived from corn germ after most of the oil has been taken out of it, and corn gluten meal, which is the “rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it,” according to Dog Food Advisor.

Which Food to Buy?

Corn meal is an ingredient in dry dog kibble. It is not included in wet dog foods. Many brands of dog foods do not use corn, but be aware that just because a label says the kibble is organic, it still may contain corn meal. Four Paws University lists the following brands as corn-free: AvoDerm, Blue, California Natural, Canidae, Chicken Soup for the Dog, Healthwise, Honest Kitchen, Innova, Karma, Kirkland Signature (Costco), Merrick, Natural Balance, Newman's Own, Nutro Natural Choice Ultra, Orijen, Pinnacle, Solid Gold, Taste of the Wild, Trader Joe's and Wellness. You can access ingredient lists on the manufacturer web pages and check to see if your local retailer carries any of your top choices.

Bottom Line

Having corn meal in your dog’s food isn’t inherently bad. Dog kibble manufacturers can be misleading in their advertisement of corn meal contents and its purpose. You should talk to your veterinarian about the effects of corn meal on your pet’s health. You’ll need to take into consideration any allergies your dog has. Also consider how you feel about corn meal and how much, if any, you are comfortable feeding your pet.