Can Dogs Eat Corn on the Cob?

As scavengers, dogs have a natural predisposition to gobble up anything they find, whether edible or not. While a kernel or two of corn will not typically hurt a dog, you may want to intervene immediately should Scruffy get a hold of that left over corn on the cob you left unattended on the plate.


The Good

Corn on its own, is not toxic or generally harmful to dogs. Corn is an excellent source of energy because of its high carbohydrate content, according to veterinarian Brent Mayabb. Corn also contains essential fatty acids, protein and natural antioxidants. If you scrape off some kernels from the cob and offer them to your dog or allow him to clean off some corn remnants as you firmly hold on to the cob, you shouldn't expect any major problems as long as he isn't allergic to certain foods.

The Bad

Those leftover corn kernels stuck to the cob may be tempting to feed to your dog, but keep in mind that at times, sensitive dogs may develop allergies to corn causing troublesome symptoms such as hives, red, itchy skin and intestinal effects. However, contrary to common belief, corn is not a common cause for allergic reactions in dogs. Indeed, corn was responsible for less than 2 percent of all of the allergies in dogs, according to a study.

The Ugly

The main issue with eating corn on the cob is the fact that some dogs may swallow the whole cob or a large chunk of it. Often, dogs can pass the most unimaginable items, but corn on the cob is often one of the most difficult to pass because of its size. Once ingested, the cob gets stuck somewhere within the dog's digestive tract causing a partial or complete intestinal obstruction. This means a corn on the cob stolen from the table may cause Scruffy to end up on a table too, but this time the surgeon's table.

When to Visit a Vet

While at times corn on the cob may pass uneventfully in large dogs, medium and small dogs are those at bigger risk for an obstruction. If your dog gobbled up corn on the cob watch for signs of trouble such as vomiting, straining during defecation, loss of appetite, stomach pain, whimpering and restlessness. In this case, have your dog see a vet immediately and be careful to never feed corn on the cob again.

References Pet Shed: Toxic Foods For Dogs And Cats
Royal Canine: Corn in Pet Food
Paw Nation: Corn
Dog Food Scoop: Dangerous and /or Poisonous Foods for Dogs
Glenwood Veterinary Clinic: Ingredients and Nutrients
Hills Pet: Corn - An Amazing Grain

About the Author
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.