Can Dogs Eat Corn on the Cob?

By Adrienne Farricelli

Doggies have an instinct as scavengers to eat anything they can find, whether it's edible or not. As summer and barbecue season approaches, many people will be serving up corn on the cob — delicious to humans, but potentially dangerous to pups. 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.

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Sweet corn kernels in wooden bowl over white
Corn kernels on their own are a great source of energy, for humans and for dogs!
credit: PeterHermesFurian/iStock/GettyImages

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

Eaten Corn on the Cob
The cob itself can be very dangerous to your pooch!
credit: epantha/iStock/GettyImages

The main danger with corn on the cob is that 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.