One Pet Food Ingredient I Strongly Suggest You Avoid
If you’re like a lot of pet parents, you’ve probably heard murmurings of the “great corn debate”. Is it or is it not harmful for your dog? In fact, the subject of corn is one of the most debated topics in the dog food realm.
Certainly, it’s no secret that corn is a filler ingredient. It’s cheap to produce so it goes into many commercial dog foods.
But the question of whether or not it’s harmful for your pet depends on a few factors not the least of which is whom you ask. Obviously, the farmers who produce the corn think it is fine while many dog owners aren’t so sure.
On the plus side, the farmers and even some veterinarians say that corn contains essential fatty acids like linoleic which help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy.
It also contains carotene, lutein and vitamin E which every pet needs.
Yet, walk into any pet store and review the dog food labels, you’ll find an increasing number of them advertise that they’re completely grain free—including corn. Why is that? Does it really matter? Is corn truly that harmful to your pet?
What’s the Big Deal about Corn Anyway?
There are a few concerns about corn and its impact on your dog’s health. Here are a few of them.
1. Corn is not easy to digest – There’s a huge debate around whether or not corn is digestible for dogs so let’s look at the facts. Corn is a whole grain. In order for it to be digested, it needs to be cooked and ground into a fine substance – which it is if it’s in commercial dog food.
So what’s the problem? Dogs are carnivorous beings and grain wasn’t a big part of their ancestral diet. That means their bodies aren’t built to process it easily. Now, many of them can eat grains just fine, but others don’t. You’ll see more about that in a minute. When dogs don’t process corn (or other grains well), they may itch a lot, have a dull coat and be low in energy.
2. Corn and allergies – You probably know allergies are on the rise in the canine world. The symptoms include itchy skin, frequent ear problems, hot spots, dull coat and a host of other ailments.
You might also know that it’s tremendously difficult to diagnose dog food allergies. For example, to determine if your dog is allergic to corn, you have to make sure he’s not exposed to it at all for a period of several weeks.
If you do this corn elimination diet, you’ll likely find it’s helpful to jot down notes about your dog’s demeanor and appearance during this “corn free” time and see if you notice any changes.
You might wonder what causes allergies anyway? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation classifies allergies as the “most common chronic disease.”
People (and pets) who suffer with allergies have highly sensitive immune systems. These immune systems can be triggered by eating too much of the same thing. That’s why corn, soy and wheat allergies are so common these days. If your dog has been eating a corn laden food for years, he could be more susceptible to allergies.
The allergy symptoms include a dull coat, frequent itching or ear infections among other symptoms. In some cases, if you remove the trigger, these symptoms will clear right up.
3. Corn Spikes Blood Sugar – It turns out that corn is a “high glycemic” food. You may have heard that high glycemic foods spike your blood sugar? That’s true and it does the same thing for your pets.
This is a problem because when your blood sugar spikes, it’s going to fall resulting in a “sugar crash.” That’s bad enough on its own – you’ve probably experienced the accompanying lethargy. But consider what else it does to your body. High glycemic foods spark insulin production which signals the cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage. Then, as the blood sugar falls, the pancreas tells the liver to release stored sugar.
Essentially, a diet based on a surplus of high glycemic foods means your pet’s body will struggle constantly trying to regulate his blood sugar which can trigger diabetes.
4. Grain quality – Then there is the concern about the quality of the grain itself. It’s no secret that today’s corn is not the same corn that your great grandparents ate. The corn produced today is genetically modified which as you may know is a type of crossbreeding and is highly controversial. GMO’d food like corn can contain bacteria, viruses and a number of other problems.
Another concern with today’s corn is that it’s full of a type of mold called mycotoxins. The science journal Science Direct reports that mycotoxins are prevalent in many foods, including grains and they can cause dizziness, stomach upset and other problems.
5. Corn can lead to weight gain – Since corn is a high glycemic food, too much stored sugar is common unless your pet is highly active. Just like with humans, too much weight gain puts a lot of stress on the body.
It makes the heart work harder, raises the blood pressure and stresses the joints. Depending on the breed of your dog, an extra pound or two can be like an extra 10 or 20 pounds for an average person. If your pet is already suffering with doggie arthritis or other health problems, extra weight only contributes to the problem.
As you can see, corn isn’t the best ingredient to include in pet food. If your dog shows any symptoms of allergies like frequent scratching or hot spots that just won’t go away, it could be the symptom of a food allergy.
Instead of corn filled pet foods, make sure your fur kids get a high quality meat-based protein source to thrive. Review your dog food label to ensure it leads with a named meat protein like chicken, duck, etc.
And don’t forget about dog treats. Many of them also include corn. This is another reason to feed a single ingredient treat like our Premium Kangaroo Tendons. There’s no corn involved. Just single ingredient treats from wild, natural kangaroo. See how much your dog will love them today.