Commercial Pet Food Myth Busters-is Corn Good Or Bad?

by Amanda K. Jones, LVT - Date: 2007-03-26 - Word Count: 367 Share This!

I have a feeling corn started to get a bad rap in the commercial pet food industry because of people's own experiences with "the kernel." When humans eat corn they typically eat the whole kernel. However, the outer husk or shell of the kernel does not get digested and "shows up" later on in feces (my apologies for the lovely visual). Perhaps this is why some people think that corn is not digested or is just a filler in commercial pet food--who knows.

A filler is an ingredient that serves no nutritional purpose. Corn does NOT fit that description. When pets eat corn from commercial pet food it's ground up. Ground corn is highly digestable and pets can easily absorb the important nutrients that it provides.

These nutrients include a highly available source of complex carbohydrates and substantial quantities of linoleic and linolenic acid, essential fatty acids important for healthy skin. These fatty acids also play important roles in keeping the immune and central nervous systems healthy.

Corn also provides a number of essential amino acids and fiber. It may surprise you to learn that corn is considered to be a nutritionally superior grain by pet food experts because it contains a balance of nutrients not found in other grains.

Let me repeat in case you missed it the first time: corn is considered to be a nutritionally superior grain by pet food experts.

I bet you've also heard that corn is a major cause of allergies. Nope. Wrong again. More nutritional gossip.

Veterinary dermatologists recently reviewed over 200 confirmed cases of food allergies in the scientific literature. Only three cases were caused by corn (the same number was reported for rice). Foods most often causing canine allergies are beef, dairy products, and wheat.
Foods most often causing feline allergies are beef, dairy products, and fish.

It's true that carbohydrates, including corn, are typically some of the least expensive ingredients in pet foods. Therefore, some people snub their noses at pet foods with ground corn listed as the first ingredient because it must be "cheap."

However, at the same time, I doubt these same people also snub their noses at water - - a substance that is vital to life but always readily available and inexpensive.

Related Tags: pet food, pet nutrition, pet food ingredients, commercial pet food, pet food nutrition

Amanda Jones is a licensed veterinary technician and ebook author. She has had several articles published in professional veterinary journals and is a Tails, Inc. Magazine Furry Forum Expert. If you're a pet owner interested in feeding your pet a raw or homemade diet or are looking for more information on basic pet food nutrition, you may be interested in Amanda's FREE 8-week course. For more information please visit

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