FoodFact: Why is Corn Toxic for Your Pet Dog or Cat?
It’s hard to resist the charm of corn. Be it a cup of steaming kernels, or a whole “chhali” all juiced up with lemon and masala, corn has been a wonderful snack for hoomans. Since it is rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals, it is the most recommended healthy snack across India and around the world. But should you be sharing this wonder-snack with your pet?
No. Most dogs are allergic to corn. Corn isn’t something that grows on its own in nature, it has to be specially cultivated. This is why the evolution of dawgies has skipped the whole corn syllabus, and now their bodies are not suited to digest it. To understand why it is not recommended for your pet, you must know the constituents of corn and how these affect your pet’s health.
If it doesn’t grow naturally, where does Corn come from?
Corn, also known as maize, was first cultivated in Mexico about 10,000 years ago. Before domestication, the corn cobs used to be only about an inch in length. Studies show that all of the maize that we have today actually comes from one single variety grown in Mexico. It was only after centuries of artificial selection and preferential crossing that corn became what it is today. Genetic modifications were also introduced to make the yield wholesome and nutritious (for humans).
What about Sweet Corn? Did that grow differently?
Sweet Corn actually occurred as a surprise mutation by the Native American tribes. After the Columbian Exchange, sweet corn started to be transported to areas in Europe and gained popularity as a savory delicacy in local dishes. Its health benefits to humans are what caused it to be accepted widely across all continents.
Why is Corn so popular, then?
Like all cereal grains, corn is primarily composed of carbs. Starch is the main type of carb found in corn. It also contains small amount of sugar. It has a low to medium glycemic index which makes it easier to digest. That’s also why it’s good for people who have diabetes or obesity. Corn also contains a good amount of fiber, which is what makes it good for human constipation. Corn also contain about 10-15% of protein, but it’s of extremely low quality. This is what makes it a popular filler in pet foods. Besides, corn contains beta carotenoids, vitamin B, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
If it is so nutritious for me, why is Corn Toxic for my Pet?
Many dogs are known to have severe allergic reactions to corn, which causes their immune system to flood their bodies with histamines. Histamines are released as a response to the corn input. The problem grows exponentially because the accumulation of histamines is lethal for your pet. The more corn we give to our pets, the more histamines accumulate and finally coalesce into mast cell tumors. These tumors may start off as benign, but almost always turn big and malignant. Corn is hence, toxic for your furry buddies, and must be avoided at all costs.
Are all forms of Corn bad for my pet? Even Popcorn?
Yes. Be it sweet corn, or corn on the cob, or popcorn, it must be avoided. Corn on the cob is considered the safest among all other forms of corn, but it could still be a choking hazard, a probable blockant of your pet’s intestine, and can cause inflammation and bloating. Pets may not chew it properly, and undigested corn can be a severe trigger for your pet’s digestive issues.
A small quantity may not be harmful to your pet, but over time, the collection of histamines can prove to be fatal for your pet. Don’t let corn ever develop into a habit. Try to keep it out of your pet’s sight.
Corn is great for you, but it may end up being lethal for your pet. So try to avoid it at all costs! Pets have a knack for loving things bad for them, so keep corn as far out of your pet’s reach as possible. If you really want to give this to your pet in a safer way, first consult your vet or pet nutritionist to check for your pet’s allergies, and only then proceed. But overall, avoiding corn is a better idea.
Have a corn experience to share? Post it in the comments below!
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – NOT VETERINARY CARE
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