This is an ingredient in lots of snacks and human food. Can dogs eat cornstarch? Is it safe? Keep reading to learn more!
Before you give your dog corn starch (or food made with it), let’s take a closer look at how safe it is to share with your furry friend.
For ultimate pet safety, I recommend consulting with your vet about all the questions you have about your dog eating any cornstarch.
- What Is Cornstarch
- Can Dogs Eat Cornstarch
- Is Cornstarch Bad For Dogs
- Benefits of Cornstarch In Dog Food and Treats
- Cornstarch Alternatives For Dogs
- How Much Cornstarch Can Dogs Eat
- My Dog Ate Cornstarch
- Final Thoughts
- More Dog Food Resources
What Is Cornstarch
Maybe you’ve seen this listed as an ingredient in dog food, or maybe you’ve used it to thicken food as you cook. Before we look at whether it is safe for dogs, let’s look at what corn starch is.
Cornstarch is a fine powder that is extracted from the endosperm of corn kernels. This food item is a versatile food thickener. In addition to being a thickening agent, it’s also used in gluten-free recipes in place of wheat flour.
Just like potato starch and tapioca starch, you can easily find cornstarch at the grocery store. It’s a common ingredient in dog biscuits and you might see it as a main ingredient in thick stews and chowders.
It is a safe ingredient for you to use in homemade dog treats. In fact, many dog food manufacturers use it in pet food, especially in dry food and dog biscuits.
Cornstarch is a popular ingredient because it is low-cost and easier for dogs to digest.
Is corn starch the same as corn flour? No, they are not the same thing. Corn flour is yellow. It is made from drying out kernels and pulverizing them into a powder.
Cornstarch is white. It is made from the starchy part of the kernels, not the entire kernel.
Can Dogs Eat Cornstarch
The good news is that it’s ok to give your dog cornstarch, just not by itself. Small amounts of food made with cornstarch powder is a great way to give them a gluten-free treat.
As long as your pup eats a healthy diet most of the time, some food made with cornstarch won’t hurt them.
It’s a good thing in moderation. I know this is oversimplifying things, so let’s look a bit closer at the benefits and dangers of cornstarch and your pet dog.
Is Cornstarch Bad For Dogs
First, let’s look at the potential drawbacks or downsides of cornstarch and pups.
Even though it is relatively safe for dogs to eat, cornstarch should not make up the bulk of a dog’s diet.
Danger of Dogs Eating Plain Cornstarch
It’s definitely not a good idea for pet owners to allow their dogs to eat pure cornstarch. This is because it has low nutritional value.
What about raw cornstarch or the powder by itself? Keep the box of cornstarch away from your pup. Even though it is non-toxic, if your dog tries to eat up an entire box, it could cause respiratory issues or even stomach problems.
Dogs Eating Too Much Food Containing Cornstarch
Cornstarch is not a healthy food. There aren’t many health benefits of cornstarch for dogs. In fact, it has a pretty high carbohydrate count. Dogs that eat too much sugar or carbs are at risk of weight gain. Overweight dogs are at a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Be careful and watch out for how much food or treats you give your dog that contain cornstarch – especially if your dog is overweight. Since it is an excellent source of carbohydrates, too much might not be the best thing for them.
It’s in so many different products, too! For example, you might find it in dehydrated dog treats. Even though they are safe for dogs, over-feeding them to your pet is not.
Your dog needs a diet that is high in protein, important vitamins, fiber, fatty acids, and minerals.
Avoid Human Food Made with Cornstarch
As with most things, human foods made with cornstarch probably aren’t a good idea to share with your dog. Chances are it will have too much starch, high amounts of calories, or too much sugar.
Food with cornstarch in it could cause an unhealthy spike in your dog’s blood sugar levels. This continual behavior puts your pup at risk for diabetes later on.
Even whole corn should only be shared with your pup once in a while. It shouldn’t make up most of their diet or food.
Dogs With Corn Allergies
The best way to introduce new food to your dog is to give them a small amount and watch for any side effects (like an upset stomach).
If you think your dog has a corn allergy, it is always best to ask your veterinarian to test them for it. Once it is confirmed, you can remove all dog food and treats that are made with corn starch.
Benefits of Cornstarch In Dog Food and Treats
There are a few nutritional benefits of cornstarch. Basically, it is a source of energy since it is a carbohydrate. It doesn’t contain any essential nutrients.
It’s also a fantastic alternative for dogs with celiac or gluten sensitivity. When you have to avoid gluten-containing grains, corn is a wonderfully safe choice.
There are other uses of corn starch for dogs that aren’t food! You can safely use cornstarch topically as a dry shampoo. It soaks up excess oil safely. Most dogs don’t react with any skin irritation from it at all.
It’s also a great, all-natural way to treat skin rashes. Apply a small amount to your dog’s skin, it will act like a protectant so their skin can heal.
Cornstarch Alternatives For Dogs
If your dog can’t eat wheat flour or corn starch, there are still a few options out there. Look for oat flour, or food made with rice, potato starch, or tapioca starch. In fact, I have a guide all about dogs and tapioca.
Some dogs enjoy a diet that is high in meat and veggies and they get their carbs from rice and potatoes.
How Much Cornstarch Can Dogs Eat
We have said that dogs shouldn’t eat large quantities of cornstarch, but what does that really look like? Well, it’s always better to look at the total calories your dog is consuming that day and compare that to their dietary needs.
Naturally, large amounts of high-calorie foods and treats could lead to obesity in your dog, which contributes to a higher risk of heart problems later on.
The Pet Nutrition Alliance has an easy nutrition calculator you can use. Input your dog’s weight, age, and other important details and it will suggest daily calories.
My Dog Ate Cornstarch
If you think your dog ate cornstarch, rest assured that they will probably be ok. The potential risks of cornstarch are pretty low. Watch for signs of digestive issues. If your dog ate pure powdered cornstarch, they might cough due to respiratory irritation.
If you think your dog’s abdominal pain is really bad, or you notice them showing signs of other adverse reactions, they might have consumed other things and you should contact your dog’s veterinarian.
Minor digestive problems or respiratory problems are easy to treat at home. Offer them plenty of trips outside, lots of water, and maybe some rice to calm their stomach.
Remember, if your dog has health issues or prior health conditions, always contact your veterinarian with questions.
As long as you feed your dog a balanced diet on a regular basis, it’s ok to give your pet an occasional treat that uses cornstarch as an ingredient. In fact, if you want some fantastic recipes for homemade dog treats, I suggest these dog cookies! The icing is made with cornstarch.
More Dog Food Resources
Here are more resources about more human food that dogs can and cannot eat. Stay informed and keep your dog safe.
- Can Dogs Eat Black Pepper
- Can Dogs Eat Flaxseed
- Can Dogs Eat Nutritional Yeast
- Can Dogs Have Nutmeg
- Can Dogs Have Turmeric
Find lots of articles about food dogs can eat (and ones they can’t) here on Spoiled Hounds!
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