Can Dogs Eat Cornstarch? When It’s Safe And When It’s Not

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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Cornstarch is a versatile food ingredient extracted from the endosperm of corn kernels. It is used as a food thickener, an anticaking agent and as a filler for baked goods including dog treats. To obtain cornstarch, corn kernels are processed and their outer shells are stripped off, while their endosperm is ground to form a powdery consistency.

The decision whether or not to give cornstarch to your dog depends on factors such as the form in which they exist and whether your dog is allergic to corn.

Pure, powdered cornstarch is non-toxic but still unhealthy for your dog and there is every chance that it could cause digestive issues and respiratory irritation in your pooch. However, cornstarch in baked or dehydrated dog treats is safe for your dogs but bear in mind that over-feeding these dog treats can increase the risk of obesity, cancer and heart-related problems in canines.

There are also concerns of allergic reactions associated with the ingestion of cornstarch in dogs, but with very little protein content, cornstarch has proven to have a lesser allergenic effect than corn flour. Most times, cornstarch in Fido’s diet will be fine for him but when he shows any sign of allergies such as vomiting, diarrhea or itchiness, then the vet’s intervention will be very much needed.

Is Cornstarch Bad For Dogs

Cornstarch is probably not going to be problematic to your dog when added to their diet but its low nutritional value does not make it the healthiest choice for your dog.

Cornstarch is often used as a filler for dog treats. However, corn in most dog treats is not referred to as a filler because they contain the nutrient-dense and fibrous layers of corn as well as the starchy part.

Dog treats still should not be treated as a staple food and should be supplemented with other nutrient sources to achieve a balanced diet.

While cornstarch contains very little protein, it can still provoke allergic reactions in your dog. Your pooch can develop food allergies, even when they have been eating it for years without any adverse effect. This is because their immune system becomes sensitized over time and eventually reacts to the allergy-provoking ingredient. The main component of corn responsible for inducing allergic reactions in canines is a protein known as zein.

Similar to other allergies, symptoms of corn allergy in dogs includes the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Obsessive self-licking
  • Eye Irritation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching

Most times having cornstarch in dog treats isn’t bad for your dog but do they really provide any health benefits to your furry buddy?

Health Benefits In Cornstarch For Dogs

While cornstarch is a rich source of carbohydrates which is less important for dogs, it is deficient in other essential nutrients such as protein, fibers, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Hence, most of the nutritional and antioxidant benefits dogs can normally obtain from eating whole corn are lacking in cornstarch.

In essence, your aim should be to provide your dog with nutrient-rich diets rather than simply stuffing their stomach with a lot of food. This will ensure they are healthy and strong.

According to SELF NutritionData, One cup (128 grams) of cornstarch contains the following nutrients:

Calories: 488

Total Carbohydrates: 117g

Dietary Fiber: 1.2g

Protein: 0.3g

Fat: 0.1g

Vitamins: 0.5mg

Minerals: 42.8mg

Water: 10.7 g

Also, cornstarch is gluten-free, making it suitable for dogs with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. As more people are eliminating gluten-containing grains (like wheat, rye, barley or farina) from their dog’s diets, there is an increasing demand for gluten-free alternatives.

Cornstarch has been found to be of great importance in dog grooming. You can use cornstarch as a dry shampoo to bathe your dog, eliminating excess oil from his skin without having to use water. Cornstarch is usually mixed with baking soda to reinforce its deodorant effect.

You might be interested in Can Dogs Eat Mulberries Safely? Nutritional Guide

Do Dogs Like Cornstarch?

Dogs enjoy treats containing cornstarch just like any other. As a matter of fact, you can use them as a lure to teach your dog basic commands. But one thing to never do is feed your pet pure, powdered cornstarch starch.

If you find your dog eating pure cornstarch, this may be as a result of pica, where your dog develops cravings for things they should eat. In such a case, It’s best to contact your vet for concerns about your dog’s unusual eating habits.

How To Feed Your Dog Cornstarch

It is important that you don’t allow your dog to eat cornstarch right out of the box. Just like in humans, it can irritate your dog’s respiratory tract resulting in common symptoms like sneezing and coughing. Below is a video of absolutely how not to feed your dog cornstarch.

However, It’s fine to serve your dog treats made with cornstarch in a moderate amount. They must not be served as a staple diet and should be supplemented with enough protein-rich foods and vegetables. Remember that though these treats are not necessarily harmful, they can cause problems if you feed too much.


Can Dogs Eat Corn Flour?

Corn flour is a safe ingredient used to pad out many dog foods but its low nutritional value makes it an unsuitable option. There are also concerns of corn allergy as corn flour is even more allergenic for dogs than cornstarch. So, your dog may have to stay away from corn flour.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

Dogs can eat a modest amount of popcorn as long as it is plain and air-popped. Popcorn should only be fed as an occasional treat and it can be harmful If it contains salt, butter, sugar or other flavorings.

Is Cornstarch Safe For Dog’s Skin?

Cornstarch is a healthy solution to giving your dog a dry bath. It absorbs excess oil and makes an excellent stain remover, keeping your dog coat smooth and shiny. It also has a deodorant effect on the skin of your dog.

Can You Put Cornstarch On A Dog Wound?

Yes, it is an effective home remedy for dog bleeding. It is sometimes mixed with baking soda and padded onto the bleeding site. However, this can introduce infections to the injury. So, you are better off reaching out to your vet for medical assistance.

Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Cornstarch?

Yes, but only when it is present in baked dog foods. It is not a nutritious option for dogs but still safe when served in a small amount. Also, it should be noted that your pooch may develop food allergies to corn. Unlike many other grains, the absence of gluten in cornstarch is definitely a plus for your pet.

Make sure to keep a close eye on what your dog eats. I’ll advise for the safety of your dog that you contact your vet to make sure any new food you want to serve your dog is really safe and healthy for him. Do the same if you notice any sign of illness in your dog. By doing so, you can ensure that your dog is always safe, healthy and happy.

Well, that’s our answer to the question, can dogs eat cornstarch? Now you know whether cornstarch is good for dogs, do you want to learn more about feeding your dog? Check out our article on can dogs eat chicken breast or can dogs eat mulberries.

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.