Are Foods Containing Corn Potentially Harmful to Your Pet? The Short Answer is Yes.

Updated: Jan 22

It always saddens me when I see a headline in the news containing the words “Dog Food”, “Recall”, and “Dog Deaths”, especially when it is a situation that has a solution and can be prevented.

If you are not already aware, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall informing pet parents that high levels of aflatoxin in some pet foods resulted in 70 dog deaths and even more who got sick. The specific brands include Pro Pac, Sportmix, Nunn Better Maintenance, and Splash Fat Cat. It’s important to note that DOGPerfect does not carry or sell any of these brands.

Dog food recall

Upon seeing this recall due to aflatoxins, I felt it was important to bring to your attention the importance of avoiding feeding your pet foods that contain corn as an ingredient. It is really not worth the potential risks involved to your pet.

What Are Aflatoxins?

According to the FDA, aflatoxins are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus that can grow on pet food ingredients such as corn, peanuts, and other grains. At high levels, aflatoxins can cause illness (aflatoxicosis), liver damage, and death in pets. The toxins can be present even if there is no visible mold on the pet food.

If your pet eats food that contains high levels of aflatoxins, they can get aflatoxin poisoning. Pets are prone to aflatoxin poisoning because, unlike people, who generally eat a varied diet, most pets generally eat the same food continuously day in and day out. Even though we don’t sell any of these foods, we recommend rotating your pet’s diet across brands throughout the year for better vitamin nutrition and a well-balanced diet.

If your pet’s food contains aflatoxins, the toxins could accumulate in your pet’s system as they continue to eat the same food. If your pet eats moldy corn, grains, or peanuts, they can also get aflatoxin poisoning. Peanut butter can also cause this issue, which is why it is so important to buy a natural pet safe peanut butter if used as a treat or to disguise pills.

What Are the Symptoms?

If you notice any of the following symptoms, you pet could be suffering from aflatoxin poisoning:

  • Sluggishness

  • Vomiting

  • Jaundice (yellow tint to their eyes, gums, or skin due to liver damage)

  • Loss of appetite

  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding

  • Diarrhea

The Impact of Corn On the Pet Industry

For the last 17 years I have been blessed to work in this industry. This also means for the past 17 years I have been seeing dogs get sick and even dying when they are fed foods that contain corn. Besides corn being covered with glyphosate and raised with GMO’s, if not stored or handled properly mold can grow causing a myriad of problems including aflatoxin poisoning.

Corn is one of the hardest proteins to digest. Cows have 4 stomach chambers and still have problems breaking it down. I also do not have to explain to anyone after they eat corn what their stool looks like, ha! This is proof of how much is absorbed and cannot imagine what it does to dogs and cats who have small digestive tracts.

The reason why the grain-free industry started was because of the negative effects corn was having on dogs. Unfortunately, beneficial grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, and spelt have been pushed aside because of this. What we really should be looking at is how much protein is derived from meat and how little grain or vegetables are in food, instead of putting grain and grain-free against each other like it’s a political race.

What to Do If You Think Your Dog Is Eating Food with Corn?

First, read the label. Most brands will specifically say their food contains no corn on the packaging. Check the ingredients list on the back of the label to see if corn is listed. If you see corn listed, look for an alternative food. I recommend visiting your local pet store with a nutrition specialist who is knowledgeable.

I believe all dogs should detox twice a year with milk thistle for 4-6 weeks to help cleanse their system and highly recommend doing this regardless if your pet is being fed a diet that contains corn.

If your pet is exhibiting any signs of aflatoxin poisoning, take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Lastly, speak to an expert on a diet that is right for your pet. I would be happy to review what you are currently feeding your pet and recommend a diet plan that is best for them. Sign-up for a free one-on-one nutrition consult with me here.

About the Author:

Kyle Baker, Senior Pet Food Nutritionist at DOGPerfect, has a passion for educating pet parents on the power of nutrition and how it can improve their pet’s lives with proper food, supplements, and treats. With over 17 years of industry experience, he has helped change the lives of thousands of pets.


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