Can Dogs Eat Cornstarch?
Corn starch is a common ingredient in many baked goods, including dog treats designed for pets. In small amounts, corn starch, baking soda, and similar ingredients are relatively safe and typically don’t cause any health problems or reactions in your pet.
Cornstarch is prepared by processing corn kernels with the skins removed, then ground to form a powder or cornflour. While this food is relatively safe for your pet in minimal amounts, there are considerable risks to consider before feeding your pet any form of this vegetable, including sweet corn, canned corn, fresh corn on the cob, or pure cornstarch.
Common Risks of Feeding Dogs Cornstarch
Cornstarch is added to many foods, including dog food, dog treats, and varieties of human foods such as baked goods, sauces, gravies, and prepared meals. It’s often used as a thickening agent and can replace wheat flour or similar flours containing gluten or other grains.
Before you consider feeding your pet a treat or baked good with cornstarch, it’s best to understand the possible risks for your pet.
Pure Cornstarch Powder
On its own, cornstarch powder should be avoided, as it is unhealthy for dogs by itself. While the pure powdered form of this ingredient isn’t toxic to pets, and a small amount isn’t likely to cause any problems, cornstarch can cause respiratory problems and digestive issues.
On the other hand, when a recipe includes cooked cornstarch added to a prepared treat or food item, it becomes completely safe for your dog.
Over-Feeding Your Dog Treats or Dog Food Containing Cornstarch
In moderation, foods that contain cornstarch don’t pose a severe risk to your dog’s health, though, in excess, there is an increased chance that this ingredient may contribute to several conditions.
Health conditions that may develop or worsen from over-eating baked goods with high-fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, and related ingredients include high blood sugar, leading to diabetes, heart-related problems, cancer, and obesity.
Skipping Human Food With High Sugar and Cornstarch
Pastries, bread, loaves, muffins, and other baked human foods are generally not ideal for dogs. While it may be tempting to treat your pup with a slice of banana bread, or half a muffin, these baked goods contain various ingredients that pose a risk to your pet, including artificial sweeteners, chocolate, nuts, sugar, and excessive cornstarch or wheat flours.
While cornstarch isn’t the issue with these foods, it’s important to avoid feeding them to your dog, even as an occasional treat.
Allergic Reactions to Corn-Based Ingredients
Corn-based flours and ingredients are often an excellent substitute for wheat flour, especially when your dog is allergic to wheat, gluten, or other grains. If your dog is allergic to corn, there is a risk of adverse food reactions when your pet consumes a treat with cornstarch or cornflour.
Severe allergies may cause an allergic reaction, such as indigestion, intestinal blockage, respiratory problems, or other health issues even where just a tiny amount of corn flakes or ingredients are added, or you only sprinkle cornstarch minimally.
Benefits of Cornstarch in Dog Food and Treats
There are advantages to adding cornstarch as an ingredient in pet foods. It’s an inexpensive, versatile food that can easily be blended into many recipes with little or no effort. The physical consistency of cornstarch is effortless to work with and mixes well with other ingredients, including both dry and wet foods, to create gravies, sauces, cookies, and biscuits.
It’s also a valuable agent for pet grooming, which can be applied as a dry shampoo, which can remove excess oil from your dog’s fur while protecting your pet’s skin in between bathing and regular shampooing.
You can also use cornstarch with baking soda to reduce unwanted odors on your pet’s coat, like a deodorant. It’s a practical option as a home remedy to treat a minor scratch or wound on your dog, though more severe injuries should be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.
Cornstarch offers critical benefits worth considering when you purchase dog food, treats, or create homemade meals for your pet as a food product or ingredient.
- It’s a natural ingredient made by processing corn kernels, which can be added to various foods, including human-grade and pet treats.
- The powder consistency is light and easy to blend with almost any ingredients without creating lumps
- It’s naturally gluten-free, ideal for pets with gluten intolerance, wheat allergies, and celiac disease. You can replace many flours, including barley, rye, and wheat, with cornstarch for a lighter, allergy-free treat.
- You won’t pay much to purchase cornstarch, as it is inexpensive and can often be bought in bulk or readily found in the baking supplies section of your grocery store.
While cornstarch doesn’t contain a wealth of nutrients for your pet, it’s a great option as an ingredient to include in homemade dog treats and foods, including biscuits, cookies, and other foods. It’s also a valuable item to keep in your pantry for home remedies, as a dry shampoo, or treatment for skin rashes, excessive oil, and other uses for your pet.
How Dogs React to Eating Cornstarch
Since cornstarch doesn’t contain any strong flavor or odor, it’s relatively easy to include in your dog’s food without any adverse reaction to its taste. Dogs typically consume foods containing cornstarch quickly, as the flavor is neutral and blends well with most, if not all, flavors in your pet’s treats, including beef, chicken, salmon, bison, turkey, pork, and vegetables.
While it’s advisable to avoid feeding plain, pure cornstarch powder to your dog, it’s a safe and easily consumable ingredient in everyday foods.
Alternatives to Cornstarch
If your dog has a corn allergy, there are some great alternatives to consider when baking or preparing treats for your pet. Tapioca flour or potato starch is a healthy substitute and offers a similar consistency to cornstarch in recipes.
There are also a great variety of gluten-free flours if your pet doesn’t react well to food products with gluten or wheat and other types of flours made from chickpeas, rice, oats, and other nutrient-rich foods.
The Appropriate Amount of Cornstarch for Dogs
Cornstarch is often added in minor or moderate amounts when blended, mixed, and cooked foods. If you notice your dog’s curiosity about pure cornstarch powder involves eating a sample, it’s essential to remove it immediately and monitor your pet for symptoms.
While it’s not typically shared, dogs may develop unusual eating habits that can put them at risk of consuming foods with toxins. Cornstarch isn’t a high-risk food, even in its purest form, though it can contribute to stomach upset and digestive problems, which may become severe in some pets.
Ideally, cornstarch served in moderate amounts is best for dogs, though baked goods and treats that contain high amounts of this ingredient should not become the central part of your pet’s diet.
It’s essential to ensure that your dog receives a diet high in protein, amino acids, omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. These essential nutrients support your pet’s physical development, growth, and health.
Cornstarch is a staple ingredient in many baked goods, either as an enhancement to texture and flavor, a thickening agent, or an alternative to flour. Whether you purchase commercial dog food products, unique formulas recommended by your veterinarian, or prepare homemade foods for your pet, you’ll often notice cornstarch as an ingredient.
Like many common ingredients in commercial and homemade pet food, it’s best to ensure that your dog doesn’t consume too much and monitor your pet for any adverse reactions due to an undiagnosed allergy or health condition.
If you prepare homemade dog treats or food as a part of your pet’s diet, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian and ensure that the ingredients included are of the highest quality and include all the essential nutrients your dog requires for optimal growth and development.
Your dog’s diet should provide a high nutritional value, which requires a high-quality protein from one or more sources, omega fatty acids for skin and coat health, and essential vitamins and minerals for overall development.
High nutrition for your pet is especially vital during the early stages of life when your pup is under twelve months old. Cornstarch is a great option that binds and mixes flavors, ingredients, and textures for delicious snacks and treats for your pet.