Can My Puppy Eat Corn on the Cob?

Learning the ins and outs of feeding a puppy (and then, of course, a full-grown dog) can take time, persistence, and patience. All three are crucial to ensuring that your new pup grows healthy, strong, and vibrant. Finding the food they like most, for example, and healthy snacks they enjoy.

Depending on the time of year you adopted your new puppy, it’s likely there were certain fruits and vegetables available at your local grocery store. For example, strawberries come in early summer, while other fruits and veggies tend to come closer to Autumn.

One veggie that comes out later in the year in most of the U.S. is corn, one of humankind’s most popular foods. Eating freshly cooked corn on the cob is an American tradition unlike any other. It’s also a tradition many puppy parents want to share with their puppy.

When I got my first puppy, fresh, sweet corn was available, one of my all-time fave summertime foods. That inevitably led me to the question many of my readers ask me, which is “can my puppy eat corn on the cob”?

The answer, my corn-loving readers, is that no, feeding your puppy corn on the cob is not recommended. There are several reasons why, including the fact that an undigested corn cob can potentially cause a life-threatening blockage in your puppy’s intestines. 

Puppies can also choke on a corn cob, and even if it gets down into their stomach, it’s incredibly difficult for them to digest. (Which is what causes the aforementioned intestinal blockage). In short, eating corn on the cob can be very dangerous for a puppy.

Now that you know you can’t give corn on the cob to your puppy, you might be wondering if you can still give them corn off the cob or other types of corn. If yes, read on. I’ve got the answers to those questions and several more below to help you keep your precious pup healthy and safe.

What Happens When Dogs Eat Corn on the Cob?

If your puppy has eaten corn on the cob, don’t panic, but do make sure that they aren’t choking or unable to breathe correctly. The thing is, the average puppy swallows stuff they shouldn’t on a pretty regular basis. (They’re silly that way.) Typically, whatever they eat will pass through their GI tract and get pooped out eventually if they can swallow it.

Corn on the cob is different, however, as corn cobs can be relatively large compared to your puppy’s intestines, especially the small intestine. If the corn cob is too large, which is often the case, it can get lodged in their GI tract and cause a blockage, which can be very dangerous and even fatal.

Typically, your puppy will have signs and symptoms of a corn cob blockage in the first 12 to 24 hours after they’ve eaten a corn cob. (Or several of them.) Some of the symptoms and signs that your puppy has eaten a corn cob that’s impacting their health include:

  • General malaise
  • Diarrhea
  • An aversion to food. (A sure sign something’s wrong.)
  • Tenderness and swelling in the abdominal area.
  • Difficulty defecating (pooping), or they only make small amounts of poop.

How to Help a Dog who Ate Corn on the Cob?

First off, if you haven’t already guessed, you should never feed corn on the cob to your puppy. Like, ever. The risk is incredibly high that it will cause them harm or even death. Of course, most people don’t give their puppy corn on the cob, but, instead, their puppy steals it when they aren’t looking. 

Sometimes, during the heat and craziness of the summer, a corn cob will be left out where a puppy can get it. They might also go digging through the trash if they get the chance, looking for the object that smells so darn good. (Warm corn cobs covered with butter and salt? Yes, please!)

If your puppy has eaten a corn cob, there are a few things you should do to help them. Keep in mind, though, that the chance they will need veterinarian intervention is high, especially if you don’t know precisely when your pupper ate the corn cob. If you suspect they’ve eaten a corn cob, here are the steps you should take next:

  1. Make sure any other con cobs are removed from their reach.
  2. Try to determine exactly what they ate. Was it a big corn cob, a small piece, etc.?
  3. Contact your local vet and give them as much information as possible. 
  4. Follow your vet’s instructions and, if necessary, take your pup to their clinic.

If you know your puppy ate the corn cob very recently, your veterinarian might be able to induce vomiting so that they throw it back up. Inducing vomiting usually involves using a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution given to your puppy orally. However, there are more powerful remedies to make them vomit that your vet can use if necessary.

What About Other Corn for Dogs?

Here’s the thing; corn is actually nutritious for puppies and dogs alike and can be given to them off the cob as a snack. According to the AKC (American Kennel Club), it’s perfectly safe to give your dog corn off of the cob but, as I’ve mentioned, only in small amounts.

One of the most popular cereal grains on the planet, corn is found in a wide variety of dog foods and kibble. It’s relatively inexpensive and provides them with several nutrients, including protein, antioxidants, and carbohydrates. Corn also provides other vitamins, fiber, and a small amount of fat. So, yes, your puppy can eat corn off the cob.

Raw Corn

Yes, your puppy can eat raw corn off the cob. Cooking does make it easier to chew, although dogs aren’t particularly good at chewing their food and will usually just swallow the raw corn kernels whole.

Cooked Corn

Yep, off-the-cob-cooked corn is safe for puppies and, as I mentioned, does offer several nutritional benefits.

Sweet Corn

Sweet corn is also safe for puppies, but, as with all snacks, it’s best given in moderation.

Corn Kernels 

Corn kernels are the best way for your puppy to eat corn, with kernels that have been removed from the corn cob. It’s the safest way for them to eat this delicious and relatively nutritious snack. 

Frozen Corn

While your puppy can eat frozen corn, it’s not a great idea. The reasons are that it can cause a choking hazard, and also, since frozen corn is very hard, it could damage your puppy’s tiny, immature teeth.

Final Thoughts

Can your puppy eat corn on the cob? The answer is that no, they should never eat corn while it’s still on the cob. If they swallow the cob whole, it could cause grave harm or injury to your puppy and even kill them. At the very least, you’ll be looking at significant veterinarian bills to have the cob surgically removed from their GI tract.

Your pup can eat corn off the cob, though, especially if it’s been cooked and is nice and soft. They love it, and corn offers several nutritional benefits, including protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. Corn should, however, only be given to your puppy occasionally and in small amounts as a treat, not as their primary source of food.

I hope you really liked today’s blog article and that it answered all of your questions about whether or not your puppy can eat corn on the cob. Please see my other blogs if you have more questions about your puppy’s diet, what they can and can’t eat, or anything else about your precious pup. They’re filled with real-world, actionable information that can help you raise your puppy right and help them become a well-adjusted, happy and healthy adult dog.