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Can Dogs Have Cornstarch? Separating Fact From Fiction

Does your pup enjoy homemade treats made with cornstarch? Hold on! Before you offer them more, read this to determine if they really need such treats.

Can Dogs Have Cornstarch

Does your pup enjoy homemade treats made with cornstarch? Hold on! Before you offer them more, read this to determine if they really need such treats.

Cornstarch–a household name of your pantry is candidly used in several pet foods. While it’s marketed as a safe and non-toxic ingredient, some experts hold a different opinion. This uncertainty sparks a discussion: Can dogs have cornstarch?

Yes, dogs can safely consume cornstarch as long as they do not have allergies to cornstarch or corn-based products. While cornstarch itself is not toxic to dogs, overconsumption can lead to digestive issues. So, it’s best to avoid giving pure cornstarch by itself, but occasional treats containing cornstarch are safe. As always, monitor your dog’s reactions closely and consult with your veterinarian before making changes to their diet.

Despite its widespread use and marketing as a harmless additive, Pet First’s vets caution against its potential risks. Could this pantry staple be causing more harm than good for your furry companions? Let’s dive into the debate surrounding whether cornstarch is good for dogs to uncover the truth.

Can Dogs Eat Cornstarch?

Yes, dogs can eat small amounts of cornstarch without showing any signs of toxicity. However, the lack of nutritional value for dogs doesn’t make it an ideal addition to their diet. If your dog eagerly wags their tail every time you bake muffins and pies, rest assured occasional treats containing small amounts of cornstarch won’t pose any harm. Make sure you monitor their intake, as overconsumption isn’t healthy. 

Potential Benefits of Cornstarch for Dogs 

Cornstarch offers limited health benefits to both canines and humans. However, it’s still beneficial for dogs in the following ways:

1. Safe Alternative for Dogs with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity

Cornstarch serves as a safe alternative for dogs with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity since it’s gluten-free. Research has shown that it is hypoallergenic for dogs compared to corn flour. So, in case your dog is gluten intolerant, it provides a source of carbohydrates without triggering their adverse reactions.

2. Acts as Dry Shampoo

Cornstarch can be used as a dry shampoo for dogs to help absorb excess oils and odors from their skin and fur. When applied topically, it provides a natural and gentle way to freshen up your dog’s coat between baths, promoting skin health and cleanliness.

3. Enhances Palatability and Texture of Food

Adding cornstarch to homemade dog treats enhances their palatability and improves the texture. It helps bind ingredients together, making the food more enjoyable for your dog. It’s particularly beneficial if your dog is a picky eater or has dental issues.

Is Cornstarch Safe For Dogs?

Yes, cornstarch is safe for dogs when given in a pure and cooked form. A study has shown that dogs can efficiently digest cooked starch up to 95%, while the digestibility of raw starch is limited. Therefore, when introducing cornstarch to your pooches, ensure that it’s perfectly cooked to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort.

Risks of Feeding Cornstarch to Dogs 

While no incidents of severe toxicity have yet been reported, veterinary experts are concerned about the overconsumption of dog food containing cornstarch. They associate the following risks with the intake of large amounts of cornstarch:

1. Digestive Issues 

Cornstarch may lead to digestive problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or bloating in some dogs, especially if consumed in large quantities or if the dog has a sensitive stomach.

2. Obesity and Associated Diseases

Due to its high carbohydrate content, eating too much cornstarch can contribute to weight gain and obesity in dogs. The complications will be severe for them with a sedentary lifestyle. Dogs that are overweight or obese are more prone to developing conditions like hypertension and other heart problems. 

3. Blood Sugar Spikes and Insulin Resistance

The rapid digestion and absorption of cornstarch can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels in dogs, potentially contributing to insulin resistance and diabetes over time.

Dogs Allergic to Cornstarch  

While it’s rare, some dogs may have allergies or sensitivities to cornstarch. It may result in symptoms like itching, skin rashes, or gastrointestinal upset. Cornstarch itself is a safe alternative to replace wheat-based flour and other grains for dogs with gluten sensitivity. Still, it may trigger allergic reactions in those sensitive to cornstarch.

Foods Made with Cornstarch 

Baked goods, especially those rich in cornstarch, raise concerns about their safety for canines. These treats often contain other ingredients along with artificial sweeteners and are often considered as high-risk foods.

Similarly, the use of dog foods and treats containing cornstarch must be limited to avoid giving your pup too much of a good thing. This will ensure your dogs enjoy their treats to the fullest without compromising their health. 

Alternatives to Cornstarch for Dogs

As responsible pet parents, you always want to provide your dogs with safe and nutritious treats. Fortunately, there are several options available that offer similar texture and binding properties without the potential risks associated with cornstarch.

  • Use potato starch in homemade dog treats as it serves as a good binder and is easily digestible.
  • Tapioca, oat, and rice flour are healthy gluten-free options for dogs with gluten intolerance.
  • You can use both chickpea and coconut flour as a low-carbohydrate alternative.

The Bottom Line

With numerous commercial dog treats mixing cornstarch with other ingredients, it’s challenging to find one without it. As we said, cornstarch isn’t particularly beneficial for dogs. Therefore, it’s essential for pet owners to understand its implications on canine health. Yes, dogs can have cornstarch, but it’s best to avoid offering it to your pups more than necessary.

Rico Alanan

Rico Alanan

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