Corn in Pet Food: A Natural Ingredient

April 11, 2019

Corn in Pet Food: A Natural Ingredient

Apr 11, 2019

Author: Julie Busse

Today is National Pet Day and there are a lot of benefits to feeding your best friend a diet that includes corn ingredients. The Kansas Corn Growers Association and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) commissioned a study through Kansas State University to look at corn in pet food. We will release and share the results of the study in its entirety in May. Until then, here’s a snapshot of some of the findings and our top 10 reasons why you should include corn in your pets’ diet.



  1. Corn provides energy AND nutritional value to pets.

  2. Corn provides kibble binding and expansion due to starch properties when it is cooked in the presence of water and heat (a process known as starch gelatinization).

  3. Including >60 percent corn in pet food recipes promotes quality stools and high apparent total tract digestibility in dogs, to levels comparable to sorghum and rice. The disappearance of starch in corn is nearly 100 percent by the point at which it is excreted in feces.

  4. Corn is a great choice for extruded kibbles due to its palatability and structure forming physical properties.

  5. Corn adds energy to the diet and provides nutrients like fiber, protein and lipids (fatty acids and antioxidants).

  6. Corn is also known to be high in carotenoid antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

  7. Dogs fed a corn-rich diet also produced more short-chain fatty acids in the colon. Short chain fatty acids are supportive to the immune function and homeostasis of the intestine.

  8. Corn is an example of a starch ingredient that can be used in dry pet foods due to its physical properties. Other nutrients like fiber and proteins may be more concentrated in corn by-products derived from corn processing, and these confer additional health benefits to the pet diet.

  9. Corn is sustainable! Since 1980, yields have increased 64 percent, energy usage has decreased 44 percent, soil loss has decreased 68 percent and GHG emissions have decreased 36 percent per bushel of corn.

  10. Corn is an abundant, available and affordable ingredient.