Friday, 28 June 2013

Corn, Corn Derivatives Very Bad for Your Dog and Cat – A Real Threat to Health and Life-Span

In this article:

  • Serious Health Issues Caused by Corn and Corn Derivatives
  • Examples of Pet food That Contain Corn and Corn Derivatives
  • A List of Corn, Corn Derivatives and Other Ingredients That May Contain Corn
Pet food products (dry food, wet food, treats, dental care products, toothpaste, etc.) that include corn and corn derivatives definitely compromise health and shorten your dog’s and cat’s life-span. 

At the end of this article you will find an extensive list of ingredients that do and may contain corn. 

I recommend that you check the ingredients list on your dog's and cat's pet store food and health care products – if a product contains any of these items replace it with a healthy alternative...

Serious Health Issues Caused by Corn and Corn Derivatives

Corn – Not a Species Appropriate Food

Not only is corn a filler and a nutrient poor food, it is also not a species appropriate food for dogs and cats.

Aflatoxins – Toxic, Carcinogenic

The majority of the corn (soy, rice and other grains) used in animal-grade food in North America is not screened for aflatoxins. Aflatoxins grow mainly on grains but they also grow on legumes - like peanuts, walnuts and pecans.
  • Aflatoxins can also be found in cottonseed oil, fish meal and peanut oil. 
  • Foods (in this case corn - grains) that test positive for aflatoxins cannot be used for human grade food production. There are no such regulations for animal grade foods so aflatoxin-positive crops can and are used in animal feed including commercial grade dog, cat and bird food;
  • A dog's or cat's body can usually detoxify small amounts of aflatoxins, however;
  • When aflatoxins are constantly present in the diet the liver and kidney cannot keep-up and as a result toxic loading on the dog's/cat's system increases.
  • The toxic load increases exponentially when the body is already struggling to process a host of other toxins. 
  • Aflatoxins cause liver cancer.

Life Threatening Glyphosate, Toxic, Carcinogenic

The corn (and soy) used in most North American pet food is the fact that corn and soy crops are grown from Genetically Engineered (GE), round-up ready seed. Round-up is Monsanto’s most widely used and most aggressively marketed herbicide. The active ingredient used in Round-up is a glyphosate – a health and life threatening substance. Glyphosate residues get into ours’ and our companion animals’ bodies via: 
  • The food chain (large factory farm fed animals);
  • Processed foods that include corn and soy and derivatives, etc. 
Round-up is also destroying the health and viability of soil. Round-up was specifically designed to be used in partnership with Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered ‘Round-up Ready’ seeds that – seeds that are engineered to tolerate glyphosate. Plants adapt, including the ‘weeds’ that glyphosate was originally designed to kill. The weeds have become ever more resistant to glyphosate. As a result farmers are using more and more of the powerful toxic, carcinogenic herbicide. Genetically engineered crops are literally drenched with glyphosate.

When the food crop is harvested toxic glyphosate residue remains on the grain and subsequently remains in the resulting food product.   

Glyphosate is also an endocrine disruptor – the terrible toll resulting from this is discussed further below.

Immune System Suppressor and Allergen

Grains are a major cause of food sensitivities and allergies in dogs and cats. Both species digestive systems' are not evolved to consume sugar or a diet that is heavily laden with carbohydrates – especially not refined carbohydrates. As such a dog’s and a cat’s immune system may recognize grains as a foreign substance, in which case the animal’s immune system can become overly active in its quest to battle the foreign substance. The over-active immune system can result in the creation of an allergy to the substance.

When an allergy occurs allopathic veterinarians will usually prescribe steroids. Unfortunately steroids turn the immune system off.

With the immune system shut down the the body cannot perform its normal self-regulatory function to keep the balance between good and bad flora in the gut.

Yeast feeds on sugar. Sugar is also an inflammatory and a contributing factor to cancer. When too much sugar is present the natural balance of good bacteria vs. bad bacteria can become disrupted leading to an overgrowth of bad bacteria which results in an overgrowth of yeast – a ‘yeast bloom’. 

A dog’s and cat’s digestive system quickly converts refined carbohydrates such as grains - i.e. corn, wheat, rice into sugar. In addition, some dog food and treats contain sugar. As the yeast grows it spreads through the blood stream and can end-up in the ears creating an ear infections, in the paws there by creating a yeast infection in the paws and in more extreme cases the entire surface of the body’s skin may be inflamed with the yeast infection.

Once again allopathic medicine can and often does make the situation worse.  Allopathic veterinarians prescribe antibiotics to treat yeast infections. Antibiotics kill all bacteria – good and bad. This may then result in a further blooming of yeast, and if the root cause of the allergy is not resolved, the yeast infection can become a reoccurring and chronic condition. In severe cases of yeast infection, carbohydrates such as potatoes and sweat potatoes may also need to be eliminated from the diet. Even honey which does have immune system boosting properties may have to be eliminated. By adding to the daily diet, immune system boosting foods such as organic unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, garlic, turmeric and probiotics you can help eliminate the infection and prevent re-occurrence.

Brain Function Disruptor

A diet that has a high content of processed grains can be a major contributing factor to impaired brain function. While no dry dog food provides the correct balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids, the balance gets further exacerbated when that food includes high levels of processed grains such as corn. Remember that upon ingestion, grains get converted to sugar very quickly. This spikes the body’s insulin levels which in return creates a spike in Omega-6 fatty acids. High-levels of Omega-6 fatty acids cause cellular inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are the brain’s anti-inflammatory. If you are feeding your dog a commercially manufactured dog food, and nothing else - your dog’s Omega-3 fatty acid levels are much to low and Omega-6 too high. Your dog’s brain is not getting what it needs to function optimally. You can read more about that here.

As noted further above, grains - particularly genetically engineered corn disrupt the health of the gut. Disruption of the gut effects physical health and mental health. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood control, depression and aggression. The greatest concentration of serotonin is found in the gut, not in the brain, as many people assume. So, if the gut is not healthy serotonin levels can end-up being seriously impacted, and so too psychological health.

Endocrine Disruptor with Multiple Severe and Lethal Consequences
Glyphosate is an endocrine disrupter. Gluphosate is a known source of the following (in people and companion animals): Autisim; Alzheimer’s disease; cancer (various types) and is now being recognized as a definitive contributing factor to the development of breast cancer; depression; digestive issues; liver disease; Parkinson’s disease; and miscarriages and birth defects in humans and companion animals.

This article provides a good overview of health impacts of glyphosate. You can find multiple articles on the many very negative health impacts of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-up here

Of all the crops grown in North America - corn ranks as #1 for chemical-intensive agri-growth - responsible for:
  • Almost half of all nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer use the impacts of which are highly destructive;
  • 40% of pesticide use in North America, and;
  • 80% of the weed-killer atrazine which has been proven to cause changes in gender in animals - remember humans are animals too;
  • You can read more about the very harmful effects of growing GMO corn here
In addition glyphosate kills beneficial insects such as bees – without bees there will be no food crops. You can read about that here and here.

Examples of Pet food That Contain Corn and Corn Derivatives

Many of the Prescription dog and cat foods sold in Veterinarian’s offices are corn-based – you can see some examples and read about them here.

Many of the Prescription dog and cat foods sold in Veterinarian’s offices are corn-based – you can see some examples and read about them here.
Five Mega Multi-National Companies - Five Common Household Names - So Much Deception…The Big Five listed above produce multiple brands of some of the most popular dog and cat food and treats available in North America. What you might not know is that their products are a serious threat to your dog’s, cat’s health and can see some examples and read about them here.

To see some examples of common corn and corn derivative included foods sold at pet stores you can take a look here.

The threat posed to our companion animals by corn and soy – especially genetically engineered  corn and soy is anything but benign!

Ingredients to Avoid...
A List of Corn, Corn Derivatives and Other Ingredients That May Contain Corn

Ingredients That Definitely Contain Corn
Corn extract
Corn flour
Corn gluten
Corn oil
Corn meal
Corn starch
Corn sweetener
Corn sugar
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
High fructose corn syrup
Hydrolyzed corn
Hydrolyzed corn protein
Modified corn starch
White vinegar (that is not labeled Non-GMO, or USDA organic) 

Ingredients That May Contain Corn…
Alpha tocopherol
Artificial flavorings
Ascorbic acid
Barley malt
Bleached flour (also look for look for ‘cereal findings,’ ‘end mill run’)
Brown sugar (light brown)
Calcium citrate
Calcium fumarate
Calcium gluconate
Calcium lactate
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
Calcium stearate
Calcium stearoyl lactylate
Caramel and caramel color
Carbonmethylcellulose sodium
Cellulose microcrystalline
Cellulose, methyl
Cellulose, powdered
Citric acid
Food starch
Fumaric acid
Germ/germ meal
Glucose syrup
Gluten feed and Gluten meal
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate (HPMCP)
Lactic acid
Lauryl glucoside
Linoleic acid
Magnesium fumarate
Malic acid
Malonic acid
Malt syrup from corn
Malt, malt extract
Methyl gluceth
Methyl glucose
Methyl glucoside
Microcrystaline cellulose
Modified cellulose gum
Modified food starch
Molasses (corn syrup may be present)
Mono and di glycerides
Potassium citrate
Potassium fumarate
Potassium gluconate
Propionic acid
Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol monostearate
Salt (iodized salt)
Semolina (unless from wheat)
Sodium carboxymethylcellulose
Sodium citrate
Sodium erythorbate
Sodium fumarate
Sodium lactate
Sodium starch glycolate
Sodium stearoyl fumarate
Sorbic acid
Sorghum (the syrup and/or the grain may be mixed with corn)
Stearic acid
Tocopherol (vitamin E)
Unmodified starch
Xanthan gum

The ASPCA says  “…corn is not considered to be poisonous to pets. Certain animals can, however, have food allergies just like humans can, which could make them intolerant to corn or other ingredients…”

In my opinion the ASPCA’s stance on corn is very far off the mark. 

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld. 


  1. My 2 yr old German Shepherd STINKS! A day after a bath and he reaks, to me it smells like yeast, what can I do to rid him of this?

    1. To really resolve this the root cause needs to be addressed. You can apply topical treatments of many types, but unless the root cause is resolved the condition will be chronic. If you decide you want to address this properly you are welcome to become a client.


Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats