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Why is corn an ingredient in pet foods? Is it used as filler? Is corn a major cause of allergies?


  • Corn is a “nutritionally packed” grain that provides a highly available source of complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, essential fatty and amino acids, and antioxidants.
  • Fillers are ingredients that have no nutritional purpose. Corn provides many important nutrients and is not filler.1
  • Corn is not among the ingredients that are the most common causes of allergic food reactions. Beef, dairy, and wheat have shown to be the major food allergens. 2,3 Corn allergies are quite rare.

More supporting facts:

  • Corn provides linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid for healthy coat and skin.4
  • Provides essential fatty and animo acids for healthy immune system.4
  • Provides beta-carotene, Vitamin E, and lutein, antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage.4
  • Corn is safely and easily digestible by pets. It is more digestible than rice, wheat, barley, or sorghum.5-7
The Science Behind our Recommendations
1. Crane SW et al. Commercial Pet Foods. In: Hand MS, Thatcher CD, Remillard RL, Roudebush P, Novotny BJ, eds. Small Animal Clinical Nutrition 5th ed. Topeka, KS: Mark Morris Institute; 2010: 173. 2. Walker JA, Harmon DL, Gross KL et al. Evaluation of nutrient utilization in the canine using the ileal cannulation technique. J Nutr. 1994; 124: 2672S-2676S. 3. Roudebush P. Ingredients associated with adverse food reactions in dogs and cats. Adv Sm Anim Med Surg. 2002;15(9): 1-3. 4. Watson SA, Ramstad PE, eds. Corn: chemistry and technology. St. Paul, MN: American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc; 1987. 5. Murray SM, Fahey GC, Merchen RN et al. Evaluation of selected high-starch flours as ingredients in canine diets. J Anim Sci. 1999; 77: 2180-2186. 6. Schunemann C, Muhlum A, Junker S, et al. Prececal and postileal digestibility of various starches in the dog and ph values and concentration of organic acids in colonic chyme and feces. Adv Animal Physial Nutrition. 1989; 19: 44-57. 7. Kienzle E. Carbohydrate metabolism of the cat. Activity of amylase in the gastrointestinal tract of the cat. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 1993;69:92-101.