corn cobs and dogs

Beware of Corn on the Cob Dangers to Your Dog

In Animal Health, Dog Behavior, Dog CPR, Dogs, pet care professional, pet cpr, Pet Death, Pet First Aid, Pet Safety, Summer pet safety, Travel with pets by Cara Armour

By Arden Moore

Access to Corn Cobs

Corn on the cob certainly ranks as a popular food choice at cookouts and picnics. Whether you grill it or steam it and then slather it with butter, corn on the cob just tastes delicious. For people, corn on the cob is packed with protein, essential fatty acids and offers an energy boost.

Unfortunately, this starchy vegetable can also be quite dangerous to dogs. Many of my veterinarian friends, especially those at emergency medicine clinics, see far too many dogs needlessly suffer from medical conditions from eating corn on the cob.

Corn on the Cob Dangers to Dogs

Let me run down some of the risks to our dogs:

  • The cob is thick and sturdy. If a dog grabs a cob and tries to chew it, there is the risk of large chunks of the cob being lodged in his throat and blocking his airway. Inside the body, the cob does not digest as other foods do.
  • Body blockages. Cob pieces that do get swallowed are now threats of being stuck in the stomach, intestines and even the bowel. All of these blockages require immediate – and pricey – abdominal surgery to safely remove. Warning signs that your dog swallowed a cob or large food item at a picnic include vomiting, drooling, stomach pain and lethargy. Prompt transport to the veterinary clinic is warranted to prevent this popular picnic food from causing the intestines to rupture.
  • Mouth burns. If your dog grabs a hot corn on the cob directly off the unattended grill or a plate on a picnic table, he can suffer from second- or even third-degree burns inside the mouth that require immediate veterinary treatment.
  • Mouth and throat wounds. Some highly food-motivated dogs may steal the corn on the cob while it is still containing a sharp, metal skewer that can cause cuts inside the mouth and the throat. And, yes, corn kernels themselves can cause lacerations to a dog’s mouth, gums and throat.
  • Pancreatitis and kidney issues. Canine bodies were not built to handle excessive amounts of salt or butter. Ingesting too much butter can cause pancreatitis and too much salt intake can impact a dog’s kidneys. Regularly giving your dog buttered corn (removed from the cob first) can also pack on the pounds and lead to obesity.

Practice prevention. When grilling any food, make sure your dog can not reach the hot grill. Also, do not leave food unattended on the picnic table for your dog to swipe and eat. Keep your dog on a leash or inside a well-ventilated crate or pen area to prevent him from becoming a food thief.

Dog-Safe Picnic Foods

Bringing your well-mannered dog to a picnic or cookout can definitely bring on smiles and create lifelong memories. Pack bottled water for your dog and bring a water bowl. Also consider bringing his dog food already portioned out for a meal plus some healthy dog treats.

If you can’t resist your dog’s begging eyes, here are a few picnic foods you can give him in small amounts:

  • A small piece or two of a cooked hot dog.
  • A few pieces of a grilled hamburger minus any toppings
  • Raw or cooked carrots
  • Pieces of seed-free watermelon, apples and blueberries

Learn Pet First Aid

Learn more on ways to keep your cats and dogs safe by visiting Consider taking our veterinarian-approved online pet first aid/CPR course. Enter this code: CPR – ARDEN MOORE and receive a 10 percent discount! And, if you are interested in becoming a Pro Pet Hero instructor, please click on the BECOME AN INSTRUCTOR button on the home page for more details.