Is Corn Bad for Pets?

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For centuries, people and their animals have relied on corn as a superb source of these nutrients:

  • Highly digestible carbohydrates for energy
  • Essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Beta-carotene, vitamin E and lutein — nature's antioxidants
  • Quality proteins for muscle and tissue growth

Corn has been called a filler, a "hot grain" and a major cause of allergies. The facts are, corn is NOT a filler (an ingredient providing no nutrition) as it supplies many essential nutrients. In pets, corn is NOT a hot grain (causing gastrointestinal upset) because it is safely and easily digested.

In addition, a review of published literature indicates corn was implicated in fewer allergy cases than other common protein sources such as beef, dairy products, wheat, chicken, egg, lamb or soy.1

Key points

  • Corn is a natural and wholesome ingredient that supplies essential fatty acids, protein, carbohydrates and natural antioxidants
  • Corn is not a common cause of allergic reactions in pets

Balancing act

No single ingredient provides the best protein balance for your cat. That's why Hill's selects a combination of ingredients. The protein building blocks in corn are essential for cats and complement those in other ingredients to give cats balanced protein nutrition.

Golden goodness

According to recent studies in various species, antioxidants in foods such as corn may potentially reduce the risk of some forms of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, strokes, atherosclerosis, cataracts, and slow the aging process.2 Betacarotene, vitamin E and lutein are antioxidants in corn that help protect key cell components from damage.3 Also, cooked ground corn is highly digestible so pets can easily absorb corn's important nutrients.4,5,6

A natural winner

Corn is a rich source of fatty acids, especially linoleic and linolenic for healthy skin and coat. These essential fatty acids serve important roles in the immune system and central nervous system as well.3 The carbohydrates supplied by corn are an important source of energy for your cat.

As good as gold

Corn is a well-rounded nutritional package and an ideal choice as a cat food ingredient. No other ingredient is as versatile as this golden grain. That's why you'll find corn in some Hill's® Science Diet® brand cat foods along with other healthy ingredients to give your cat precisely balanced nutrition.


1 Roudebush P. Ingredients associated with adverse food reactions in dogs and cats. Adv Sm Anim Med Surg. 15(9):1-3, 2002.
2 Langseth L. Oxidants, Antioxidants and Disease Prevention. International Life Sciences Institute Europe, ISLI Press, Belgium, 1995.
3 Watson SA and Ramstad PE (eds.). Corn: Chemistry and Technology. American Assoc. of Cereal Chemists, Inc., St. Paul, MN, 1987.
4 Walker JA, Harmon DL, Gross KL, Collings GF. Evaluation of Nutrient Utilization in the Canine Using the Ileal Cannulation Technique. Journal of Nutrition. 124:2672S, 1994.
5 Schunemann C, Muhlum A, Junker S, et al. Prececal and Postileal Digestibility of Various Starches in the Dogs and pH Values and Concentration of Organic Acids in Colonic Chyme and Feces. Adv Anim Physiol Anim Nutr. 19:44-57, 1994.
6 Klenzle E. Carbohydrate Metabolism of the Cat Part 1. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr. 69(2-3):102-114, 1993.

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