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No, dogs cannot eat corn cobs. As tempting as it may be to share the scraps with your pup, please refrain from feeding them corn cobs. Technically, there’s nothing toxic about corn or corn cobs. They are made up primarily of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin- the same materials that make up most plants.

The problem is that corn cobs present a huge choking hazard; they can easily break apart into smaller pieces and can cause intestinal blockage. They’re also abrasive (can tear up the intestines) and absorbent (can cause swelling) – not a good combo for your dog’s digestive system.

What to do if your dog eats a corn cob

Look for the following signs: lethargy, dehydration, vomiting, loss of appetite, and/or diarrhea. If you know for sure your dog has ingested a corn cob, monitor them closely for the previous warning signs and be cognizant of any behavior that seems out of the norm. There’s a slight chance they’ll pass the cob on their own, but most likely you’ll need to seek veterinary assistance.

What to expect from a visit with your vet

Your vet will most likely need to do x-rays on your dog to see if an obstruction is present. If there isn’t, and your dog isn’t exhibiting any signs of distress, they might recommend allowing them to pass it on their own.

If they do see an obstruction, or anticipate their being one in the future, they’ll need to remove the corn cob. They can either do this through surgery, or by utilizing special tools inserted through the dog’s mouth or rectum. Both of these options are invasive and will probably be expensive, but they’re necessary in order to save your dog from additional pain and possibly death. Expect your dog to need substantial recovery time after either of these procedures have been performed.

How to prevent your dog from eating a corn cob

It’s no secret that corn cobs are appealing to dogs; they’re about the same size and shape as a bone, and they’re often covered in butter and salt. You’ll want to protect your dog from eating them by making sure you dispose of your cobs properly. If you’re going to throw them away inside, make sure it’s in a dog-proof trash can with a lid that locks. Placing them in a plastic bag before putting them in the trash can will also eliminate most of the scent and hopefully deter your dog from making an investigation into the garbage. A better option might be to dispose of them in a garbage bag that you immediately place in a trash can or dumpster outside that your dog does not have access to.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

photo of vet holding a pup
About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.