Being a Dog parent comes with all kinds of responsibilities. One of them is being aware of the diet your dog needs to have. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they can have both meat and veggies as part of their regular diet. However, in vegetarian households, it may not be always feasible to feed meat or non-vegetarian dog food to your dog.
Corn and peas have been upheld amongst the public as a great source of nutrition. Yet others will ask you to desist from feeding your dog such grains and seeds. To put a rest to all your doubts and queries, we will answer this question which has elicited a lot of heated debate: can dogs eat corn and peas?
Corn: Facts and Figures
- Corn is abundantly used in commercial dog food, fry dog food or kibbles. A great store of starchy carbohydrates, corn is a cheap ingredient that helps in the gelling together of the other components of dry dog food.
- Nutritional content:
- Protein- important for healthy muscles, skin and hair.
- Carbohydrates- quick energy source for your dog.
- Linoleic acid- an omega-6 fatty acid that helps your dog grow a healthy, lustrous mane, and maintain a strong immune system.
- Antioxidants- Corn is a good source of antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, which help support a healthy immune system.
- Fibre– promotes good gut health as well as motility.
- However, corn is nearly not as high scoring on nutritional value. It’s certainly starchy and filling, but really, it does not add as many minerals and vitamins as some other fruits and vegetables.
- Based on data from NutritionData.com, cornmeal contains only 4 calories/gram when pitted against meat (beef: 7.3 cal/gm; chicken: 6.3 cal/gm). This is actually contrary to the general assumption that corn is an energy booster.
- Corn has a significantly high glycemic index, a characteristic that measures the tendency of a food to increase your dog’s blood sugar. So, for older dogs or those with hyperglycemia (diabetes), it’s not recommended at all.
- Corn, like most other cereals and grains, cannot be digested well by your dog. Feeding it raw is not a great idea; many users at pet forums such as this one have observed that sweet corn is expelled by dogs whole, without any changes. Also, feeding your dog corn on the cob is a strict no-no, simply because your dog may choke on the inedible cob. You should steam corn grains and mash them slightly so that your dog can easily consume and digest the complex carbohydrates. In fact, even in dried dog food, corn is always ground and mixed into the feed.
- Popcorn may be a great movie accompaniment for you, but when salted, seasoned or loaded with tasty toppings, nope—not good to treat your dog with. Plain, air-popped popcorn is light and a good treat every now and then. But go easy on the snacking! Popcorn can get stuck between your doggo’s teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Make sure to follow up with the oral care routine.
Peas: Facts and Figures
- Most pet food manufacturers will include peameal to make up for the lack of animal protein in your dog’s diet. This is particularly true in the case of dog food that claims to be “grain-free”: to compensate for the high carb content that would be otherwise supplied by grains, peas and legumes would be used. Effectively, this is just replacing a cheap ingredient with another cheap ingredient, making such dog food cheaper than meat-based food.
- Quite a wide varieties of peas are available in your vegetable mandi: green peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, and garden peas. Remarkably, all of these are OK for dogs to have in their bowl occasionally.
- Peas are packed with several vitamins, minerals, and are rich in protein and indigestible fibre.
- Nutritional content:
- Digestible Fiber
- Micronutrients: Vitamin A, K, C, Thiamine, Folate
- However, pea protein is not complete in amino acids and has low biological value. So, as a source of protein, peas are not an ideal staple food for your dog.
- For dogs, taurine is an important amino acid needed to maintain eyesight, reproduction, bile and heart. A deficiency of taurine can lead to Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. It is believed that peas and legumes affect the ability of dogs to synthesise taurine in their body; this has also led researchers to associate the disease of DCM in dogs with a high legume diet consisting of peas.
- Peas contain purines, a naturally occurring chemical compound, that produce uric acid when broken down in the body during the digestive process. Your dog’s kidneys work extra had to filter out uric acid, creating unnatural pressure on them. An excess of uric acid can cause kidney stones and other kidney troubles for your dog, so avoid feeding him too many peas. This should be kept in mind if your dog has been diagnosed with kidney ailments.
- It’s OK to feed your pawed buddy fresh or frozen peas, as he will love the colour and the crunch. However, it’s best to avoid canned peas with added sodium or peas that you’re discarding from your own food, seasoned with salt or spices, or cooked with oil and vegetables like onion and garlic. This is because a high sodium content is likely to cause heart problems for your pet.
After going through the above details, I’m sure you now know what the underlying effects of feeding your dogs corn or peas would be. In general, both corn and peas are used as a part of holistic diet, and vegetarians often prefer these to be added to rice meal. Dogs can indeed eat boiled corn and fresh or frozen peas.
However, your beloved dog needs to be fed some amount of animal protein to have a heathy body. Both corn and peas may make up kibbles or similar dog treats, but their nutritional value is practically destroyed during the manufacturing process of dry dog food. Hence, it is necessary to introduce corn, peas and other vegetables as treats and occasional chewy snacks—not as diet staples.