Why to Never Let Your Dog Eat Corn Cobs (Dog Food Dangers)

The sun's out and the temperature is getting warmer.  What better thing is there to do then than invite some friends over and fire up the BBQ. By the end of the evening you’l have some tasty, butter and sauce-covered corn cobs, skewers and bones ready for the trash.

Your dog though might have other ideas!

Keep reading to find out why you should never let your dog eat corn cobs, and some other important BBQ dangers you should take steps to avoid.


Can Dogs Eat Corn Cobs?

One of the big questions I get asked, especially in BBQ season is can dogs eat corn cobs, or corn on the cob?  No, don't do it.  Do not feed your dog corn cobs.  Now I'm not going to talk about the nutritional value of corn, it's the corn cob that I'm talking about today.

After a BBQ, the corn cob will still likely be covered in butter or some other tasty sauce and your dog will be all too happy to eat it.  This might be after you actually feed it to them (please don’t!), or if could be that they raid it from the rubbish bin.  Corn cobs are dense and fibrous.  Your dog likely wont chew them into pieces, and they are just the right size for a medium or large breed dog to swallow whole.

What happens next is that the corn cob will sit in the stomach.  It wont get broken down and will then work its way into the small intestine.

Now some dogs may be lucky, and from here the corn cob will slowly squeeze its way out the other end.  For a lot of dogs though, if they eat a corn cob it will pass into the small intestines where it will get stuck and cause a total blockage or obstruction.  If a blockage does occur then emergency surgery will be needed or else eating a corn cob will be fatal for your dog.

Signs of an obstruction in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, going off their food, through to complete collapse and if untreated, as I've said, an obstruction will kill your dog.

To make matters worse when it comes to corn cobs is the fact that they do not show up very clearly on xrays.  In fact it can be really challenging to see a corn cob in the intestines of a dog, especially in the early stages of a problem.  The result of this is that your dog may be more unwell before the decision to go to surgery is made.

So don't feed your dog corn cobs and make sure you put them in a bin that your dog can't break into.  The same goes for the next 2 BBQ dangers for pets I've got for you.  Next up we have kebab skewers.

Kebab skewers can puncture the gut

Kebab skewers are just like corn cobs, in that they will be covered in little bits of tasty food and sauce.  You'd be forgiven for thinking that there is no way a dog would swallow a kebab skewer but unfortunately they can and they do.  Even if the kebab skewers are chewed in half or thirds, that still leaves some pretty long lengths, each with a sharp point at the end.

summer BBQ dangers for dogs and cats include corn cobs, bones, kebab skewers and the risk of burns

These will find their way into the stomach and even the intestines where the skewers will then puncture holes in the guts and even travel outside the guts into the abdomen.  There are not many better ways to cause septic peritonitis which can quite easily be fatal even with prompt emergency surgery.

Cooked bones can be deadly

Cooked bones for dogs are the next BBQ danger and are just as dangerous for cats too.  The issue of feeding any bones is potentially controversial but regardless of your general stance, most people will agree that feeding any form of cooked bone is a bad idea.  Cooking causes bones to become brittle.  When eaten they can form very sharp shards.  Some may be broken down in the stomach and smaller shards are likely to pass through a large dog without much trouble.

The problem comes when larger bone chunks are swallowed.  You can guess what happens now can't you!  There is a real risk that they will cause an obstruction, much like corn cobs, as well as having the risk of punching holes in the guts, much like kebab skewers.

These 3 food items are really common at most BBQs so make sure that not only do you not feed them to your dog, also clear up quickly and make sure your bin can't be knocked over, ripped open or otherwise got to by your dog.

Burn risk

My 4th and final BBQ danger that is as much an issue for cats as it is dogs is burns.  Clearly if they steal something while it's being cooked they might burn their mouth and tongue.  The other risk is that after your BBQ has been turned off it may keep it's heat for some time.  It might be very tempting for your pet to jump onto the grill to eat the source of the tasty food scraps left behind.

There are more summer health risks for our pets:

Make sure you are supervising your BBQ at all times and if possible place the hood over your grill once you have finished with it.  Severe burns to the feet is not something you want for your pet.

So the big BBQ risks for your pet are corn cobs, kebab skewers, cooked bones and burns.

You need to read this article if you want to know about some other common poisons and dangerous foods around the house and garden.

Please share this article with your friends and family who love BBQs.  Enjoy the sun and tasty barbecued food and until next time, keep your pet safe and well.

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