Can Dogs Have Cornstarch? – How To Properly Use It

Cornstarch is an ingredient made from the endosperm of kernels of corn. We humans often use it in our cooking and it is a safe ingredient for us. But can dogs have cornstarch?

Dogs can have cornstarch as it is not toxic to them. That said, it also doesn’t bring many nutritional benefits to them. There are instances where cornstarch can harm dogs and you should be wary of the symptoms.

What Exactly Is Cornstarch?

Cornstarch is made from the endosperm of corn kernels. By processing corn kernels, you are left with a fine, white powder known as cornstarch. This ingredient is used for cooking because it works great as a binding and thickening agent. 

It is often used in dog food manufacturing as it prevents dry food from clumping and can be used as filler. It also provides a more chewable texture to the food. 

Is Cornstarch Safe For Dogs?

Dogs can eat cornstarch as it is safe for them to eat. This is why dog food with cornstarch exists in the first place. That said, it also doesn’t bring any value to the dog’s diet.

Even though healthy adult dogs can freely consume cornstarch, this is different for other groups of dogs. Dogs with diabetes shouldn’t ingest this ingredient as it has a high glycemic content which can spike the dog’s sugar levels.

It also isn’t recommended for older dogs that are inactive. The high amounts of calories in cornstarch bring the danger of causing obesity in dogs. This is why you need to consult a vet if you are not sure if the dog should eat this ingredient.

Do Dogs Like Eating Cornstarch?

Dogs like eating cornstarch because cornstarch is used as a dog food ingredient. It is a part of the tasty treats and biscuits they get where it is used as a binding agent. If they are on a raw food diet, dogs will enjoy the cornstarch if included as it improves the texture of raw food. Pure cornstarch is not attractive for dogs and they will only consume it as a result of the disease called pica.

Nutritional Value Of Cornstarch For Dogs

Cornstarch is inexpensive, highly versatile, and especially great for preparing food for your dog at home. It is gluten-free, which is perfect for dogs that have a dog food intolerance to gluten. Dogs can get a part of their intake of carbs from cornstarch, as well as some minerals, vitamins, fats, fibers, and proteins.

It helps make the dog feel full which is why it is often used as filler in dog foods. Its texture is good for dogs and helps them like the food more.

Other Uses Of Cornstarch In Dogs

Using cornstarch for dogs can be beneficial in a few other instances. It is not only used for its nutritional value.

Cleaning Tear Stains

Tear stains are especially prominent in dogs with white coats. One way to clean them up is to use cornstarch.

To make the solution, mix cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of water. The consistency you get should resemble toothpaste. Some people also add hydrogen peroxide. This paste should be applied under the dog’s eyes and let dry. Watch out not to let it enter the eyes as it can irritate them. Then it should be wiped clean.

Using As Shampoo

Cornstarch has the benefit of being used as a shampoo and conditioner when washing a dog. It is specifically used for dry baths as a dry shampoo. This dry shampoo helps remove excess sebum from the skin without a need for water. It’s good for the dog’s coat health. You can even try it on dogs with more difficult coats like the wiry-haired Jack Russell Terrier.

To make this shampoo, you can mix equal amounts of baking soda and cornstarch. Baking soda has an effect as a deodorant when scrubbed into the skin. Adding essential oils can also add a nice smell and deter fleas.

For Wounds And Hotspots

Cornstarch and dog health go hand in hand as it can have some beneficial health effects. If your dog has a hotspot, wound, or dry scratch, you can use cornstarch as a remedy.  It can be mixed with baking soda here as well. 

Apply it on the area 3-4 times a day and you will notice that it dries the wound and prevents itching. In time, the wound will start to heal. If the wound is bigger, it is better to contact the vet for help.

Healing Nail Bleeding

Clipping your dog’s nails is important, but you may sometimes make a mistake and hurt the dog accidentally. Cutting too fast without being careful can cause some bleeding and pain.

Luckily, cornstarch has a great ability to prevent bleeding and act as an alternative to styptic powder. Cornstarch has the effect of clotting the blood vessels. To apply, hold the dog’s hurt paw in one hand and apply a little cornstarch to the wound. Then apply some pressure and shortly the bleeding will stop.

Risks Of Feeding Cornstarch To Dogs

Dogs consuming cornstarch is not always bad and can have some benefits. However, there are a few drawbacks to ingesting this ingredient.

Affecting Blood Sugar

Cornstarch is a caloric ingredient and contains a lot of carbohydrates, a big part of them being sugar. When eaten, it creates a spike in a dog’s blood sugar levels. This increases the risk of a dog developing diabetes. It also is not recommended for dogs that already have diabetes and should be avoided. The high-calorie content also increases the risk of obesity.

Allergic Reactions

Dogs can develop allergies to certain foods. Corn contains a protein called zein which is the main culprit causing the allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Inflamed skin
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Obsessive licking
  • Biting and rubbing the paws

If your dog has diarrhea only at night, it might be a sign that it is eating some allergen in the evening. You should keep an eye on your dog when you give it cornstarch and visit the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.

Stomach Issues

Cornstarch and dog gastrointestinal problems can be connected in certain instances. If you don’t have control over how much your dog eats, you will end up with a problem. Most dogs know when to stop eating, but some don’t. Dogs that overeat cornstarch, experience symptoms like flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, bloating, and constipation. You need to watch out for how many treats you give the dog.

How To Give Cornstarch To Dogs?

Because cornstarch has some benefits for dogs, you can use it in moderation. You can safely use this ingredient in foods if you want to help your dog gain weight. Just add a tablespoon of cornstarch per 25 pounds of body weight to their food and you will increase its texture and calories as needed.

If you want, you can also use cornstarch to bake some treats for the dog. Peanut butter cookies are a tasty and caloric treat that every dog enjoys. Always make sure to use this ingredient in moderation.

Dog-Friendly Starch Alternatives

If you don’t want your dogs eating cornstarch, you can find some great alternatives to this ingredient. For cooking, tapioca flour or potato starch is a great substitute that has a similar consistency to cornstarch. There are also some gluten-free flours for dogs with dog food sensitivities.

If you want to remove flour altogether, there are some healthy treats you can try offering the dog. These include things like cooked chicken, turkey, fish, potatoes, green beans, yogurt, apples, bananas, and more. Some of these foods offer many benefits. For example, pumpkin helps dogs with diarrhea.

Can Dogs Have Cornstarch? – Final Thoughts

Cornstarch is a powdery substance made from processed corn kernels. It is often used for cooking as it gives texture, prevents clumping, and acts as a dog food additive. You can often find this ingredient used in dog treats and they are fine to eat it in moderation.

This ingredient has some nutritional benefits but it can also be used to bathe the dog and to heal wounds. Unfortunately, it can also cause problems for some dogs. Eating too much cornstarch causes obesity and diabetes in dogs. Some dogs will also suffer from allergic reactions and stomach problems due to this ingredient.

If you notice that your dog has an unwanted reaction to cornstarch and you want to avoid feeding it, there are alternatives. Tapioca flour and potato starch can be used as a substitute.


Can dogs eat corn tortillas?

You can give your dog corn tortillas from time to time if you want to share your lunch. However, it doesn’t bring any nutritional benefit to the dog and only increases its caloric intake.

Can dogs have gravy made with cornstarch?

Even though dogs can have cornstarch, eating gravy made with it can be harmful. The gravy contains a lot of sodium and fat, as well as garlic and onions which are toxic to dogs.

Can dogs eat popcorn?

Yes, dogs can eat popcorn as treats occasionally. However, always give plain, air-popped popcorn. Other popcorn that has butter or salt can be detrimental to a dog’s health if they overeat.

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