Corn Meal and Corn Gluten Meal in Dog Food

Another controversial or red-flag ingredient that we often see in commercial dog food diets is cornmeal. Corn is a cereal grain that has been widely used in dog food for more than a century. However, there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding the use of cornmeal in dog food.

Cornmeal is made by grinding dried corn kernels into a coarse powder. It is commonly used as a filler or binding agent in commercial dog food diets, as it provides a cheap source of carbohydrates and proteins. However, there are concerns about the nutritional value and digestibility of cornmeal in dog food.

Nutrients composition:

Protein: 7.11g






Cornmeal only has a moderate amount of protein, with an average of 7.11g per 100g serving, about 7.11%. This makes it a poor source of protein for dogs, as they require a diet high in animal-based protein. Cornmeal also has high levels of carbohydrates and low levels of essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.

It is rich in carbs with an average of 79.45g per 100g serving, making it a cheap source of energy for dogs. However, most of these carbohydrates come from simple sugars, which can lead to weight gain and other health issues if consumed in excess.


One of the main arguments against cornmeal in dog food is its low digestibility. The milling process used to make cornmeal removes the outer hull of the corn kernel, which contains most of its fiber and nutrients. As a result, the remaining endosperm is less nutritious and harder for dogs to digest.

Low digestibility can cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs, such as diarrhea and bloating. This is especially true for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies.

Other concerns:

In addition to its nutritional profile and digestibility, there are also other concerns regarding the use of cornmeal in dog food. One of these concerns is the potential for allergic reactions in dogs.

Corn is a common allergen for dogs, and while cornmeal may be less likely to cause an allergic reaction compared to whole corn kernels, it can still trigger allergies in some dogs similar to tomato pomace. Dog owners need to monitor their pet’s reaction when introducing cornmeal into their diet and consult with a veterinarian if any adverse reactions occur.

Another concern is the potential for contamination in cornmeal used in dog food. Corn is often treated with pesticides, which can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities. Additionally, cornmeal may also contain mycotoxins, which are toxic substances produced by certain types of fungi.

Corn gluten meal:

Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of corn processing that is often used as a protein source in dog food. It is made from the remaining endosperm after the milling process, which contains mostly carbohydrates and some protein.

While corn gluten meal may provide some nutritional benefits, it is not considered a high-quality source of protein for dogs. This is because it lacks several essential amino acids that are important for a dog’s overall health and wellbeing. Additionally, some dogs may have difficulty digesting corn gluten meal, leading to potential digestive issues.

Nutritional composition of corn gluten meal:

Protein: 61.4g




As you can see from the nutritional profile of corn gluten meal, it is a rich source of protein compared to corn meal. However, it is important to note that this protein is not as complete or easily digestible and has a low biological value.

Similar to pea protein, manufacturers like to use low-BV protein sources to boost the reported protein composition in diets but that doesn’t mean they provide high levels of the most important amino acids dogs need.

In summary, while cornmeal and corn gluten meal may have some nutritional benefits for dogs, it is important to consider their overall composition and potential risks before incorporating them into your pet’s diet. Consult with a veterinarian or do thorough research before making any changes to your dog’s food. Adding these ingredients should always be done in moderation and with caution, as every dog has unique dietary needs and sensitivities. As always, the health and wellbeing of your furry friend should be the top priority when choosing their food. So, make informed decisions and choose high-quality protein sources that will provide your dog with the essential amino acids they need for optimal health.