Cornstarch is a common thickening agent used by home cooks and professional chefs on a regular basis. It is an ingredient that can be found in many types of foods, especially sauces and baking goods.
But can dogs eat cornstarch? Does it even provide them with any health benefits? What should you do if your dog ate cornstarch? Read on to find out all the answers!
Is cornstarch good for dogs?
The short answer to this question would be no.
However, as you can probably imagine, cornstarch can be found in so many foods right now that it would be practically impossible to avoid exposing your canine friend to it.
While cornstarch is definitely not a deadly ingredient to this species, so if your pet has a small amount of it coming from a treat here and there, it’s not going to affect their health, it still is not the best thing for your dog.
For one, cornstarch does not provide your dog with any healthy nutrients. In fact, cornstarch is a thickening agent that, besides being extremely calorie-dense, doesn’t have that much fiber, protein, or vitamins.
It can contain a variety of minerals depending on the specific brand, but there are also more than enough pet-appropriate supplements that you can use for that purpose.
One cup of cornstarch has approximately 500 calories. Dogs are usually smaller than humans, so they should have fewer calories every day. If your dog gets into the cornstarch package and eats a lot, you will have to do your best to prevent your dog from eating anything else for the rest of the day.
Also, since corn is a grain, and that’s where cornstarch is extracted from, it is not even species-appropriate. Most dogs will experience some type of digestive distress after having it.
Is cornstarch bad for dogs?
Besides being nothing but empty calories, unless it is enriched with vitamins and minerals, cornstarch does not offer your dog any health benefits in particular.
First of all, this is a powder, so if your canine companion likes the smell, taste, or consistency of it and gets into your pantry, they may experience mild respiratory symptoms such as sneezing and nasal and ocular discharge.
Some dogs may become obsessed with getting rid of the cornstarch from their bodies, so they may lick their skin time and again to the point that they risk causing irritation.
But the most common symptoms that dogs tend to experience after eating cornstarch are related to their gastrointestinal system. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most common ones, but so is abdominal pain.
Do consider that cornstarch tends to absorb liquid, which means it may do the same in your pet’s stomach or gut. That could lead to a spasm and, therefore, to abdominal discomfort, but it could also cause constipation for a few days.
How much cornstarch is safe for dogs?
Ideally, dogs shouldn’t have cornstarch at all.
But you will find that the list of ingredients listed on the label of many dog treats and even dog kibble actually includes it because even pet food manufacturers sometimes use it as a binder or thickening agent.
Since you have no actual way of circumventing this issue, at least you can rest assured that the quantity is usually very low so that it doesn’t risk putting your dog’s health in danger.
One cup of cornstarch can cause health complications or at least some unpleasant symptoms for 24 to 48 hours.
One teaspoon of cornstarch, by contrast, would probably not affect your dog’s digestion or the rest of their body, in general, just because it’s not capable of causing the same havoc inside your pet’s system.
Can you put cornstarch on a dog’s wound?
As previously mentioned, cornstarch tends to absorb a lot of liquid, so if your dog sustained a scratch or a cut and you really have nothing else available, cornstarch can be used as a way to stop the bleeding.
Cornstarch is not a substitute for actual disinfectants like alcohol or betadine, though, so it will do nothing in the way of killing the microorganisms that might be present on your dog’s skin and might risk getting into the lesion.
Depending on how it is manufactured or stored, cornstarch can itself contain germs that can cause a local infection. So, if you have any other way of stopping the bleeding, whether mechanically or by using a disinfectant, do so instead of utilizing cornstarch.
What should you do if your dog ate cornstarch?
It actually depends on several different factors. Your dog’s age and their health status are two, but there are others, such as the amount of cornstarch that they’ve had.
If your pet ate half a bag of cornstarch, it’s better to take them to the vet clinic as soon as possible rather than wait and see whether they experience any health issues.
Keep your pantry items locked up and sealed as best as possible so that your dog does not have any access to them. Other cooking ingredients like chocolate or artificial sweeteners can kill a dog, so keeping them out of the pantry and the kitchen, in general, is the best way of going about things.