Last Updated on April 21, 2023
While sweet corn is a treat that you can share with your furry friend every once in a while, some owners hate the idea of having corn in their bud’s food.
Why? Because corn is thought to be a filler ingredient that offers little to no nutritional value. Other owners have no choice; perhaps their fido is allergic to corn.
Regardless of why you’re looking for corn-free diets, you’ve come to the right place! We have picked out the top 12 dog foods in the industry that doesn’t use corn.
- 1 Top 5 Picks for Best Dog Food without Corn
- 2 Best Dog Food Without Corn by Life Stage
- 3 Is it True that Corn is Bad for Dogs?
- 4 When are Corn-Free Diets a Good Idea?
- 5 Best Dog Food Without Corn Buyer’s Guide
- 6 Can You Give Homemade Food Without Corn to Your Dog?
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 8 How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick
- 9 Further Reading: Other Dog Foods with Restricted Ingredients
Top 5 Picks for Best Dog Food without Corn
|Dog Food without Corn Recipes||Our Rating|
|Best Overall Dog Food without Corn||
|Best Budget Dog Food without Corn||
|Best Puppy Food without Corn||
|Best Adult Dog Food without Corn||
|Best Senior Dog Food without Corn||
Best Dog Food Without Corn by Life Stage
In an ideal world, all dog food would have meat as its main ingredient. Unfortunately, they would mean that many people wouldn’t be able to afford to feed their dogs. With the inclusion of whole grain, pet feed is kept affordable.
With the rise of pet owners, pet food manufacturers have heard the calls for more natural ingredients in their dog’s food, so grain-free diets and corn-free dog food have gained so much attention.
Best Puppy Food Without Corn
Puppies generally have a delicate stomach since they are so young. However, as corn isn’t a highly digestible ingredient, keeping your pup on a corn-free diet can help with their developing digestive systems.
1. Farmina N&D Lamb and Blueberry Puppy Medium & Maxi Breed Puppy Food
Our rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Lamb, Dehydrated Lamb, Whole Spelt, Whole Oats, Chicken Fat
Grain-inclusive, but without peas and legumes, which has been associated with heart disease. Farmina’s Medium & Maxi Breed Puppy Food is suitable for dogs that will grow up to be 25 lbs (15.8 kg) or more.
Its rich formula helps your puppy pack on the pounds and gain the nutrition they need to develop properly.
- Dog owners have noticed less tartar build-up
- Low glycemic, high protein from animal sources
- Free from peas, potatoes, legumes, meals, and by-products.
- Only suitable for medium- to large-breeds
Best Adult Dog Food without Corn
With so many options on the dog food market, you might be torn between Wellness Core to Pedigree.
Here’s the first rule: Quality dog food often features real meat as the first ingredient. A dog’s diet should consist largely of animal protein because of amino acids that are crucial to your dog’s health.
2. Orijen Original Recipe Dry Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Atlantic Flounder, Whole Eggs, Whole Atlantic Mackerel
A gluten-free option for dogs with sensitivities to gluten or grains. Featuring naturally occurring Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and shiny coats, Orijen has created a winner with its quality ingredients.
Suitable for all life stages, including large breed puppies, which is great for multi-dog households.
- The first five ingredients are animal protein
- Suitable for dogs of all breeds and ages
- Contains essential nutrients for optimum hip and joint support
- Lack of antioxidants and prebiotics
- Not for all dogs as its high protein content may cause weight gain in sedentary dogs
3. Wellness 95% Chicken Recipe Canned Food
Our rating: 4.8
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient For Processing, Natural Flavor, Cassia Gum, Carrageenan
A topper that entices picky dogs to eat their meals. According to some owners, it smells good enough to eat.
It’s a shame that it isn’t meant to be a meal on its own and should be paired with dry kibble to offer a well-rounded diet. You can also mix it in a home-cooked meal.
- All-breeds inclusive
- Limited ingredient recipe, suitable for dogs with food allergies
- Versatile, high-protein food that can be used as a topper or a treat
- Unsuitable as a stand-alone meal
- Pate texture not appealing to all dogs
4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Recipe Dry Food (Chicken & Brown Rice)
Our rating: 4.8
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Pea Starch, Flaxseed
Formulated with the help of veterinarians, all Blue Buffalo kibble features their trademark LifeSource Bits, which are filled with vitamins and minerals.
This precise blend of nutrients is separated to preserve the integrity of the composition.
- Includes glucosamine and optimum calcium to phosphorus ratio for joint health
- High-quality pea protein and meat-based protein to support muscle development
- Fortified with chelated minerals and antioxidants for a strong immune system
- Contains controversial ingredients such as tomato pomace and garlic
- Some dogs are averse to the LifeSource Bits
5. Instinct Raw Boost Chicken Recipe Dry Food
Our rating: 4.6
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat, Tapioca
Type: Freeze-dried raw and kibble
Suitable for all breeds, this grain-free option consists of raw freeze-dried chicken.
A holistic choice for owners who believe in offering their dogs the best of both worlds – which is to say, the raw protein in a dog’s natural diet along with supplements such as omega fatty acids and probiotics that are commonly found in processed dog food.
- Made for all breeds of all life stages
- Free from grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, and by-products
- Appealing to most dogs, even the picky ones
- Lacks joint supporting supplements such as chondroitin or glucosamine
- Some dogs react to this diet with gas
6. Purina Pro Plan Sport Active Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Turkey, Rice, Barley, Chicken Meal, Dried Egg Product
Nutritious and affordable. Two of our favorites in one. While Purina Pro Plan won’t win any awards, it does pack a sustainable punch with its grain-inclusive, high-protein formula suitable for all breeds, regardless of age.
- For breeds of all life stages
- Includes live probiotics for optimum gut health
- Fortified with glucosamine and EPA for mobility
- One owner has complained that it caused shedding
- Loose stools and gassiness has also been associated with this diet
7. Whole Earth Farms Chicken & Turkey Recipe Wet Food
Our rating: 4.8
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Peas
A grain-inclusive wet food that’s suitable for dogs of all breeds. You can serve this delightful chicken-based pate to puppies, lactating dams, or adult dogs.
Made by Merrick Pet Care, Whole Earth Farms provides high-quality dog food made in the USA.
- Suitable for breeds of all sizes
- Vitamins and minerals from naturally occurring sources such as blueberries and sage
- Does not include soy or wheat
- Owners have complained of inconsistent textures
8. Canidae PURE Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
Our rating: 4.9
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes
Have a pooch that has sensitive digestion? Then, you might want to try this grain-free limited ingredient diet.
Suitable for all breeds, this high-protein dog food is fueled by a powerhouse of nutrients, including Canidae’s own HealthPLUS blend.
- For all dog breeds, big and small
- Includes HealthPLUS blend of probiotics, antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals
- High-protein and high-caloric to keep your dog fuller for longer
- Kibbles might be a little too small for some dogs
- Some owners have complained of a pungent smell
9. Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Split Peas
Specially formulated for large or giant dog breeds, this dog food contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which are great for joint support.
With high-quality chicken protein as their first ingredient, this grain-free option is an excellent choice for dogs with grain sensitivities.
- Owners have noted their dog’s coat have gotten shinier while on this diet
- Fortified with immune system boosting nutrients like vitamin E
- Made with farm-raised chicken and free from GMOs
- Reviewers have mentioned inconsistent quality
- FDA has linked Nutro’s dog food to heart disease studies
10. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Food (Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison)
Our rating: 4.9
Top Ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes
Formulated with novel protein such as water buffalo, this corn-free option is great for keeping allergies at bay.
Featuring a grain-free formula, you can feed this high-quality kibble to dogs of all sizes, but it’s best for dogs with an active lifestyle.
- High-quality protein for healthy muscle development and maintenance
- Includes superfoods and real fruits for added vitamins and nutrients
- Contains K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics for a healthier immune system, digestive health, and dental health
- Not suitable for pups with chicken allergies
11. Weruva Chicken Grain-Free Natural Canned Dog Food
Our rating: 5
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil
Another high-protein option for your furry friend. With real chicken chunks in palatable gravy, no dog will be able to turn this down!
Truly a lifesaver for dog owners with highly picky pups, Weruva is grain-free on top of being corn-free, and it’s suitable for small breed dogs to large breeds!
- Formulated for dogs of all life stages regardless of breed
- Quality protein and minimal carbs guaranteed
- Free from grains, gluten, pea, corn, wheat, and soy
- Customers have complained about the consistency of late, claiming to be more gravy than chicken
Best Senior Dog Food without Corn
As with humans, older dogs might develop diabetes which means that you need to look out for any food that will spike their blood sugar levels.
Unfortunately, corn is a high glycemic ingredient, along with rice and potatoes.
12. Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken and Barley For Senior Dogs
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley
Formulated with carefully selected protein filled with fatty acids to reduce inflammation and maintain vision and coat health.
Older dogs generally need fewer calories, and Wellness does take your dog’s reduced activity levels into consideration, as well as their deteriorating gut health or mobility issues, which is why you will find glucosamine and probiotics in this recipe.
- Provides weight management
- Suitable for all dog breeds from large to small
- Free from GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, and artificial preservatives.
- Picky eaters might find it hard to swallow
- Some dogs experienced loose stools
Is it True that Corn is Bad for Dogs?
Corn isn’t bad for dogs the way that cooked bones or grapes are. Sweet corn can be a fibrous treat when given sparingly. However, corn provides very little nutritional value, especially when processed into dog food.
The inclusion of corn – a cheap and accessible ingredient with no detrimental effects to dogs – helps keep manufacturing costs low and keeps dog food affordable.
Reasons to avoid corn
Dogs don’t need carbohydrates in their diet and can thrive off meat alone. So one of the reasons to lay off corn is to provide a more ideal and protein-rich diet for your furry friend.
Grains can be hard to digest and lead to weight gain. With obesity plaguing more than half of all American pets and causing premature deaths, you might want to avoid high-carbohydrate feed if your pooch is on the heavier side.
When are Corn-Free Diets a Good Idea?
Some dog owners believe that the risks of feeding corn far outweigh its benefits. The general consensus is that corn is harder to digest, and it can trigger food allergies.
True allergies to corn are very rare in dogs. Your pooch is more likely to be allergic to an animal-based protein such as chicken or beef than grain.
Unless your dog has a diagnosed medical condition that requires a corn-free diet, there’s no reason to feed them dog food without corn.
How do you know if your dog needs dog food without corn?
If your dog is exhibiting signs of food intolerance, you might want to put them on a limited ingredient diet to determine exactly what is causing your dog’s sensitivities. It may be anything from grain to eggs.
Common symptoms of a food allergy are itchiness, but it can also present itself in vomiting or diarrhea.
We’d suggest low-fat diets instead of eliminating corn with overweight dogs because fat can come from many different sources. Simply removing one high-GI ingredient from their dog food may not be enough.
Best Dog Food Without Corn Buyer’s Guide
When searching for a specific type of dog food, you should always look at the bigger picture. Choosing a corn-free formula is not any different from choosing any high-quality dog food.
Knowing what’s going into your dog food is much more essential and simply removing one or two ingredients.
Look at the ingredient list and stay away from any additives that you can’t pronounce. Artificial flavors, preservatives, or colorings are also red flags that the dog food is of low quality.
Meat protein can come from all kinds of sources such as lamb meal, menhaden fish meal, or even turkey meal. You might think that real meat is better, but the fact is that meat meals can sometimes be more nutritious.
Dog food should always meet the minimum nutritional requirements set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Specific benefits of Corn-Free food options for your dog
Small amounts of veggies and fruits sometimes find their way into a doggie’s diet and provide beneficial fiber and essential nutrients.
When feeding corn-free, you might be pleasantly surprised that most recipes on the market without corn are much closer to a dog’s natural diet.
Can You Give Homemade Food Without Corn to Your Dog?
Definitely! Homemade food, when done right, is the best meal you can provide for your dog. Here’s a simple recipe you can try for your pooch:
- One pound lean ground beef
- One large carrot
- One large sweet potato
- Half a tablespoon of coconut oil
- Peel the carrot and dice it into cubes
- Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into bite-size pieces
- Add coconut oil to the pot that was preheated
- Add beef and saute until the meat turns light brown
- Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, and water enough to cover the ingredients
- Wait for it to boil and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat
- Don’t forget to stir and make sure all ingredients are well cooked
- Let it cool before serving
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is wet Corn-Free food good for dogs?
Whether corn-free or not, wet food is often better for dogs because of its high meat and moisture content. Wet food is closer to a carnivore’s diet and can also be gentle on sensitive stomachs.
To grain or not to grain: Do dogs need Corn-Free?
Here’s the secret: grain-free dog food substitutes grains with other ingredients which might or may not be better for your dog.
For instance, the inclusion of peas, chickpeas, and lentils has proven to be linked to heart disease in certain dog breeds.
As most grain-free dog foods today use peas and legumes in place of grains, there’s no promise that grain-free is better.
Watch a “dogologist” explain the difference between grain and grain-free dog foods:
Will dog food without corn cause any deficiency?
No, dog food without corn doesn’t cause any deficiency. Corn does not provide dogs with any essential nutrients that they cannot get elsewhere.
What are some healthy alternatives to corn?
Alternatives that are seen as superior substitutes to corn include brown rice, barley, and oatmeal.
How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick
Whenever you’re switching up your dog’s diet, always remember to start slow. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going from wet to dry or from grain-inclusive to corn-free.
The important thing is to make sure you ease your dog into it.
We highly recommend our top pick, Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Food, if you’re looking for a dog food that provides complete nutrition that is reasonably priced.
Also, if you have an active dog, then this dog food is perfect for your pup.
Let us know in the comments what your experiences are with corn-free dog food or if you’re an advocate of the no-grains movement!
Further Reading: Other Dog Foods with Restricted Ingredients
Cess is the Head of Content Writing at K9 Web and a passionate dog care expert with over 5 years of experience in the Pet Industry. With a background in animal science, dog training, and behavior consulting, her hands-on experience and extensive knowledge make her a trusted source for dog owners.
When not writing or leading the K9 Web content team, Cess can be found volunteering at local shelters and participating in dog-related events.