CALL YOUR VET RIGHT AWAY!
Look, corn cobs are mostly safe to eat for most humans. But dogs don’t understand how dangerous they can be if eaten whole.
This is why calling your vet after the dog ate corn cob is the best thing you can do.
BUT… That’s not all.
There’s a lot more you need to consider to keep your dog safe going forward – and we want to teach you all of that!
Check below to learn how to proceed!
What to Do After Dog Eats a Corn Cob?
This is a guide if your dog seems fine for the most part, but he’s clearly not PERFECT. There’s something clearly happening internally that you still don’t know.
What should you do? Here are some pieces of advice to consider:
1. Check How Much Corn Cob the Dog Ate
You’ll notice right away whether the dog ate just a bit of corn cob or A LOT.
For little corn cob, there’s probably not much to worry about. Your dog may struggle with digestion and swallowing.
But if your dog ate an entire corn cob (without chewing too much), there’s a chance you’ll have to take immediate action.
TO CONSIDER: This won’t matter much if your dog seems to be gagging or choking. You’ll need to try to fix the problem right away before it’s too late (so there’s no time to gauge how much has been eaten).
2. Stay Put (Don’t Try Anything Dangerous)
This is critical because your dog is probably in a crucial state and needs immediate care. But you shouldn’t try to save your dog if you don’t know what you’re doing. In fact, you could make everything worse by taking the wrong approach. SO DON’T!
Here are a few things you should absolutely not do:
- Give your dog laxatives (unless your vet tells you to)
- Give your dog stomach medications
- Inducing vomiting or pooping
- Removing the corn cob by hand and/or tweezers, clamps, or any other tool
- Doing CPR the wrong way (could end up blocking the tract further)
- Injecting or making your dog eat/drink anything
The best thing you can do is WAIT until you call your vet and get specific instructions accordingly. Otherwise, as you know, the problem could get worse.
3. Call your Vet
It won’t matter whether it’s a little or a lot. You need to call your vet right away and give them all the info necessary.
Corn cobs are typically dangerous to the point many people take their dogs to the vet for that exact reason. Your vet will likely tell you EXACTLY how to proceed because they’ve probably been through that situation before.
Questions you may get include:
- How much corn cob did the dog eat?
- How long did the dog eat corn cob?
- How does the dog look?
- Have you tried helping your dog? How?
The vet should give you specific instructions depending on how you answer all these questions.
Follow the Vet’s Advice
You will receive advice tailored to your dog’s situation that you need to follow FIRMLY.
There’s no mistake about this. Veterinarians know precisely how to avoid further problems, and most likely, you need to act right away.
Most like they will ask you to take the dog to the emergency room or something similar. Of course, if the danger is little (your dog only ate a minimal portion of a corn cob), there won’t be much to worry about.
But regardless, you need to call your vet first and follow their advice FIRST.
Can Dogs Eat Corn Cobs?
Well, the obvious answer will always be NO.
Canines are not made to eat corn cobs. You can give them the CORN, and it shouldn’t cause any damage. However, the COBS are not to eat or even just chewed. They’re dangerous.
The reason is simple: most dogs can’t figure out how to eat them correctly – so they EAT THEM WHOLE!
And sure enough, eating a corn cob whole is not a great idea.
Why are Corn Cobs Dangerous?
Few animals like corn cobs. Like raccoons, deer, or squirrels.
They eat corn cobs because they’ve been doing it for thousands of years. Their instincts help them avoid eating them whole. And the shape of their mandibles is designed for chewing on the cobs without problems.
But dogs can’t eat corn cobs. Most of them will just eat them whole. And even if they chew, they may just bite a significant portion off and swallow right away.
This, of course, comes with many disadvantages:
- Can’t Be Digested
Corn cobs are made of lignin, hemicellulose, and cellulose. Most plants also contain these substances. And many dogs eat these substances consistently, as they may be a massive part of what we call “fiber.”
But corn cobs are made of a HUGE amount of these fibers. They are so much that they become indigestible – especially if eaten whole.
If you’re sure your dog ate corn cob without chewing correctly, then you can expect that corn cob to not be digested. Otherwise, it will likely get digested faster than anything else.
- Blocks the Digestive Tract
What happens when a corn cob is digested whole? OBSTRUCTION!
A digestive obstruction could be either in the digestive tract or bowels. Either way, they will cause deep trouble to your dog, like abdominal pain, high discomfort, and worse.
Either way, you’ll notice how your dog just doesn’t feel okay. And that’s when you’ll start to panic.
This happens because corn cob is irritating. The fiber that typically breaks down quickly in the stomach may actually become a bit dangerous, inflaming and getting stuck inside your best friend’s system.
By the way, this is VERY DANGEROUS. If you notice your dog feeling awful or even whining – there’s a chance he’s suffering from what was called a possible burst.
When the gut or stomach is blocked and the corn cob can’t pass through, it starts to get inflamed to the point of bursting or rupturing. This is a life-threatening condition.
WHAT TO DO: Call your vet if you think your dog has intestine or stomach blockage. Internal ruptures can be incredibly dangerous.
- May Dehydrate Your Dog
Believe it or not, corn cobs are absorbent. They can absorb an incredible amount of water, given their highly fibrous composition.
Guess what that could cause when your dog eats a corn cob whole… dehydration!
Because the corn cob starts absorbing liquids inside the intestines or digestive tract, it dehydrates the area, potentially damaging your dog. This means your dog could suffer from some kind of abrasion.
Symptoms to Look for After Dog Ate Corn Cob
Want to know whether the corn cob is causing severe damage to your dog? Here are some symptoms to look for:
- Inability to poop or pee
- Clear discomfort
- Tiredness or laziness
- Little to no appetite
- Clear signs of anxiety or depression
- Abdominal tenderness (and pain)
Most likely, you’re dealing with a dog who has a stuck corn cob in his digestive system. The obvious way to solve this is to call a vet RIGHT AWAY! Your dog may be suffering from a bowel obstruction…
How to Know if Your Dog has Bowel Obstruction?
If you spot any of the symptoms above after 3-4 hours of eating the corn cob, there’s a high chance your dog has an intestine blockage. And here, time is of the essence.
The vet will perform an X-ray or ultrasound to ensure that your dog actually has a bowel obstruction and where it’s located. According to that, they will eventually decide how to proceed.
In some cases, the obstruction may solve by itself. The vet will gauge the situation and tell you whether leaving the dog to rest for a few hours may fix the problem. In other cases, the vet will decide to solve the problem manually.
There are various ways to do that.
How to Heal a Dog with Bowel Obstruction?
Your dog is probably having a hard time, so the vet will have to take action right away. Here’s how they may proceed:
1. Give Medications
Most veterinarians will start by appeasing your dog with medication that reduces pain and inflammation (if any). Then, they will give the dog medication to reduce dehydration and prevent vomiting or nausea.
Some vets may decide to use laxatives or promote vomiting if the corn cob could be expulsed that way. But that’s only when and ONLY WHEN the vet chooses to. It’s an excellent way to go. NEVER TRY TO PROMOTE EITHER VOMITING OR POOPING UNLESS TOLD SO BY YOUR VET.
2. Perform Bowel Surgery
The typical way to go is surgery. This happens to most canines suffering from a bowel obstruction, especially when it’s something large and challenging to remove, like a corn cob.
But be aware, only certain conditions will make your veterinarian perform surgery. These include:
- Damage of internal tissue
- High risk of bursting
- Signs of bleeding
- High pain or discomfort in the dog
Once your vet decides to perform the surgery, you will have to wait for about 24 hours for the surgery to finish. Your dog may receive pain relief treatment for a couple of more days in some cases.
This process typically costs over a thousand, but it depends on where you’re located and how complex the procedure was in the first place.
Regardless, you can expect this procedure to happen rapidly and successfully, as it’s one of the most common veterinarians are exposed to in their careers.
How to Prevent Dogs from Eating Corn Cobs?
Now, given how dangerous and expensive it could be to let your dog eat a corn cob – let’s learn how to prevent that in the first place…
Here are some pieces of advice to consider:
#1. Make Garbage Bins Inaccessible
The most common reason dogs eat corn cobs is when they take them directly from garbage bins. This happens when these bins are easily accessible to the animals. This may also occur when the garbage bag is left open in a reunion or party, leaving dogs free to roam around and eat from it.
SOLUTION: Don’t let that garbage bin open and easily accessible by any canine. Either place it far away from reach or close it securely.
#2. Don’t Drop Cobs to the Floor.
This may also happen when a reunion or party is happening with people eating corn cobs. They eat away the corn and throw the cobs to the floor. Unsurprisingly, dogs smell the food and may think it could be anything – making it easy for them to just bite and swallow without thinking.
SOLUTION: Whether it’s a lovely Sunday alone or a reunion with friends or family, be sure neither you nor anyone drops corn cobs on the floor. Make it a rule to always follow.
#3. Get Rid of Corn Cobs RIGHT AWAY
People tend to leave the cobs around after eating the corn. This could be on a plate, in a bag, or just on a table. Suffice to say, your dog may have access to those places, so they may eat the corn cob away.
SOLUTION: Everyone ate the corn off the corn cobs already? Tell them to throw them out in a garbage can and out to the threshing area. Lock the bag so no dog can access it, and that’s it.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. You shouldn’t try getting the corn cob out unless it is visible in their mouth. Otherwise, stay put and ask your veterinarian for an assessment. They will tell you exactly how to proceed without causing any damage to your dog (unless in a critical state, they will likely command you to take the dog to a clinic).
No. Even though corn cobs aren’t toxic, they are dangerous. In fact, few foods are as hazardous as corn cobs for dogs, given their thick shape and typically porous nature. This is true for any type of cob, whether big, small, rigid, or soft – corn cobs are not for dogs to eat in any way.
Yes, only if it is small corn cob. Some dogs tend to chew on the cob and break it into tiny pieces. This may be easier to process than a large cob, so your dog is likely to expulse it the other way around within a few hours or days.
Of course, this is not always the case. It may take over 72 hours of anxiety and discomfort for both you and your dog. But it may happen. Either way, don’t expect this to happen and call your vet first.
Bowel obstructions are not to be dismissed as a small problem. This is mainly because most dogs won’t handle more than 5 days without eating.
If your dog shows clear signs of obstructions (see above for symptoms), then you most likely need to solve it right away.
The dangers are many, including the bursting of the intestines, internal tissue damage, and severe complications that could be life-threatening.
Regardless of how far your dog could resist an obstruction, it’s better not to test it out. Call your vet right away and ask for immediate help if possible (especially if symptoms are apparent).
Don’t Let Your Dog Eat a Corn Cob!
It could happen at any moment, and the dangers are many (AND BAD).
Luckily, you don’t have to wait to say that your dog ate corn cob when you can AVOID IT in the first place.
Follow our advice above on how to proceed when your dog eats a corn cob and seems troubled.
But more importantly, follow our advice on how to prevent that from happening.
Your dog doesn’t have to suffer just because. Use our recommendations and keep him safe and healthy.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.