Today we continue our series of reader questions for Dr. Tiffany Bierer:
How does corn impact the nutritional health of dogs and cats? Does it lead to weight gain?
Dr. Bierer: Corn is an incredibly important source of nutrition for both humans and pets worldwide. The great thing about it is the many different types of nutrients it provides, all within one food.
Corn is a good source of protein which pets need for many different functions in the body. It also provides an excellent source of fats, especially the essential fatty acid linoleic acid which dogs and cats must have in their diet and which is a key nutritional; driver of skin and coat health.
Corn is also an excellent source of fiber that helps maintain a healthy digestive tract and contributes to good stool quality (important to all pet owners!) but fiber is only one of the carbohydrates corn provides. It also gives pets starches for energy.
All of these nutrients are in addition to the various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants also found in corn. And, the corn used in pet foods is very digestible so pets get all the benefits of those nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Weight gain is caused by over consumption of calories and/or low activity levels. It is not caused by a specific ingredient. To prevent weight gain, watch how many calories you feed your pet and make sure to incorporate daily exercise. Keeps the body and mind healthy!
Dr. Tiffany Bierer is the health and nutrition sciences manager for Mars Petcare US, makers of PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs, CESAR® Brand, WHISKAS® Food for Cats, THE GOODLIFE RECIPE® Brand, TEMPTATIONS® Treats for Cats and CRAVE® Treats for Cats.