A Memorial Day Cookout Favorite Could Kill Your Pet

If you are planning a Memorial Day cookout, it’s likely that corn on the cob is on the menu. But while most pet owners know that foods such as chocolate, grapes, onion, and garlic are nutritional no-no’s for canines, corn on the cob also presents a hidden danger to Fido.

According to USA Today, dogs can eat corn and it is an essential ingredient in many commercial dog foods. But the cob is indigestible and eating some of it could mean surgery — or even death — for dogs. Unlike chocolate that is toxic to dogs, the cob doesn’t contain any poisons that are dangerous.

“The biggest concern is the potential for the cob to get stuck in the digestive tract,” said Dr. Tina Wismer, a toxicologist at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center. She suggests calling your veterinarian if your dog eats corncob. How much damage occurs depends on the size of the dog and the diameter of its intestines, explains the expert. 

Medium to large dogs have intestines that are 9-10 mm in diameter, while small dogs have intestines that measure 5.5 mm in diameter.

“So, pieces that move out of the stomach can get stuck further down,” said Wismer. That situation can be life-threatening and requires surgery. Signs that your pooch may have ingested corn on the cob include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, decreased appetite, a sore belly, straining to poop and hunching, according to USA Today. Experts advise calling your vet immediately or going to a veterinary urgent care clinic if you notice these signs.

To prevent accidental ingestion from happening, carefully dispose of corncobs in a securely-lidded garbage container and keep all food out of your dog’s reach.

Other safety tips for pets on Memorial Day weekend from the ASPCA include:

• Be aware of potential dangers. While cookouts and barbecues are popular Memorial Day activities, they present many safety challenges for pets. Citronella torches, grills themselves, and a bevy of food and drink can be overwhelming. You may want to keep pets in the house to prevent accidental injury.

• Tell your guests NOT to share their food with your pets and do not allow four-legged friends to ingest any alcohol.

• Stay cool. Pets can become dehydrated quickly so make sure they have plenty of shade and fresh, clean water. Animals with flat faces like Pugs and Persians are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant effectively. These pets, along with those who are elderly, overweight or have heart or lung disease, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

• Skip the spray. Insect repellant and sunscreen can be toxic to pets unless they are designed for domestic animals. Signs of repellent toxicity include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy. DEET, a common insecticide made for humans, may also cause neurological issues for dogs.

• Make sure your pet has identification. In case your pet accidentally escapes during your Memorial Day celebration, ensure that it has a microchip or ID tag with identifying information and contact numbers.  

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