Frequently Asked Questions

ID #1057

Why is maize (corn) used in pet food?

At Burns we use maize in our cat foods and in some of our dog foods. Maize (also known as corn) is a very high quality carbohydrate that provides many nutrients including essential amino acids and fibre. Maize also contains properties making it ideal for pets with sensitive skin. Not only is maize high in linoleic acid (an omega 6 fatty acid) which is important for healthy skin, maize is also gluten free. In fact an allergy to maize is very rare, in a study of 253 dogs with skin conditions 93% of cases were caused by an allergy to other ingredients including beef, wheat and dairy products.

Owners of dogs and cats that also have horses may view maize in a negative way. Firstly, maize (fed in large amounts) has been implicated for digestive issues and behavioural problems in horses and many horse owners
assume that this grain has the same effect on their dogs and cats. However, the horse’s digestive system is very different to that of a cat or a dog and maize does not affect our canine and feline friends in the same way.

 Maize is very digestible and is actually a main ingredient in many of the Veterinary and Prescription diets™ – which are used to manage cats and dogs with both skin and digestive problems when conventional off the
shelf pet foods have not worked. Both cats and dogs can digest cooked maize very well. 100% of starch from cooked maize, barley, rice and oats was found to be digested in the small intestine of the dog. And in cats it was demonstrated that cooked maize starch was nearly 100% digested when fed at a volume of 4.7g per Kg of
body weight per day.*

*Hand,Thatcher, Remillard and Roudebush (2000) Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 4th Edition. Mark Morris Institute, Kansas.

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