We could argue whether corn is good for your dog or not in the first place, but that’s not the point I want to get at today. The condition of the corn in your dog food is what is of concern here. In the November 2012 issue of The Whole Dog Journal, there is an article titled “Corn-Containing Dog Food at Increased Risk of Aflatoxin.”

In the article, the issue at hand is the increased risk of aflatoxin in corn this year due to extreme heat and drought suffered in the Midwest. Aflatoxin is a chemical produced by fungus and is one of the most carcinogenic substances known to us. The species of fungi that produce aflatoxin are most likely to occur in grains (like corn) with damaged seed coats, which is more likely to happen to corn crops this year because of the weather conditions.

Dogs exposed to aflatoxin can become sick, develop liver cancer and even lose their lives. While foods found to be contaminated will be recalled, that is little consolation if you’ve already fed too much of it to your dog before you hear about a recall. And there is no direct antidote for aflatoxin poisoning even if you did find out the cause of your dog’s illness in time.

The safest bet this year and into next year? Avoid any dog foods with corn in them at all – at least until you see what next year’s crop looks like.  If you are feeding foods with corn, look for potential signs of illness such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, orange-colored urine, and jaundice.

Thanks to Nancy Kerns and The Whole Dog Journal for enlightening us on this possibly life-threatening issue.