Blue (Buffalo) dog food ad - corn is evil?

Recently, I’ve seen TV ads for a dog food brand called “Blue” (which, apparently, is short for Blue Buffalo). They contain the usual litany of how it’s “natural” and “free from bad ingredients” and so much better than all those normal dog food brands that are made with radioactive slime or something.

But there was one thing one of the actresses-playing-a-dog-owner said that gave me pause. It occurs about 20 seconds into Kim Rife - Blue Buffalo Commercial - YouTube

She seems to be implying that, not only is corn something that a dog should never ever eat ever, but it’s obvious that corn is something that a dog should never ever eat ever, and that everybody watching the ad already knows that corn is something that a dog should never ever eat ever.

Is “corn” a dog food industry synonym for ground-up shards of glass, or something?

Dogs are omnivores. It’s mostly upsell.

“Normal” dog food brands don’t use radioactive slime, but many do use diseased animals and roadkill.

And corn is just extra crap for your dog to eat and poop out.

I suppose the same could be said for roughage in the human diet, though.

What I guess I’m really wondering about is: Why does this ad treat it as “obvious” that corn shouldn’t be something you feed to your dog? Are they in cahoots with the Corn-Free crowd or something?

I started using blue Buffalo food for my dog and cat a few years ago. Both have nice, shiny coats and no diet-related problems. The cat doesn’t hack up fur-balls very often anymore.

Here’s a good source for dog food reviews.

As far as corn, I don’t know.


I don’t know the whole story, but I know that there have been some contaminant problems with dog kibble that includes corn.

More generally, I know that corn can be an allergen (though I don’t know how prevalent food allergies are for dogs) and that it’s not particularly digestible in its unprocessed state. So you’re paying extra and getting nothing for it.

I think the advertising, like much advertising, takes one negligible benefit and blows it all out of proportion. Corn is a relatively cheap way to get calories into the food, compared to meat. Corn is a little high on the glycemic load side so tends to spike blood sugar. How bad is that? How significant is that effect from the amounts found in typical dog food? I don’t know if it’s bad enough to boycott dog food containing corn.

The company’s site compares a strawman competitor’s dog food ingredients to theirs, and says

They show that chicken is the top ingredient in their list. And it is true that at least one competitor, Alpo, lists corn as their top ingredient.

This site tends to agree that corn is undesirable, but doesn’t make it sound like evil poison.

Blue Buffalo, Mericks, and Innova are three dog foods I rotate for our three mutts.. No complaints; they are generally fit/trim/healthy/happy.

I read it in a book about caring for dogs, but I found this online:

Corn is not the evil. It merely supports and subsidizes the true evil: Iowans. bwahahahaaaaaa.

This. Corn is indigestible filler. If you feed your dog cheap dog food, it may or may not have adequate nutrition and balance, but it will certainly contribute to massive dog piles in the back yard. Feeding a higher-quality food that is little or no filler may seem more expensive, but if they get the nutrition (possibly better nutrition) from a much smaller mass and volume of food, it’s better on a whole lot of levels - including how much shit you will have to pick up.

The only purpose of corn is to make you think you’re getting a better deal. It can feel painful to walk out with a $50 bag of quality food if you’re used to heaving giant $25 bags, but you’re getting the same - or more - for your dollar.

I feed my Danes California Natural (the second food they’ve ever been on). The 125-pound girl lives on four cups a day; the 145-pound boy on five. Even that tends to put weight on them. And we have a yard spotted with lab-sized poop, not Mt. Shiteverests.

In my experience, pet food is one of those subjects where it’s literally impossible to get unbiased information. Either the source of the information is a company that’s actually trying to sell you their cat/dog food, or it’s a random blog that’s telling you that you’re probably killing your cat/dog by feeding them that cat/dog food.
I feed my cat one of the more-or-less premium brands of cat food, but if you do any research on the internet, you’ll find out that she should look like a mutant from Fallout because of the diet I’m feeding her because it has corn as an ingredient. (She actually seems pretty happy and healthy.)

More specific info from the already twice cited website: The Truth About Corn in Dog Food. His take is that it’s a cheap, not particularly nutritious source of calories and starch.

That site is absurd though; they bash plant protein sources pretty hard, and get cranky because of labeling deficiencies- if a can says "liver’ but doesn’t specify, they mark it as negative since they don’t know what kind.

Ultimately does it matter though? I suspect even as sketchy as a lot of pet food sources are, they’re no more sketchy than whatever carrion and other stuff dogs and wolves got into on their own for millions of years.

Anecdote: Our 13-year-old springer started having unexplained accidents (puddles) in the house. The vet told us that older female dogs sometimes develop a grain allergy that causes this, and to try putting her on a grain-free food. We switched her to Blue Buffalo, and though she still has the occasional slip-up, they’re a lot less frequent.

People can get completely insane about pet food - talk to a RAW diet proponent some time. It’s no surprise that people (and companies) go off the deep end in their silly, woo-ish, anecdotal arguments.

Corn is not bad for animals in any way. It’s just indigestible filler. The only negatives are that it bulks up the food, making it look like a better buy; it bulks up poop, because it passes straight through; and if the manufacturer is trying to count the nutritional content in place of protein and nutrients the dog or cat can actually use, it’s false advertising and possibly under-providing for the animal. All else is just hysterical woo.

It is listed on the package as “animal digest”. As the article said, anything from roadkill to animals the vet euthanizes to chicken factory waste.

But see, it is bad for the animals especially for cats, as a cat is a obligate carnivore, and their gut is only so big, thus filling it with corn instead of meat is bad.

Corn is a cheap way of adding bulk and protein % without actual digestible protein for dogs. Yes, they can eat it, but it’s not as good for them as meat. However, the label can show such & such a % of protein, but if it corn, the dog won;t get much and the cat almost none, if any.

Blue’s site is correct in that I have seen “corn” listed three different ways on a ingredients list.

I have a chihuahua. His anal glands frequently need a little “outside help”, or they can accumulate so much musk that they’ll get overly full and could be in danger of bursting.

One way for me to give him such outside help is to feed him more fiber along with his dog food. This makes his poops more robust, which helps to squeeze the anal glands on its way out of his caboose.

So, for him, indigestible corn fiber would actually help.