Background: We left 2 half finished corn cobs on our kitchen work surface yesterday - our dog has never been a counter surfer so were pretty sure he couldn't reach them on his hind legs.

Much to our dismay yesterday afternoon we returned from work to find them completely missing with bits of corn around the living room. He had clearly eaten them.

We called the vet and they assured us as long as he was 'passing' then it should be fine given he is a big dog, being the worrier I cant help but feel a little concerned.

Fortunately he passed a lot of it this morning, but we still remain cautious....

Are there are recipes or remedies to help aid this along quicker to minimise risk of any blockages or problems later on?

  • 2
    Quick answer, I had a bull mastiff eat a whole corn cob in one swallow, it passed about 3 days later, dog did fine, but looked like it felt a bit ill near the end. Common sense says I should tell you to take the hound to a vet, for a professional opinion, and you should go to the vet. Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 19:24
  • Were the cobs full sized? Any evidence that he swallowed whole or part from what has passed? If he chewed, it may not be a problem.
    – Joanne C
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 19:52
  • We are almost certain it was 1cm sized chunks (judging from what we have seen so far). We will take him to the vet later, just to be sure - thanks for your feedback guys
    – IronBasset
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 21:31
  • 1
    Corn cobs can easily cause a bowel obstruction and kill a dog- unfortunate what is the most upvoted and accepted answer Please consider unchecking the accepted answer
    – user6796
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 10:40
  • 1
    To be discussed on meta pets.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2172/…
    – user6796
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 10:49

4 Answers 4


Corn Cobs are fairly absorbent. The best option here is to provide plenty of water and encourage your dog to drink up. The liquid will help soften the cob making it easier to pass. The hydration effect will also help the chemicals in your dog's digestive tract permeate the cob potentially helping to break it down, also making it easier to pass.

There is nothing in a normal corn cob that is going to be toxic to your dog so there should be no worries there.

I would also note that this does not guarantee that the cob will not become a blockage it just reduces the chance of it because the cob will be softer and easier to pass. If your dog does become blocked, or experiences bloody stool after(or before) passing the cob you should take it to a vet immediately.

  • 1
    Isn't there a possibility that the corn cobs could expand as they absorb water and cause a blockage? Or do the corn cobs break down in water enough that it won't be an issue?
    – Spidercat
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 13:50
  • @MattS. - It is always a potential. The water will minimise the chance of it. I will make that more clear in the answer.
    – Critters
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 15:03
  • 1
    Corn cobs are absorbentdue to air pockets but take ALOT to break down.... The decomp alone is even up to 10x slower than corn husks and can cause air pockets (BESIDES how terrible it'd be to pass, obstructions etc like @YvetteColomb stated). Everyone's story and experience may be different but it's such a high risk to assume it'll be okay for YOUR dog. Concrete is absorbent due to air pockets too but that doesn't make it easier to digest or pass.
    – Christy B.
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 15:48
  • @ChristyB. - "If your dog does become blocked, or experiences bloody stool after(or before) passing the cob you should take it to a vet immediately." That is word for word from the answer... It mentions they can become blocked. I have lived on farms in the middle of corn country most of my life. Dogs eat corn cobs and pieces of corn cob all the time. Its mostly just a result of chewing on them. Because they are chewing htem they mostly get broken up into small pieces that are much easier to pass than big chunks. its the big chucks that are more likely to cause an obstruction
    – Critters
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 15:35
  • 1
    I was mostly trying to emphasize and add comment to @spidercat 'cause question/comment about absorbency and that assuming everything is okay is a high risk. I hope you didn't think I was knocking your answer, it was well worded..
    – Christy B.
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 1:55

My two small dogs were partners in crime and shared an entire corn on the cob. Had no idea the dangers of cob. If your dog has eaten one, no matter the size of the dog, CALL your vet ASAP!

If you catch it early, the Vet will induce vomiting. For my Chihuahua all the contents came out but my Schnauzer did not throw up all the cob and had about half left in her stomach as shown on the xray. The vet said to wait and let it pass but any changes in her behavior like vomiting, lethargy loss of appetite should be a sign to call the vet.

Over the next three days my dog was eating, pooping and seemed fine except she became more and more lethargic. Took her to ER and they did emergency surgery as the cob was still lodged in her stomach. Thank goodness it did not impact her intestines. After the doctor removed the remaining cob from her stomach I saw the contents and I did not see or feel any large pieces- just a lot of small pieces. What happens is the cob becomes hardened and glue-like and it can stick together which makes it difficult to pass. 7k later...I have a dog at home that is now recovering from this ordeal. So thankful that she made it through this!


My cocker spaniel just had emergency surgery for bowel obstruction of foreign body. It was a chunk of corn cob that he had eaten at least 4 months ago. It was covered in black. X-Ray did not show the obstruction but the ultrasound did. He is day 2 post op and still in hospital. I won't ever have corn in the cob in the house again.

  • Did your dog recover, Sue Webb? I have a Cocker spaniel that has exactly the same scenario. Had sergery 3 days ago, but she's still in quite bad shape...
    – user7367
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 11:04

The following is a true anecdote of an actual event, that happened to have a happy ending. It should not be taken as rational for not visiting a vet should you encounter this situation.

Many years ago, when money was very tight, I had a rescued Bullmastiff, living with me way out in the country. She had a habit of swallowing whole any bits of food that might accidentally come her way. She was well feed, with 'free choice' (all you can eat when ever you want) dry dog food.

We were eating full ears of corn on the cob (6-8 inches long as I recall) while one of the cobs was it's way to the compost pile she grabbed one and swallowed it whole without chewing. It was not in her throat long enough to be a chocking hazard. Lips to belly transit time was like 1 second.

The first day or so she was seemed healthy and fine, the second day she seemed to have a bit of a belly ache, the morning of the third day she seem to be feeling a bit worse. Later on the third day she passed the corn cob undigested and still whole. The morning of the forth day, she appeared fully recovered. As far as I could tell there were no adverse side effects from this event.

This was a 100 pound (50kg) plus dog. Again I am not recommending you do not visit a vet should you encounter this scenario. At the time veterinary intervention for this event was financially impossible.

Edit My in-laws recently a very different experience, with a 50 pound (25kg) lab. Their experience was very similar to Suzie's answer here

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