In the effort to feed their furbabies, dog parents are faced with seemingly endless ingredients. Some foods are known to be dog-friendly, like chicken, fish and vegetables. But other, less conventional ingredients like hominy are also available, and many parents wonder if it's okay for their pups.
What is Hominy?
Hominy is made from corn kernels that are soaked in a caustic solution, generally lye in the United States. The kernels are then cooked and washed to remove the hulls. Hominy is popular in Mexican and Southern cuisines, and is often used in stews, side dishes and soups. Because of its cooking methods, hominy is thought to be more digestible than other versions of corn, like corn on the cob or popcorn.
Can Dogs Eat Hominy?
Hominy's digestibility factor may make it a more attractive option to some dog parents than, say, corn niblets. Despite this, corn is not an ideal main course, or steady dish, for dogs. Some commercial dog foods contain corn ingredients, but animal protein should be the centerpiece of any dog diet. So if you're feeding your dog commercial food, check the label to make sure the first ingredient is a known source of animal protein.
Pros & Cons
Corn is a common allergen, and if your pup has a sensitivity, she can experience itching, ear infections and other reactions. Corn can also cause inflammation throughout the body. So if you choose to offer corn-based products at all, watch for signs of allergy or intolerance. For dogs with kidney and bladder stones, hominy may act as a suitable addition, due to its low oxalate content. But check with your vet first to make sure your dog doesn't have any medical issues.
A Little Goes a Long Way
If your dog can tolerate corn, you can feed him small amounts of hominy. Carbs should total about a quarter of your dog's diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, and starches like rice, potatoes and perhaps hominy. First, determine your dog's daily calorie requirements, then divide by four. This will give you the total number of carb-based calories your dog should eat. With 15 calories per ounce, hominy can have its place as a little treat now and then.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.