Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

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can dogs eat popcorn

Today’s question: can dogs eat popcorn? Is popcorn good or bad for dogs? Scroll down for detailed answers.

Popcorn is an easy, efficient, healthy snack most all people love. Popcorn is healthiest when popped from a kernel on a stovetop and not loaded with butter and salt.  There are many ways in which to enjoy popcorn, either from a microwave, a stove, a popcorn maker, or a venue.  Corn may be flavored after it s popped-using butter, salt, and seasonings.  Everyone likes their popcorn a bit different.  Some prefer their popcorn burned, but who are we to judge?  With so many people loving their popcorn, many wish to share their popped corn with their furry best friend.

Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks to have when watching a movie, camping, or spending an evening indoors. Popcorn may truly be eaten and enjoyed at all hours of the day without being viewed as odd.  Not many foods can be eaten anytime, anywhere, and have others ogling their food and demanding a bite.  Dogs are included in this ascertain of everyone wanting a share when popcorn is popped!  All dog owners know that once the tempting scent fills the air of the room, their dog patiently waits until he receives a handful of popcorn as well.  Whether you offer your pooch some popcorn bites is up to you, but you should also be aware of any risk your dog may have pertaining to popcorn.  Depending upon size, and breed, human foods should be researched before offering to your dog.

Surely it is hard to resist those puppy eyes so you might have asked yourself – can dogs eat popcorn? The answer to this question depends on how popcorn is prepared and how it is served. Let’s find out more about this crunchy snack.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? 

can dogs eat popcorn

Yes, once in a while, unflavored and in moderation.

Popcorn itself is not harmful snack for your dog to have. Popcorn truly is as natural as corn seed-just popped.  Corn is generally organic and free from chemical ingredients, making the corn kernel difficult to become allergic to or have a reaction from.  Air-popped popcorn is a healthy and natural treat with high nutritional value. It doesn’t present any particular severe health risks for your canine buddy; however, popcorn is made out of corn which is not the best food for dogs.   Corn may not be the best food for your dog, but the popped corn kernel itself does not pose any potential hazards either.

When it comes to flavored popcorn, as most of the times this classic snack is filled with all kinds of flavors (butter, cheese, caramel), this particular treat can pose severe risks to your four-legged friend.  The corn kernel itself is okay, the butter, salt, caramel, etc. is the food that poses the most harm to your dog.  Dogs are not meant to eat sugar and chemically laded sweeteners, therefore their stomachs cannot adapt to the change of diet.

Your dog will prefer his/her corn to be unflavored.  Dogs do not have a taste like humans do; therefore the dog will not idealize one type of corn over the other. Your dog will not have a taste preference as far as seasoning, but your dog will have a stomach upset preference over anything else. Your dog would much rather have an untouched handful of popcorn and be happy than a handful of seasoned and dipped corn and be sick for days.

Popcorn – When it is Safe

Feeding your furry pet a handful of unsalted and unflavored popcorn will not embody harmful effects on your pet’s health, if given in moderation, of course. You may consider saving some flavor-free popcorn for your canine buddy for the sole purpose of substituting behavioral treats. If you want to give your best pal some popcorn to chew on, make sure it’s flavor free.   Rather than toss a biscuit or an unhealthy treats his/her way during training, a piece or two of popcorn may do the trick in a more natural way.  Dogs can catch the kernel and the feeding can be made a game and as a reward in ways others food cannot.

Plain popcorn presents a couple of health benefits; it is filled with fiber which helps with your dog’s digestion. Digestive help is always important.  Dogs need healthy digestion to eliminate build up waste and toxins, and keep their metabolism running well.  The removal of toxins also serves an immunity system booster and keeps your dog healthier, longer.  Popcorn also contains vitamin B, thiamine, riboflavin, and protein. Additionally, being mostly carbohydrates, popcorn will provide your furry pet with a lot of energy, which comes in handy in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

Side Effects of Popcorn

As I already indicated, the worst thing about popcorn is when the kernels are topped with different flavors. In the long run, salty, flavorful treats can have severe detrimental impacts on your furry pet’s health. The flavors are artificial, so they are filled with chemicals and harmful substances that your canine friend is unable to handle if given on a regular basis.  The treats are not healthy in the additive way, but the kernels are also unhealthy in a training manner.  A dog may become used to the popcorn and be apprehensive to eating her/his regular food.  A dog accustomed to treats may be reserved and refuse his/her kibble and the healthy nutrients that go along with it.

Too much salt and a wide range of artificial flavors can affect your best buddy’s health. Excessive salt intake may cause sodium ion poisoning. Other health problems that might occur are obesity, heart disease, digestive problems, diabetes and arthritis as well. Additionally, extremely sensitive dogs can even suffer from organ failure. The more common issue is lethargy – that is the immediate result of an unbalanced and non-nutritive diet.  Just as a high sodium diet can affect you as a human, the same results may happen with a dog.  One may not be quick to think a dog would have these reactions, but a dog may be even more susceptible due to their smaller bodies, and less evolved digestive system.

Popcorn is not the only salty treat you should steer clear of offering your dog, but all types of foods rich in salt and artificial flavors are bad for your four-legged pal. Not only should you restrict these harmful treats, but you should consider eliminating them altogether if you wish your pet to be healthy and stick around for many years to come.  A healthy dog does not need, want, or crave salt.  There is not any nutritional benefit to adding salt to your dog’s diet, unless otherwise noted by a vet.

Commercial popcorn sold in movie theaters or fairs should be avoided. The food bought from fair and concession stands may taste and smell like heaven to an adult, but to a dog, the oil, salt, seasoning, and toppings are just too much to digest and pass in a healthy way.  Also, ready-made microwave popcorn is just as bad. Your dog should not get more than 10 mg of sodium per pound of body weight a day. However, many types of microwave popcorn contain about 150-300 mg of sodium per serving!  The high amount of salt in microwave popcorn is unnerving.  Heating popcorn in a pan, directly from the kernel is the best way to avoid the added salt and the added fat of popcorn.

Possible Choking Hazard

Every dog owner knows that their furry friends are inclined to wolf down any food in only a matter of seconds. And they manage to do it every time. Swallowing food whole rather than chewing each bite is particularly common in larger dog breeds. So, given the fact that your canine buddy will swallow the kernels of the popcorn without having any second thoughts, this can lead to an upset stomach, as the kernels cannot be digested.  An undigested kernel might be apt to sit in the digestive track a bit longer than if the kernel had been chewed, potentially causing discomfort in your pet.

The kernels of the popcorn can also cause a choking hazard for smaller dog breeds. Choking is not a common problem, but choking will lead to quick death if the air passages are blocked. More commonly, this particular snack can affect your dog’s teeth – the tiny pieces of popcorn can get stuck between the teeth and may lead to gum disease and tooth decay.  The teeth and gums of dogs need to cared for just as your own.  Dog’s teeth are brushed and flossed and special treatments are given to their teeth to prevent decay.  Regularly offering popcorn and having the corn stuck between the teeth will lead to decay, pain, and potential tooth loss.  Gum disease can occur and also spread and evolve into other diseases.   Not all dogs that eat popcorn will have teeth and gum issues, but the probability is there if the teeth are no cleaned afterward.

Conclusion on Popcorn

The bottom line is that flavor-free popcorn does not pose any severe health risks for your canine pal. If your furry pet begs to eat some of your popcorn, do make sure to only give him/her unflavored kernel treats. Flavored popcorn with salt, butter, caramel or various other sweeteners can lead to a wide range of health problems. However, this particular flavor-free snack is not a genuinely recommended either, as your dog may swallow the kernels in a matter of seconds and might suffer from an upset stomach.

Too many treats are not safe for any dog. Pet lovers should always feed their dogs responsibly. Avoid overfeeding popcorn or any other snack to dogs. Consequently, you should come up with better suited sacks for your favorite pet.



1 Comment

  • Yep i think so too, my puppy look at me everytime when i eat popcorn 🙂
    He want to eat too, but i just give him some and control it, thanks for your share.
    It is same my thinking.

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