Foods that we love and want to eat every single day can be great for dogs. Some can be toxic for dogs like grapes and chocolate. Others can be consumed in small amounts. What about popcorn? Can dogs eat popcorn? The answer is not as simple as you may believe. There are a lot of things you need to know first and today we will explain all of those.
Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?
Yes, but in plain form only and in small amounts. You need to look at the kernels as well. What this means is that plain popcorn without anything on them is safe for dogs. Your pet can have a couple and nothing bad will happen. As a matter of fact, popcorn contains manganese, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and some vitamins that dogs do need. We can even say that popcorn is a safe and beneficial food for dogs in small amounts.
The bad side of popcorn comes from salt and butter. We all like popcorn with these two presents and these are not good for us. These are not good for dogs either. Salt and butter can and will upset the stomach of your pet. In large amounts, they can cause obesity. This is not ideal and if you eat a lot of popcorn prepared with these ingredients you shouldn’t share them with your pet.
How Is Popcorn Good For Dogs?
Some of the healthy nutrients found in plain popcorn include zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, K, and B6. Other vitamins and minerals are pantothenic acid (B5), thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and folate (B9).
All these nutritional values packaged with fiber don’t make a huge difference to your doggie’s diet demands; plain popcorn is a perfect snack for dogs.
With so many good things, how can popcorn harm our puppies? Actually, popcorn itself is not a bad food for dogs. It is the way we humans cook them using additives and toppings which make them dangerous for dogs. In short, cheese, butter, slaty, or any other flavored popcorn may not be a good choice for dogs.
A Safe Option
A safe alternative here is to feed your pet with plain, air cooked popcorn. These are safe for all dogs and they won’t cause any issues. You can share them with a dog occasionally and if your pet likes these, you two can enjoy them together. Keep in mind that you still need to share popcorn with your dog occasionally, not every single day. If you feed him too much popcorn, nothing good will happen. This refers to the plain popcorn we have here.
All the treats and additions to the diet of your pet must not surpass 10% of the total diet. This means that your dog needs a proper diet and occasional treats. You cannot use popcorn to replace his meal. There are no ingredients and nutrients dogs need in popcorn only.
Remove The Kernels
One thing we must add here is that the kernels in the popcorn can be bad. They can get stuck in the teeth of a dog. You will have to remove these manually and we all know how hard this can be and how huge a problem it is. Always remove uncooked and partially done kernels. They may be something you like and dogs as well, but they are not ideal. This also means that you will need to prepare popcorn that is suitable for your dog and not perfect for you.
Another problem here is choking risk. Kernels are small but some that are partially cooked can be a choking hazard. This is another reason why you have to remove them from popcorn and why some dog owners will make sure their pets do not eat popcorn.
What Happens If Dog Eats Too Much Popcorn With Butter And Salt
If your pet eats too much popcorn that contains butter and salt (the one type we all like and eat) there could be a problem. There are a couple of things you will notice first and you should look for them. These are the signs you can notice first.
- Kidney damage
- Obesity (long term issue)
Butter and salt can cause an upset stomach and problems with the digestive tract, This can lead to diarrhea. Too much salt can cause dehydration so you will see your dog drinking a lot of water. Then we can see that too much salt can damage the kidneys. Some dog breeds are prone to kidney issues so make sure you are aware of that! If your pet consumes a lot of popcorn on a regular basis obesity is a common issue as well. Keep in mind that dogs do not tolerate obesity well and there are all kinds of problems that will appear at this point.
A problem here is that a lot of dog owners will prepare popcorn they like and these are not good for dogs. If you cannot eat plain popcorn, make these for your dog specifically, or avoid feeding your pet with them.
Can Popcorn Cause Allergy Issues To Dogs?
Some dogs are corn intolerant. Just like soy or wheat, dogs can have severe allergies to popcorn (basically, corn). If the dog is excessively licking its paws, dealing with an upset stomach, gas, rashes on skin, vomiting, or irritation, immediately take him to the vet.
In any of the above indications, avoid sharing pieces of popcorn with them.
How to Safely Give It to the Dogs?
The first thing to remember is that plain or air-popped popcorn with no added flavours is okay for your pup’s health.
What about those commercially prepared bags sold at the market? Well, manufacturers add flavors, salt, and other unwanted chemicals that can damage your pet’s overall health. So, simply avoid them.
When preparing popcorn, try to isolate a few popcorn bites before adding flavours or other additives. This way, you will both enjoy your type of popcorn.
Risks Associated with Feeding Popcorn to Dogs
While popcorn can make for a fun snack, it’s essential to consider the potential risks it may pose to your dog. Firstly, popcorn kernels can pose a choking hazard, particularly for smaller dogs. Dogs may also struggle to digest un-popped kernels, leading to possible digestive discomfort or blockages.
Another consideration is the high fat and sodium content found in commercially prepared popcorn. Butter, oil, salt, and artificial flavorings might make the popcorn tastier for us humans, but these additives are not healthy for dogs. Consuming too much salt can lead to increased thirst in dogs, potentially resulting in a condition called sodium ion poisoning. Additionally, high-fat foods can contribute to obesity and pancreatitis in dogs, a serious and painful condition.
Moreover, some popcorns might be seasoned with ingredients toxic to dogs, such as garlic or onion powder. Even if the popcorn is labeled as “natural” or “plain,” always check the ingredient list to ensure it doesn’t contain anything harmful.
Lastly, while rare, some dogs might be allergic to corn. Feeding popcorn to a dog with a corn allergy can result in itching, redness, and other signs of discomfort.
It’s clear that while popcorn isn’t inherently harmful, the way it’s prepared and served could make it a risky treat for dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is popcorn a choking hazard for dogs?
Yes, popcorn, especially un-popped kernels, can be a choking hazard for dogs, particularly smaller ones.
Can popcorn cause digestive problems in dogs?
Un-popped kernels can cause digestive problems because dogs may struggle to digest them, leading to possible discomfort or blockages.
What about popcorn seasoning – is that bad for dogs?
Yes, many seasonings used on popcorn, including salt, butter, oil, and artificial flavorings, can be harmful to dogs. Some ingredients, like garlic or onion powder, are toxic to dogs.
My dog ate a lot of popcorn. What should I do?
If your dog has consumed a significant amount of popcorn, especially if it was salted or flavored, it’s a good idea to consult with your vet. Look out for signs of increased thirst, digestive discomfort, or other changes in behavior.
Can dogs have plain popcorn?
Plain, air-popped popcorn without any additives is the safest form of popcorn for dogs. However, always give it in moderation and avoid un-popped kernels.
Can dogs eat popcorn with butter?
It’s not recommended to give your dog popcorn with butter. High-fat foods like butter can lead to obesity and pancreatitis in dogs.
What should I do if my dog is allergic to corn?
If your dog has a corn allergy, avoid feeding them popcorn. Signs of a food allergy can include itching, redness, and digestive discomfort.
Are there any benefits of popcorn for dogs?
Popcorn itself doesn’t offer significant nutritional benefits for dogs. It’s best considered as an occasional treat rather than a regular part of their diet.
What are some safe alternatives to popcorn for dogs?
Safe, dog-friendly snacks include vegetables like carrots or cucumbers, plain rice cakes, or specially made dog treats.
Can puppies eat popcorn?
It’s generally not recommended to feed puppies popcorn. Their digestive systems are more sensitive, and they’re more prone to choking hazards.
Now you have all the answers you need. Can dogs eat popcorn? Yes, they can get plain popcorn that does not contain salt and butter. Popcorn with butter and salt is bad for your dog and there is no point in feeding him this treat all the time. Ideally, you would prepare plain popcorn for yourself and share a couple of these with your pet. Any other scenario is not good for your pet.
As responsible pet owners, we should always monitor the number of human foods we share with our dogs. Like other things, popcorn should be fed moderately. Popcorn must not become a part of a dog’s diet. In fact, it should be offered as an occasional treat.
After reading this article, we hope you have your answer to “Can dogs eat popcorn?” So next time you sit together for a movie night, you can share the popcorn with the dog, but in portions.
Best of Luck!