Dogs sometimes enjoy popcorn treats as much as people do. And when you see your dog eat popcorn, you must ask yourself or run a simple search on the internet asking: ‘can dogs eat popcorn?’ and’ is popcorn bad for dogs?’.
But you’re probably wondering:
Where is the right answer? Whom can I trust?
Well today I’m going to make it easy for you. You can trust in me!
All you need to do is carve out a few minutes of your day and tackle this ultimate guide below to keep your dog in good health, avoid what are harmful and affect your dog’s health over the long term.
I love Friday nights! It’s that time of the week where we get to do whatever we want because we know we deserve it. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and half of Friday is exhausting and we need a night off. Others may want to spend it out with friends, some may simply snooze early after a home-cooked meal.
I, on the other hand, have dedicated my Friday nights watching flicks with my dog Jack. My idea of a perfect Friday night is a stay-in movie date with my best canine buddy on a cozy couch with unlimited supply of popcorn!
One Friday night, in the middle of our movie marathon, I ran out of snacks. So I paused whatever it was that we were watching then and decided to go on my second trip to the microwave for more popcorn. Then I realized, how selfish of me! I have been eating all the popcorn without sharing a single popped kernel to Jack! And movie time is never a complete experience to anybody without popcorn. So I went to get another bag for my canine to eat.
But wait a second.
I was not even sure if it is safe for dogs to eat popcorn.
So before I continued feeding him some, I did a quick research to give clarity to some inquiries in my head.
Fortunately, I found the answers I was looking for. So today I’m going to share with you what I have learned from the question, “Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?”
What You Need To Know About Dogs and Popcorn
Most of us know that popcorn is basically corn seeds that expand from its kernel form and puff up into soft and chewy bits. We all love it! Everything about it is fun from the moment it makes the popping sounds when exposed to heat, to the way it smells fresh from the microwave, to its savory taste in our mouths. It is the most popular snack food to those who visit the cinemas. There are a lot of popcorn flavor variations which are not only enjoyed by movie-goers. There’s the classic butter, cheddar, vanilla, caramel, and etc. It is eve called the “Granddaddy” of snacks.
Yes, it is a famous snack enjoyed by people all over the world. It is cheap and every grocery store carries at least one brand of ready to eat popcorn. Every kernel is whole grain which a lot of us would prefer. It contains low levels of fat and low levels of calories, too. Popcorn also carries fiber! It is gluten-free and a non-GMO product. I would not call it junk food.
It has been very much well known ever since its discovery thousands of years ago. Then again, it was never a popular choice for dog treats, the reason why we are asking the question we have for today.
True, dogs are omnivores. Omnivores are basically animals which eat both plants and animals. Corn is basically a plant. So does this mean that popcorn automatically makes it to the list of good food for canines? Hmm, not really. As much as I want to cut this article short to give you a straightforward answer, I think it is best to stick to the flow of the discussion. We have a lot to tackle for us to truly understand our dog’s appetite for popcorn.
Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?
If you want a short answer, I could tell you one sure thing.
Yes, dogs can eat popcorn!
But not so fast. There are a few rules to consider.
- First, popcorn should be fed without any other ingredient. As long as it is served plain and bland, there is nothing to be worried about. That means no caramel or chocolate, butter or salt in your popcorn.
- Popcorn is not one those foods that your dogs should avoid at all costs. It is not poisonous nor does it cause any allergic reactions. But you should still watch how much popcorn you feed to your dogs. Running a food trial is always a good idea whenever introducing a new food to your dogs. Even though popcorn is not that dangerous, we should monitor our dog’s intake to make sure of their safety. That is our utmost priority as dog parents.
- Popcorn should be limited to a few kernels per day. Do not give your dog one big jumbo bag of popcorn! There is nothing wrong in giving your dogs a few kernels but a whole lot more may take a toll on his health especially when you’re giving him so much flavour.
While popcorn is safe for dogs, we must keep in mind that it is not a normal part of the canine diet. Meaning, this should not be used as a substitute to meat or his other vitamin needs. Let us not get carried away and make a rash decision to incorporate it in his regular meal. Popcorn is more of an occasional snack or a treat for when Barky learns a new trick. It is not something a responsible owner should give his dog for sustenance and nourishment.
Health Benefits From Popcorn – Is popcorn good for dogs?
Popcorn may not be the healthiest food in the world. However, it is not the absolute worst either. You should know that it also contains vitamins and minerals. Some of which are magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and zinc. It also contains fiber which we all know aids digestion for regular and smooth bowel movements. It contains some B Vitamins thiamin and riboflavin which is serves certain functions in the canine body. These vitamins help our dog’s vision, keep their digestive system healthy and keep their energy level. There is also 2.7 mg of iron for every 100 grams of popcorn.
But plain popcorn is healthier than those covered in cheese and butter. Sad to say, the tastier popcorn is, the more it should be avoided.
Besides, dogs can survive without knowing what popcorn is. It is really something canines would crave for. It is not necessary for their survival. It is only us humans that want to think that dogs need variety in their food when in fact, they actually don’t! We are constantly thinking of creative ways to show how much we care for our dogs through giving them our favorite food. So if you love chocolate covered popcorn, well, you better think again. Not everything we like is good for our dogs. And even though they are safe for canine health, they can offer so much benefits.
Downsides: Is Popcorn Bad For Dogs?
Popcorn is basically nothing without its flavors. So if you take away butter and salt, it would not be something one would get excited about. As I have mentioned before, popcorn is just fine for dogs as long as it is plain popcorn without the seasoning and flavoring. But if you really want to do it your way, you must be prepared of some bad effects.
- Because of high sodium content, dogs may probably be dehydrated. This is a short-term effect which could be remedied by drinking water. This, however, should not become a cycle if you do not want your beloved canine to develop serious kidney-related illnesses. I hope you know I do not mean to scare you. This is simply a warning to prevent unnecessary medical emergencies.
- The average healthy adult dog is only allowed10mg of sodium per pound of body weight each day. Based on Consumer Reports, the most popular brands of microwaved popcorn we commonly see on store racks have ridiculously high levels of sodium. Believe it or not, every pack has 150-300 mg of sodium per serving. That is A LOT!
- Buttered popcorn is also very oily. Too much of it will make dogs fat. With this kind of diet minus the exercise, your canine will be at risk of obesity. This is a long-term effect for dogs fed with too much popcorn or any other kind of fatty food. Needless to say, it should be avoided by dogs which are already overweight.
- Popcorn butter puts dogs at risk of diarrhea. Even humans should take it easy with this greasy stuff. Too much of it is not good for people and this also applies to dogs, too. That is why I have repeatedly said in this article that popcorn treats for dogs must be plain and bland. Popcorn snacks with flavor and seasoning is only good for humans, not canines.
- If you are an avid popcorn eater, you will notice that not all kernels pop during the process it goes through inside the microwave. This is something you should be concerned about when feeding popcorn to your dogs. You see, popcorn kernels are hard and you would most likely pick them out of the bunch of successfully popped kernels. When fed to dogs, these hard unpopped kernels may cause some damage on their teeth. How so? Corn kernels are small and could easily get stuck in between the canine teeth. If a kernel gets stuck there for too long, it may result to tooth infection and dental diseases. When I say dental diseases, this means more than just bad breath. Oral hygiene is very important to keep a canine healthy and an unnoticed kernel may compromise your dog’s well-being. Find the time to check your canine’s teeth and gums to make sure that they would be able to keep their pearly whites until their fur turns grey.
- Unpopped corn kernels could also lead to an upset stomach. This is because kernels are pretty hard to digest. So if you do not want little Whitey to get tummy problems, make sure that the popcorn you give her have had the unpopped kernels filtered out.
- Popcorn is also a choking hazard especially the unpopped kernels. I, myself, have experienced this incident. So be careful with your popcorn and save your dog from the misfortune.
- Popcorn contains preservatives and are most likely to be covered by chemical additives which may be compromising to our dog’s health.
What to Do When Dogs Ate Too Much Popcorn?
So you made yourself a big bowl of popcorn to enjoy your favorite lunch time TV show. Just when you were getting comfortable, the telephone rang. You turned your back for half a minute and when you came back to your spot on the couch, you noticed your popcorn is almost gone. And guess who’s been chewing on them. Blacky your canine pet! Uh-oh.
Then you start to panic.
Oh my! Popcorn is not really a dog treat. And you’ve heard that some human food could really be dangerous!
Calm down, my friend.
The worst thing that could happen is an upset stomach, probably tummy aches and diarrhea. As long as you do not let this happen often, you’re still good. If he starts to vomit recurrently for more than a day, that is the time you should bring him to the nearest clinic for medical attention. This may be a rare outcome but is still possible.
Also, if you think your popcorn is a little too salty for your dog’s taste, make sure to give him some water to prevent dehydration. Observe your dog for the next couple of hours just to see if he’s doing fine. If you think he’s acting a little out of normal, call your veterinarian and meet for a check-up. That is just to give you some peace of mind.
How to Feed Popcorn to Your Dogs the Right Way?
I have four ways to feed popcorn to our dogs the right way. Some of it I have already mentioned before but needs reiteration and one is actually new information that perhaps some of you may already know. Nevertheless, let us go over this one by one.
- First, skip on the flavoring, seasoning and sprinkles when giving some popcorn to your dogs. I know, this does not sound so yummy but believe me when I say that this is for your buddy’s sake. Popcorn should be freshly air-popped.
- Second, all popcorn must be “popped” before serving it to our pets. Corn kernels should not be given to dogs as they may be put at risk of choking, digestive problems and tooth problems as mentioned before. So make sure every single flake has expanded into soft popcorn.
- Only give your dogs a few popcorn flakes every day. As what I have mentioned before, too much is never good.
- Did you know there are dog treats which are similar to popcorn? Some dog food manufacturers have a genius idea of making popcorn which are specifically for dog training. They come in different flavors, too. So if you’re looking for an alternative, they are available in pet stores and even online. And do not worry. Even with the flavor, they still carry low levels of fat, sodium nd calories.
I really do hope you remember everything I said after you finish this read. But I know this one is a long article, so you could always come back for a refresher anytime you need!
Can dogs have popcorn – The Final Verdict
So, can dogs eat popcorn? The answer is yes but there are a few points to remember. One, dogs should only be fed with fresh, plain air-popped popcorn flakes. Two, popcorn should only be fed in moderation and not in a regular basis.
To give you a better understanding, imagine putting yourself in your dog’s position. Would you like to be fed with snacks which is basically air for everyday of your life? I bet you would not like that.
AT the end of the day, it is best to consider all the nutritional needs of your dogs and not just the canine treats that will make him stick his tongue out. The popping maize sure is a delicious treat for dogs but you should not make a dog meal out of it alone.
And just reminder, I hope we have agreed to skip on the added flavor to keep your dog away from tummy troubles. One last thing, watch out for unpopped kernels. I have warned with the hazard it poses so be very keen about that.
I hope you got a lot of information from this read. It is meant to help out my fellow dog parents who are ever concerned of their dog’s diet. If you have anything in mind that you would like to share or additional information that you want to impart, do not hesitate to leave some word in the comment section.
I’m sure the readers would love to hear your personal tips from your experiences as a dog parent.
Also, if you know someone who might be having some hard time understanding their dog’s appetite for this certain kind of food, feel free to share this link in all your social media accounts.
Let’s spread the word and gather in forum about important dog matters. Who knows, you might even save a dog’s life.
For now, bye!