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Popcorn is a well-loved treat, especially when it comes to snacking during a movie night.
However, if your dog has gotten into the popcorn when your back was turned, or you’re simply curious about giving it to them as a treat, you might be wondering: Can dogs eat popcorn?
In this article, I will cover some key information about dogs eating popcorn, including whether it’s safe for dogs to eat popcorn. So, next time you sit down for movie night, you know exactly where you stand on the situation.
So, let’s get started.
Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?
Yes, dogs can be fed plain, air-popped popcorn as an occasional treat.
Popped corn kernels contain a variety of different minerals that are important for their nutrition, such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc, along with fiber and vitamins.
However, they will already be receiving these things from their daily food provided that you are providing them with a balanced diet. Bearing this in mind, you won’t want to be making popcorn a regular addition to their diet.
Whether you should give popcorn to your dog will depend on how you prepare your popcorn. As I’ve mentioned, plain, air-popped is fine to feed your dog, but when you bring other ingredients into the mix, this is where you need to draw the line.
If you’re drizzling butter, salt, sugar, and caramel over your popcorn, then it’s not suitable for your dog to eat. These ingredients are all extremely high in fat and salt, which can result in your dog experiencing dehydration, digestive issues, and can lead to obesity.
While you might prefer your popcorn this way and might initially think this type of popcorn is fine provided it’s only every now and again, it’s not a good idea to get into the habit of feeding your dog anything other than plain popcorn. Aside from the health problems it could pose, it might even encourage your dog to develop a begging habit, which no one wants!
It’s also important to remain wary when feeding your dog popcorn. This comes down to the fact that unpopped or partially popped kernels can become a choking hazard and can also become lodged between your dog’s teeth. As you’ll know from experience, this can be quite frustrating and uncomfortable even when you’ve got toothpicks at your disposal, so imagine how it will feel for your dog!
Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Popcorn?
The answer to this question depends on the type of popcorn in question. While air-popped popcorn is safe to feed your dog, a variety of toppings aren’t good for them to eat.
As I’ve mentioned above, popcorn that has been doused in butter, oils, salt, and sugar isn’t good to feed your dog, as this can lead to digestive problems for your pooch. It is also important to mention that an excessive amount of oil in your dog’s diet can contribute to obesity and the variety of health problems associated with obesity.
In addition to this, drizzling your popcorn with ingredients such as melted chocolate sure is tasty for humans, but when it comes to feeding this to your dog, it is incredibly dangerous as chocolate is toxic to dogs.
You should always avoid giving your dog popcorn that has been seasoned or that you’ve added your own toppings to. If you know that you’re going to want to give your dog popcorn as a treat, make sure that you remove the small amount for your dog first, then add your chosen toppings later.
It is also important to mention that corn is a common food allergy for dogs. If you’re already aware that your dog has an allergy or even a sensitivity to corn, then it’s best to avoid giving them popcorn altogether. Failure to do so could result in an upset stomach, diarrhea, or gas.
How Should You Feed Your Dog Popcorn?
If you wish to feed your dog popcorn as an occasional treat, you will need to make sure that you follow these guidelines.
Only Feed Your Dog Plain Popcorn in Moderation
Treats should only make up around 10% of your dog’s daily calories. Bearing this in mind, plain popcorn should only be given to them in moderation every now and then.
Just because plain popcorn is okay for your dog as a treat, this doesn’t mean that you should feed your dog popcorn every time you’re planning a movie night.
You will also need to take into consideration how many treats your dog has had that day, as exceeding the 10% guideline is how you can put your dog at a higher risk of developing health issues such as diabetes and obesity.
Only Feed Your Dog Air-Popped Popcorn
Another thing to remember is to only feed your dog air-popped popcorn. Air-popping is super simple, and can easily be made in a popcorn machine, microwave, or your stove.
It’s not good to feed your dog popcorn that has been covered in unhealthy ingredients packed with fat and salt, such as butter. While you might think it’s fine every now and again, it’s not good to get into bad habits when feeding your dog.
You should also avoid toppings, such as melted chocolate, as this is toxic to dogs. It’s not worth risking your dog’s health, as even the smallest amount of chocolate can be fatal to your pooch if they don’t receive the proper health care immediately.
Remove Any Unpopped or Partially Popped Kernels
As unpopped or even partially popped popcorn can become choking hazards for your dog, so it’s important to remove any unsuitable kernels.
Making sure that you check all of the popcorn pieces that you give your dog will minimize the risk of your pup choking on a kernel, and will also help to prevent the partially popped kernels from getting stuck in your dog’s teeth.
Dogs can eat plain, air-popped popcorn in moderation as an occasional treat.
That being said, you will need to be cautious when feeding them popcorn, as any partially or unpopped kernels can pose a choking hazard and can become stuck in their teeth.