When you’re sitting down with your favorite movie and a big bowl of popcorn on your lap, it isn’t going to be long until your little puppy is staring up at you with those loving eyes that can only mean one thing- I want a taste.
Sure enough, some popcorn is bound to fall onto the floor and your puppy will jump at the chance to hoover it up.
The question on any concerned dog owner’s mind at that moment will be, is it safe for my puppy to eat popcorn? This article is sure to answer that question, so you can relax and enjoy a movie night with no concerns about your puppy’s health.
Is Popcorn Bad For Puppies?
Popcorn itself isn’t bad for puppies at all. In fact, popcorn kernels contain a lot of minerals like zinc, magnesium, and phosphorous that are important to dog nutrition and can help the growth of puppies. Kernels also contain trace amounts of fiber and vitamins that can be beneficial to your puppy.
However, not a lot of popcorn these days comes as plain, it is usually packed full of salt or sugar and covered with butter, caramel, or other toppings. These delicious toppings are not good for your puppy.
Oils, butter, and salt as well as the many other different types of popcorn toppings can lead to intestinal problems in dogs as well as some obesity problems down the line.
Tiny amounts of topped popcorn falling on the floor and being snatched away by your puppy aren’t going to do harm, however, make sure that you aren’t dropping too much on the floor, as any bigger quantity could be unhealthy.
How to Safely Feed Your Puppy Popcorn
Most popcorn is cooked in fat or oil and microwave popcorn contains chemical preservatives that can be harmful to puppies. However, there is a form of popcorn that is safe for puppies to eat.
First, you need to air pop your popcorn, this is the safest and healthiest way to make popcorn as it doesn’t require any oil or fat to pop.
Once you have air-popped your popcorn make sure to separate the kernels and hulls, it is also important to separate out only half popped kernels as they could be a choking risk to smaller puppies.
Once you have done this you can feed your puppy the plain hulls, make sure not to add any toppings at all, and leave the popcorn plain.
As with any treat for your dog, it is important to factor in calories when feeding your puppy popcorn and do not give it to them in excess. Your puppy will benefit from the right balance of vitamins and nutrients, you should never feed your puppy an excess of popcorn as it may upset this nutritional balance.
What to Do if Your Puppy Eats Too Much Popcorn
Small amounts of flavored popcorn won’t do too much damage to your puppy, however, it is important to keep a close eye on them if you feel like they have gotten too much. One of the immediate dangers of your puppy having popcorn is the kernels.
To smaller puppies, kernels can be a big choking hazard and very dangerous, bigger puppies and dogs won’t necessarily choke on the kernels (they still can), however, the kernels can easily be lodged in the teeth of any dog causing discomfort and dental problems.
If your dog has eaten an excessive amount of flavored popcorn, the most common and noticeable outcome would be vomiting and diarrhea, these symptoms will usually pass on their own.
More serious issues that can arise from eating too much-flavored popcorn are issues such as dehydration and kidney damage from the excessive amount of salt in the popcorn.
More long-term symptoms from eating small amounts of popcorn regularly would be obesity and weight gain that can lead to different health issues. If you have any concerns about your puppy’s health after eating any food they aren’t supposed to then we advise you to contact a vet.
What snacks can my puppy eat?
If you are worried about eating popcorn around your puppy and potentially dropping some on the floor, there are plenty of safe snacks that you can eat around your puppy and even give a few helpings to them while you do!
Blueberries are a delicious snack to have while watching a movie and they are great for dogs too as they are a source of fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals which possess a great range of health benefits to growing puppies.
Chopped-up apple pieces can provide loads of important vitamins for puppies, such as vitamins A and C. They are also a good source of fiber, which will help with your puppy’s digestion.
However, make sure to check that your apples are fresh as apples that are starting to rot can lead to alcohol poisoning in dogs.
Carrots and Peanut Butter
Carrot sticks dipped in a healthy dose of peanut butter are a fantastic snack for humans, as well as puppies. Carrots are a good source of vitamin A which can help a dog’s immune system. Chewing on carrots also helps remove plaque from a dog’s teeth helping with their dental health.
Peanut butter contains vitamins E and B as well as protein and healthy fats. However, make sure that your peanut butter is smooth and unsalted with no added sugars or sweeteners as these additions can be harmful to dogs.
It is also vital to check that the peanut butter doesn’t contain a sweetener called xylitol, which is highly toxic to all dogs.
If you suspect your dog has ingested xylitol, contact your veterinarian right away.
If you’re concerned about your puppy’s weight, but still want them to enjoy a snack while you enjoy your popcorn, cucumbers are a perfect option as they are very low in calories. They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.