Popping maize snack or shortly popcorn has been around for centuries.
People love popcorn, dogs maybe too, but can dogs eat popcorn is the question we ought to be asking first and foremost.
This lightweight snack has made its loud entrance into the entertainment scene in the early 19th century.
Yet it wasn’t until a hundred years later that it entered movie theaters.
Nowadays the association of popcorn and movies is as direct as orange color with orange the fruit. Unfortunately but understandably we can’t go to the cinema with our furry companion, not the spouse, the canine one.
So we decide to watch a movie at home with our dogs and popcorn were there too, to make it feel like we’re in a theater. But the question remains the same…
Is it okay for us to share it with our dog?
Is Popcorn Good for Dogs?
It might come as a surprise to some, but popcorn is actually a very healthy snack for humans and dogs alike.
The thing is that we mostly consume it in such way that from low-calories, low-salt, and low-sugar food it turns to be the exact opposite.
Many of us love to shove into the warm bag of deliciously smelling popcorn a good chunk of butter, topping it up with an abundance of salt or sugar. That’s when it stops being very healthy.
Popcorn as is, on its own, is actually very beneficial food. It is a whole grain, and as such, rich with dietary fiber.
And, here’s the punchline, it surpasses many fruits in its antioxidant content. Awesome, isn’t?
While it isn’t really bad for your dog to have some popcorn, it is recommended that you give them only a bit of it. All things salty or sugary are also not advised to give to your pooch.
So, if you cannot resist the begging that’s going on in your living room, give a tiny amount. And don’t feel guilty about it.
So, when trying to handle the question whether it’s okay for dogs to eat popcorn, the general answer is yes.
Your pooch will benefit from munching on a low-calories-salt-sugar snack.
Having it with you will certainly make him happy.
Your pet will probably really enjoy himself while having some of your popcorn.
For dogs, the crunchiness of it all makes it as fun a celebration as it does for humans.
The benefit or harm of popcorn for dogs depends, therefore, on how it is being made.
If it is plain popped corn with no extra toppings, then it is fine. If it has other ingredients, such as sugar, salt, butter or else, then not really.
Salt and sugar aren’t very healthy for humans and are actually bad for dogs. Butter might seriously upset their stomachs.
Another thing to avoid giving when feeding your pooch popcorn is unopened kernels. This might present a real danger.
The last thing you want is rushing to the vet in the middle of that movie scene. Keep your popcorn plain and leave all of the thrill action for the screen.
Why Is Popcorn Bad for Dogs to Eat?
The thing is that while on its own popcorn is good for humans and dogs it mostly isn’t served that way.
The way popcorn is sold in most places makes it simply loaded with calories.
Anywhere you buy ready-made popcorn it will have salt or sugar on plus butter or oil. Those substances aren’t too good for humans also.
Salt is sodium, and it is already present in your dog’s regular food in some amount. Too much of it can cause dehydration. If your pooch suffers from kidneys’ problem, it might lead to serious damage.
While sugar is an important ingredient, too much if it can cause your dog similar harm as in humans. It will affect their overall health and teeth. Only they don’t brush their teeth twice a day and don’t floss before sleep.
The harsh skin of the kernel can get stuck between their teeth. Anyone who had popcorn knows how annoying it can be. It might also cut into their gums. If your dog has already a gum problem, it will be an agonizing pain.
Talking about kernels, they present a serious choking hazard. The danger of it shouldn’t be underestimated. Those little hard leftovers are tough to chew on and mostly impossible to break.
A salty bit is sometimes tough to swallow.
There were cases of dogs being rushed to the vet because of this.
In spite of the nice-to-imagine image of you and your pooch by the television, popping corn together, it’s maybe worth switching a channel.
Hard facts are that popcorn as we know it won’t be good for your dog. Unless you buy a non-salted, sugarless version of it and prepare it on air instead of the oil.
There was a time when I used to make a lot of popcorn, and I always liked to prepare it in a microwave. This is a very convenient method, completely hustle-free, fast and furious. Pop it in; leave it there for a couple of minutes, and you’re good to go.
The thing to remember is that although dogs and popcorn do mix, it is your responsibility to supervise them when they’re together.
It is okay for dogs to eat popcorn, and most of the time it will be just fun. But to avoid harm, you have to act responsibly.
How to Prepare Popcorn for Dogs?
Since popcorn has so many positives, it would be a shame to miss out on it with your dog.
Your pooch probably really loves the crunchiness. And it is a great prize and a treat, low-calories and all.
For those who can’t make oil-free, sugarless popcorn for their dog, there are ready-made treats in shops. You can buy popcorn treats for your dog and be calm, knowing that he’ll get only the good stuff.
If you decide to give your dog exactly what you’re having, then you need to go low. To produce a low-calories-sugar-and-salt snack, you will do good popping it on air.
Making it with an air popper is easy and fun. Your popcorn comes out fluffy and dry; you also get to choose how much butter and salt/sugar to put on it.
This is a great solution for those who have air popcorn popper or want to get one. It might be worth the investment if you are big into popcorn.
Those who enjoy this treat scarcely and don’t see the point in investing in an air popper, but have a micro, will also do well.
When preparing the popcorn to be served to your pooch, make sure to clear off all the kernels and the free skin. Provide plenty of water available at hand, so the dog can have a drink in case bits get stuck in his throat.
You might want to feed him yourself giving it bit by bit. That way you can supervise the eating process, making sure he’s fine.
My Dog Ate Popcorn Kernels! What Should I Do?
While popcorn for dogs is fine, kernels have a slightly different twist.
If your dog has eaten kernels and seems alright, then just look for them coming out the other end.
He’ll be fine. The danger in eating kernels is that many dogs can’t chew them.
While working hard on trying and breaking the skin, pieces of it might get stuck. Whether it is stuck between their teeth or in the mouth folds, it can be a real nuisance.
Ever tried to get rid of a piece of kernel between your teeth yourself?
This can be a real nightmare. And while we can floss, dogs don’t use that option. Also, the pieces stuck in their mouth can lead to decay and inflammation.
What you can do when your dog is eating popcorn is to provide him with plenty of water. That way you make sure he has the chance to wash away the residue.
Sometimes the mouth can feel really dry from eating this snack, so water will be a good addition.
Try to avoid giving your pooch kernels altogether and, if happened that he had some, pay attention.
Monitor your dog’s behavior: see how he breathes, the noises he makes. See if he appears to be suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort. Contact the vet if you see that the dog might need help.
Most dogs are absolutely fine after eating kernels, but that shouldn’t put you off guard.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dogs and Popcorn
It is always good to see what are the most commonly asked question regarding a subject.
Answering the following six about popcorn and dogs might help you to form a solid opinion and knowledge about the rights and wrongs of feeding popcorn to dogs.
1. Can dogs have popcorn? Is popcorn ok for dogs to eat?
So what do you understood so far… is popcorn safe for dogs?
Generally speaking, sure they can. Furthermore, it is even beneficial since popcorn is rich in polyphenols. It is a good source of dietary fiber, low-calories and sugar-and-salt-free when served plain.
It is a nice crunchy treat which most dogs will enjoy.
Popcorn is absolutely fine for dogs to eat. Have your pooch enjoying the snack with you. Or put some in a bag and go for a run, he’ll have a great time catching the treat in mid-air.
While popcorn for dogs is okay to eat, cautious has to be exercised. Watch out for signs of choking, have water at hand, and feed the dog popcorn treats in moderation.
2. Can dogs eat corn kernels? Are popcorn kernels bad for dogs?
Kernels aren’t something you should be actively giving to your dog. They are hard to bite, nearly impossible to break, and they aren’t digested. If too many are being swallowed, it might seriously upset the dog’s stomach.
When eating kernels, it might get stuck between their teeth, causing decay and infections later. The hard skin might hurt the dog’s gums too.
While most dogs are simply pooping them out eventually, eating kernels still isn’t recommended for them. If happened and your dog had some, watch him closely.
Monitor his breath or signs for an abdominal discomfort. Give him plenty of liquids to help to wash it out of the system.
3. Can dogs eat popcorn with butter? Or caramel popcorn?
Caramel popcorn is overloaded with sugar and that can’t be good for your dog. You should remember that his regular food already has sugar and salt in it.
Dogs don’t regularly brush their teeth after eating sugary stuff. That means that it will all stay on his teeth and gums.
Sugar can also upset his stomach badly. Too much salt is also not recommended since it might cause dehydration.
If you can’t resist his begging eyes, then a few pieces should be fine, but you better not make a habit out of it.
4. How much popcorn can a dog eat without getting sick? And how often?
Popcorn adds calories to your dog’s daily allowance, so giving him too much in one go isn’t a good idea. Just like with any other snack, moderation is crucial. You can’t go wrong by restricting popcorn intake to a handful a day.
If this is the snack of choice for your furry one, you can give it daily. But make sure to prepare it without salt, sugar or butter.
The problem with giving popcorn isn’t so much the popcorn itself as the additives it is made with. So, find a way to make your own. Make it as healthy as it is enjoyable.
5. Is popcorn a choking hazard for dogs? Can dogs eat corn kernels?
Popcorn for puppies can be dry and hard to swallow. This crunchy snack definitely holds the title of choking hazard for dogs. Due to its size and the hard surrounding skin, it can pose a real danger.
That is why it is important to feed your dog only small bits each time.
Popcorn and dogs go well together but while you are feeding your dog popcorn, make it a priority to watch him. Monitor his actions. Watch for choking signs, provide plenty of water.
While the probability is that everything will be absolutely fine, don’t go absentminded about it. Any food that comes in small bits is a choking hazard for dogs, and popcorn isn’t exception.
6. Can puppies have popcorn? Is popcorn bad for puppies?
Puppies can have popcorn too. Because their tracts are smaller, the danger of choking is even bigger for them. They should have less popcorn than a mature canine.
They will definitely enjoy the crunchy experience. The fluffy and light snack is great fun to pop, making it more of a game than food really.
Even though popcorn is good for your dog, yet still, too much of a good thing can be bad too.
If it is salted or sugary popcorn that you are giving them, the amount should be minimal or better yet, avoided altogether.
Answering the question whether can dogs eat popcorn is easy now. Yes, they can.
It is a light snack that will benefit them on many levels. It has fiber, anti-oxidants, a low calories count and no sugar or salt in its original state. Sure when it comes to preparing this treat, all of the above might change.
When we add butter or oil, salt or sugar, we turn it all the way round into an unhealthy and unbeneficial snack.
Sugar, as well as salt, isn’t recommended for dogs. There is a safe amount of it which occurs naturally in the food they eat regularly anyway, and we don’t need to add to it.
So, when getting ready to enjoy some popcorn time with your pooch, try to make it as natural as possible.
By avoiding salt, sugar, and oils, you make sure to keep your dog healthy as well as happy.