Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? Is Popcorn Bad for a Dog

If you have a pet dog, you probably know how much they love sniffing around looking for any ‘leftovers’ that may have made their way to the floor or in between your couch cushions.  This is especially true if it is right after movie night. Your popcorn has a unique way of always finding its way into all the crevices of your couch and on the floor, exactly where your dog is ready to help you clean them up.  While this may seem great as it prevents you from having to clean up any mess, you may not of even though about asking whether or not dogs can eat popcorn?

Health Benefits of Popcorn for Dogs

When it comes to popcorn, it is not considered to be bad for your dog.  In fact, the popped corn kernels do contain some important minerals that are actually very beneficial for your dog’s nutrition.  These include minerals such as phosphorous, zinc, and manganese, as well as some trace amounts of vitamins, and even some fiber. It is the stuff making the popcorn taste so good to you that is what you need to worry about when it comes to your dog eating it.  

Chances are that you don’t eat just plain, popped corn kernels as your popcorn. In fact, you probably prefer to eat the popcorn that is drenched in butter while being loaded up with salt, knowing that it is probably not the best choice you can make in regards to your own personal health.  Well, the same thing goes for your dog as well. The extra butter, salt, oils and other toppings that you love to put on your popcorn can actually lead to your dog experiencing intestinal upset, while the extra fats in the oils and butters can contribute to your dog becoming obese. If this is the case, your dog will then be at risk for experiencing the multiple health problems that come along with being obese.

But not to fear.  Just because your dog shouldn’t be eating the same popcorn that you eat, doesn’t mean that there is no hope and they are destined to give up this delicious snack.  The alternative here is to simply use plain, air-popped popcorn that doesn’t have all of the ‘extras’ already on it. By doing this, your dog will still be able to have delicious popcorn as a treat occasionally, but without having to worry about all of the negatives that can come along with it.

Health Risks of Popcorn for Dogs

While your dog may enjoy having an occasional popcorn treat, just be aware that there are some health risks that come along with this treat.  For example, the popcorn kernels can easily get stuck within your pup’s teeth, which can cause damage to their teeth and gums if not properly cleaned.  

Also, these same popcorn kernels also pose a huge choking hazard for your dog. This makes it a great idea make sure that you keep all of the whole kernels, or even the kernels that have partially popped, out of reach of your dog.  All you need to do is simply remove those from the popcorn that you plan on giving to your dog as a snack and you should be able to give them the popcorn as a nice little treat.

If the kernels do get ingested, they can easily be lodged within the esophagus, intestinal tract, and even your dog’s airway.  All of these potential situations each have their own laundry list of problems, so if you do suspect that some of the popcorn kernels are causing a problem, be sure to notify your veterinarian so that they can properly assess and treat your dog.

Is it Safe to Give Dogs Popcorn?

So when it comes to the question of whether or not it is safe to feed your dog popcorn, the answer is both yes and no.  While plain, air-popped popcorn is definitely the safest route when it comes to giving your dog popcorn, it is best to do so in small quantities.  As for the flavored popcorn, buttered popcorn, and the type of popcorn that comes with all types of other toppings on it, it is not a good idea, or safe, to feed to your dog on any type of routine basis.  

Now keep in mind, if they eat a few pieces every now and then when they fall onto the floor, chances are that they will be absolutely fine and no problems should arise. Just be sure to keep an eye on them for any signs or symptoms that something is wrong.  If there is, be sure to call your veterinarian immediately and let them know what the situation is so that they can give your directions on how to proceed.

As with any type of treat or snack, feeding your dog too much popcorn is always a terrible idea.  As a rule of thumb, always try to keep any and all treats you give to your dog at about 10 percent or less of their entire daily caloric intake value.  By doing this you will ensure that most of the food they eat is their regular diet, which normally has all of the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that they require to be healthy.  If you already feed your dog popcorn as a treat, it may be a good idea to double check the type of popcorn it is to limit the amount of extra calories they are eating.

While a couple handfuls of popcorn may not seem like much to you, depending upon the size of your dog, it can add up to a ton of extra calories.  Even if your dog loves eating the popcorn, the last thing you want to do is to overfeed your pup, leading to health problems that could have easily been avoided. If you have any questions in regards to your dog and popcorn, you can always speak with your veterinarian about the issue as well.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?
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