Popcorn is great for munching during a movie but there’s one problem if you have a dog. It will be a target as your best buddy eyes that delicious snack sitting in your lap.
As your dog turns on the charm, it’s normal to want to share some popcorn. This can be a conundrum as a stare-down unfolds in your living room. Rest assured, you shouldn’t feel guilty for not sharing.
Popcorn is derived from corn which, itself, isn’t a good treat for dogs. The risks also increase depending on other ingredients such as butter and salt. While unlikely, it could also be a choking hazard.
Can I Give My Dog Popcorn? Answer: Not Recommended
It’s not a very harmful type of human food for dogs but don’t make a habit of it.
Personally, we use a healthy dog treat called Pupcorn instead of popcorn for training. But giving your pooch a small amount of popcorn isn’t that bad. There are worse things they could be eating. That said, this classic snack tends to be consumed after being salted, buttered or otherwise flavored with sugar. These other factors make matters worse for anyone consuming it, including the family dog.
All types of salted, oily and/or sugary foods tend to be bad for pets. They should be restricted, if not completely eliminated, from your dog’s diet.
Pro Popcorn Perspective
A small amount of unsalted and unflavored popcorn, which is not buttered, probably won’t harm your dog. It’s sometimes used as a rewarding treat for training purposes.
Sure, owners are doing so without incident and they will tell you that it doesn’t cause harm. If you feel comfortable giving popcorn to your dog, it’s prudent to provide some that’s plain and unsalted.
Though we aren’t fans of corn, popcorn could theoretically be a healthy snack. It’s high in fiber and may help with digestion. The carbs may provide an extra energy boost if combined with exercise.
Popcorn’s Many Downsides
The flavored and/or salted types will be harmful, over the long term, to your dog’s health. Make no mistake about it, your best friend’s system isn’t built to withstand such high levels of salt or artificial chemicals.
Excessive salt or sweet artificial flavoring can lead to obesity, heart problems, diarrhea, diabetes and even arthritis. Still worse, dogs can experience organ failure in extreme cases. More commonly, they’ll become lethargic from a poor diet.
Careful of the Kernels
Dogs tend to wolf down popcorn pieces fast. They can quickly reach the bottom where lots of kernels are found. You don’t want your dog swallowing corn kernels. They aren’t really digestible and can trigger an upset stomach.
There are rare cases of pets choking on unpopped popcorn kernels. Though this rarely happens, it can cause a quick death. The air passage to the lungs can become blocked.
At the very least, the tiny pieces of this snack can get caught between the teeth and eventually cause tooth decay and/or gum disease.
Much Better Alternatives
There are lots of excellent doggie treats and snacks available on the market today. The quality, vitamin-fortified, kind are much better than serving your dog popcorn.
Some have the added benefit of helping to clean your dog’s teeth. Healthy dog treats, from reputable manufacturers, are also safer and more nutritious than popcorn.
Conclusion on Popcorn
Plain popcorn probably won’t harm your dog but, at the very least, limit their portions. If you share this popular food, be sure it’s without additives like butter, salt and artificial flavors. Dog’s with weight problems need to lay off salted and buttered foods like popcorn. Remember to prevent your pet from swallowing corn kernels. Consider a healthier alternative to popcorn!