Is Popcorn Bad for Dogs? 12 Things You Should Know
by Bethel Farms on Apr 07, 2023
Around 48 million households in the United States have dogs. If you have a dog, you naturally care about its health and well-being. Most people give dog food to their furry friends, but it's also possible to add some supplemental foods from time to time.
Is popcorn bad for dogs? Will something bad happen to your pet if you give them popcorn? Are there any health benefits of popcorn for dogs?
Keep reading and learn more about what you should expect if you feed your pet this substance.
1. Popcorn Itself Is Not Dangerous for Dogs
Popcorn is not an immediate death sentence for your dog. Popcorn can be healthy if it's the right type. But most people don't have the right type.
Most popcorn is slathered with butter, oil, salt, and seasonings. You should not give this to your dog for several reasons. But you can safely give your dog unseasoned and unbuttered popcorn.
Remember that popcorn is nothing more than corn that has been popped due to high temperatures. Corn is not bad for your pet's diet. If you look at the ingredients in any bag of kibble, you will find that corn is on that list somewhere.
Dogs eating popcorn is not anything to worry about in most cases. Any corn product can be healthy for dogs, in moderation. This is because corn is full of fiber and nutrients.
But corn should still not be the main part of your dog's diet. Dogs need a balanced diet full of meat, whole grains, and some vegetables to stay healthy. A balanced diet will improve your dog's muscles, teeth, fur, nails, and more.
Popcorn is very light and not too packed with nutrients. Each popped corn kernel has trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. There are not many calories in popcorn, either.
This is why giving a dog popcorn usually isn't a big deal.
2. Air-Popped Popcorn Is the Best
If you want to give your dog popcorn, make sure that it's air-popped. This is in contrast to cooking popcorn with a bunch of oil and butter. Air-popped popcorn is pure and healthy.
It is also fast and easy to make. While humans are not fans of plain, air-popped popcorn, your dog will likely enjoy it. They might enjoy the light, crunchy texture, or they might think that popcorn is fun to eat.
Some dogs hate popcorn and don't recognize it as food. Don't force your dog to eat this food if they aren't interested.
3. Do Not Give Buttery or Oily Popcorn to Your Dog
Buttery or oily popcorn is bad for dogs for several reasons. Butter is saturated fat, and it isn't great for humans or dogs. This is because saturated fats are bad for heart health.
Saturated fats love to stick to a dog's arteries and clog them. This can cause various heart issues and poor blood flow. This may reduce your dog's lifespan and make them more sluggish.
While oil is slightly better, it still isn't a good option for dogs. Oil is not a natural part of a dog's diet. A dog's diet should be similar to what canines have eaten for thousands of years.
Lean meat, whole grains, and the occasional fruit or vegetable are ideal. Dogs thousands of years ago certainly were not munching on buttered popcorn. Butter and oils can irritate your dog's stomach because they aren't used to them.
They are also bad for your dog's overall health. This is why air-popped popcorn is the superior choice.
4. Popcorn Should Not Consist of More Than 10% Of Your Dog’s Diet
There is a 10% rule that most vets recommend to pet owners. The rule is that snacks should not consist of more than 10% of your dog's diet. Popcorn is considered a snack.
If your dog is eating more than 10% of popcorn, this could be a problem. Your dog may start suffering from mineral and vitamin deficiencies. They may also lose a lot of weight.
While popcorn has some nutrients, it isn't the most nutritious snack you can give your dog. You're better off giving your dog a store-bought treat or a piece of fruit. Giving your dog popcorn once in a while is fine.
You can give your dog this snack several times a week in small amounts. Just keep track of how much popcorn your dog eats.
5. Salty Popcorn Can Cause Health Problems
Popcorn and salt always go together. Humans love salty popcorn because of its flavor, but it isn't the healthiest thing in the world. It can be especially unhealthy for dogs.
Small amounts of salt are perfectly healthy. This is because salt is an electrolyte. It can help maintain cellular signals and ensure that your dog's body functions as it should.
It can also maintain your dog's energy. But too much salt can lead to a variety of health problems. Toxicosis is a condition in which a dog consumes too much salt and gets seriously sick.
This is also known as hypernatremia. Excessive salt is dangerous because this toxicity can damage your dog's nervous system and the rest of the body. Some dogs die from this condition.
Dogs often get toxicosis accidentally. They may dig into a bag of salty snacks or your bowl of popcorn when you're not around. This is why you should be careful when salty snacks are within your dog's reach.
If you think your dog ate too much salty popcorn, don't worry. You can likely solve the problem by giving your dog fresh water to drink. Dogs can flush excess salt out of their system with water.
6. Too Much Popcorn May Cause Obesity
Popcorn is not high in calories, but common popcorn toppings and seasonings are. If your popcorn is slathered in butter and sauce, it will be very fatty and full of calories. Some people also melt cheese on their popcorn or add high-calorie additives like sour cream and other options.
You should not give this kind of popcorn to your dog. Giving your dog anything high in fat will increase your dog's risk of obesity. Having an obese dog is bad for several reasons.
Obese dogs have trouble moving due to excess weight. This may increase their risk of arthritis. It may also make it painful for your dog to move.
Obese dogs may also suffer from other health issues, like diabetes. Obese dogs don't live for very long. This is why it is important to avoid giving your dog food that has a lot of calories or fat.
Air-popped popcorn is still the best choice. This is a very low-calorie option that shouldn't harm your dog. If you are making popcorn for yourself, set aside a portion without any toppings or seasonings to give to your dog.
You can then season your portion how you like it. This allows your dog to enjoy eating popcorn with you without suffering from any health consequences.
7. Popcorn Is Full of Fiber and Minerals
The good thing about popcorn is that it is rich in fiber and minerals. Popcorn is full of important minerals like manganese, phosphorous, and zinc. These minerals are essential for your dog's cellular functions.
These minerals can also make your dog's body strong and energetic. Fiber is another important nutrient. Fiber can improve your dog's digestion.
But too much fiber can harm your dog's digestion. This is why your pet should have a balanced diet. If your dog consumes too much popcorn fiber, the rest of its diet should balance out this excess.
Popcorn also contains trace amounts of vitamins. The quantity of these vitamins is too small to make much of a difference in your dog's health. But having some vitamins is better than having none.
8. Popcorn May Be a Choking Hazard
Be careful when feeding popcorn to your dog. Some dogs may find popcorn hard to eat. If your dog eats popcorn too fast or breathes in too deeply, the snack may get lodged in its windpipe.
This can cause a serious choking hazard. This is why you should feed popcorn to your dog slowly and carefully. Don't give them a bowl of popcorn to dig into.
Give them a small handful or a piece of popcorn, one at a time. This reduces the choking risk. You should especially be careful if your dog tends to gulp down their food.
A whole piece of popcorn may get stuck in their throat if it isn't chewed first, and it may be hard for your dog to dislodge it. You can also chop up a handful of popcorn to make it easier for your dog to eat.
But this isn't usually necessary unless your dog tends to choke on things.
9. Air-Popped Popcorn Can Help Dogs Lose Weight
Some types of popcorn can make your dog obese. Other types can help your dog lose weight. Air-popped popcorn has next to no calories.
It is a light and fluffy snack that your dog can enjoy without any issues. If your dog is already obese, feeding them popcorn as an alternative snack can help. Many traditional snacks, especially store-bought ones, are full of calories.
Substituting popcorn instead of a traditional snack is a great way to help your dog lose weight. This won't work if you slather the popcorn in sauce, butter, or oil. The popcorn should be plain.
One ounce of air-popped popcorn has around 110 calories. This is a very light snack that can help your dog lose weight.
10. Popcorn Should Not Be Part of Your Dog’s Regular Diet
Popcorn is a snack, not a staple of your dog's diet. Don't try to add popcorn to your dog's food bowl every day. While air-popped popcorn isn't harmful to your dog, it doesn't do much for its health either.
Popcorn is a fun snack that your dog can eat on occasion. It is a good alternative to other snacks that may be full of calories or fat. It can help your dog feel full so it won't eat other high-calorie foods.
Always follow the 10% rule when giving your pet snacks. This ensures that your dog has a balanced diet. Giving your dog popcorn a few times a week is fine.
Giving it to them every day is not recommended.
11. Popcorn Is Full of Antioxidants
The good thing about popcorn is that it has antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals that accumulate in the body.
Free radicals can cause inflammation, premature aging, and the development of certain cancers. Antioxidants keep them in check by neutralizing them.
This reduces inflammation and leaves your dog much better off. Antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and discomfort of arthritis and chronic conditions.
12. Flavored Popcorn May Make Your Dog Sick
Popcorn comes in many different forms these days. Many popcorn packets are already covered with seasonings such as garlic, onion, pepper, and so on. You should never feed your dog flavored popcorn.
This is because many of these seasonings are toxic to dogs. This is especially true of garlic and onions. Your dog may experience severe digestive issues when consuming seasoning like this.
This is why you should stick with air-popped popcorn for your dog.
Is Popcorn Bad for Dogs?
Is popcorn bad for dogs? Not necessarily. Some forms of popcorn, such as those covered with butter and seasoning, are not healthy for your dog.
But air-popped options are fine. This type of popcorn has minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to keep your dog healthy. Are you looking for more ways to keep your dog in good shape?
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