Popcorn is a must-have when you’re sitting in a dark theater at a hotly anticipated movie. Slathered in butter and paired with a soda, it’s the perfect snack as you take a break from reality. If your family loves to munch on popcorn at home, you’ve definitely tossed a few kernels to your dog as they lurk in the shadows. Luckily, popcorn is safe for your dog if you take a few necessary precautions.
Is Popcorn Safe for Dogs?
Popcorn itself isn’t completely bad for your dog as long as it’s unsalted and unflavored. Popcorn has a good amount of essential minerals, for one. For every 100 grams of popcorn, it contains 2.7 milligrams of iron and 300 milligrams of phosphorous. You definitely shouldn’t be giving your dog 100 grams of popcorn, but these minerals are necessary in a dog’s diet. Iron is necessary for the health and production of red blood cells which are responsible for oxygen transportation. Phosphorous and calcium strengthen the bones and teeth, keeping them strong to ward off breaks or fractures. Popcorn is considered a complex carbohydrate, which aids in energy production. It’s also low in calories as long as it isn’t soaked in butter, so you can give popcorn to your dog as an occasional treat for learning a new trick or housetraining.
How to Feed Popcorn to Dogs – the Healthy Way!
There are a few things to consider before you toss your dog some fluffy popcorn kernels. First, the popcorn should be free of any butter, oil, or salt. Many brands of microwaveable popcorn have butter or oil coating the bags, so it might be easier to pop your own popcorn on the stove. That way, you know exactly what’s in it, and air popping is healthier for both of you, anyways. While popcorn tastes much better to you when it’s seasoned with salt or other flavorings, your dog doesn’t need any extras to find it tasty. Oil and butter are fattening and cause weight problems, diarrhea, diabetes, and even pancreatitis in dogs. If you bring popcorn home from the movie theater, you should not give your dog any of it because it’s so loaded in fats and salt.
Feeding Popcorn to Dogs – Choking Hazard!
You’ve seen how quickly your dog can swallow something without chewing it, and if popcorn isn’t chewed, it can get stuck in the throat or be difficult to digest. Something else to consider are the small shells that sometimes come loose from pieces of popcorn. You’ve had those pesky little shells get stuck in your gums, and you know firsthand how painful those can be until you manage to dislodge them. Popcorn kernels can get stuck in your dog’s gums, too, except they can’t pick them out like you can. If you give your dog popcorn, do a quick inspection of their teeth after they’re done to prevent sore, bleeding gums or slow growing infections.
No matter how delicious popcorn is to your dog, it should be nothing more than an occasional treat. They get all of the nutrition they need from their dog food, so anything else you give them should simply be a complement to their diet. Remember that too much of anything can result in tummy troubles in your dog, and no snack is worth 24 hours of gastrointestinal misery.