For humans, popcorn is a great healthy snack, but is this people food safe to share with your pup? Here's what you need to know about dogs and popcorn.
There is just nothing better than sitting down for a movie night with the family... along with a big bowl of popcorn of course! And for us dog owners, our pooches are often an integral part of the family, so this begs the question: is popcorn (whether microwave popcorn or other varieties) a human food you can safely share with your dog?
Read on to find out all you need to know about if you can (or should) feed your dog popcorn and rest assured during the next movie night!
Can My Dog Eat Popcorn?
Pet parents will be happy to know that the short answer is yes! Dogs can absolutely have popcorn, but only to a certain degree. According to the American Kennel Club,
"Popcorn itself is not bad for dogs. Popped corn kernels actually contain several minerals important to canine nutrition, like magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and zinc, along with fiber and trace amounts of vitamins."
However, the additives on popcorn? That's a different story. While plain popcorn is perfectly safe for your pooch, most of us like our popcorn with tons of flavorings (as in buttered popcorn -- yum!) and large amounts of salt -- that in itself is no good for your doggo.
When Is Popcorn Bad For Dogs?
As in most human foods, the key is moderation: feeding your dog plain popcorn in small quantities will typically be fine. Heck, it might even provide a nutritional value (like B vitamins) that's beneficial to your dog's health.
However, once you get to the additives on popcorn is when you really need to start watching out as things get a little dicey. Large amounts of additives and flavorings, like butter and salt, can lead to a few possible side effects such as stomach upset, issues in the digestive system leading to diarrhea, weight gain & obesity in the long run from the high fats, and possible kidney damage and dehydration from too much salt. You should also be aware of unpopped kernels as this can get stuck in a dog's teeth or pose as a choking hazard. Popcorn kernels can also potentially cause gum disease, wreaking havoc on your dog's dental health.
That said, a small amount of plain, free-of-any-seasonings popcorn can be a great snack for your dog. However, if you dropped a few deliciously flavored pieces of popcorn at your next movie night -- don't worry, a few pieces here and there probably won't harm doggo.
Have you given your dog popcorn before? Let us know on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!