Can Puppies Have Popcorn? [It Depends]

puppy on couch eating popcorn

Puppies can have a small amount of plain popcorn when they are older than eight weeks of age. Although moderation is crucial, popcorn is considered a healthy snack for puppies because it contains essential nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc, along with fiber and trace amounts of vitamins.

Dogs are well known for their adorable begging habits. No matter what we’re eating and no matter the time of day, it seems our best friends with wagging tails are always interested in our food. 

Even though many people give in to these adorable beggars, all human food is not good for dogs.

One of the most popular treats that humans give their dogs is popcorn. Popcorn is a popular treat that is shared with dogs because it is light, airy, and seems harmless. Unfortunately, there are many risks to feeding your dog popcorn.

Dangers of Feeding Dogs Popcorn

Since so many humans give their dogs popcorn, many assume there are no associated health risks. However, this little snack has more hazards than you think.

Diet Intolerances

Some dogs have intolerances or allergies to corn and other grains. Dogs with these intolerances can get ill if they are fed popcorn. 

If your dog has any negative reaction to eating a few kernels of popcorn, you should stop feeding them to your pet. 

Common symptoms of a corn or grain allergy include skin irritation, hives, itching, obsessive licking, biting paws, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping. 

Even if your dog has an allergy, he may still beg for popcorn. Don’t give in to his big eyes. The only way to prevent a reaction is by removing all corn products from his diet, including popcorn.

Kernels

Popcorn kernels are perfectly sized to be a choking hazard for dogs. As you would with small children eating popcorn, give your dog popcorn only under supervision as they can easily choke on the kernels.

Kernels can also get stuck in your dog’s teeth, potentially causing oral health issues. Any hard, partially, or unpopped kernels are difficult for your dog to digest. 

If you are going to give your dog popcorn, then make sure the kernels are fully popped.

Toppings

The biggest hazard of popcorn is the added ingredients that make popcorn taste so good. Toppings like salt and butter taste amazing but are terrible for your dog’s health. 

Humans have an easier time digesting large amounts of salt and butter than dogs do (even though our health gets affected too), so it’s easy to think that dogs can tolerate these toppings as well. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Butter is a staple topping on popcorn, but consuming large amounts can lead to serious health problems (for both dogs and humans). 

Eating butter can lead to short-term issues such as diarrhea and other digestion issues and long-term problems such as obesity.

The second most common topping on popcorn is salt. Salt is particularly dangerous to dogs, as a large amount can lead to dehydration or even kidney damage.

Popcorn that is sweetened can cause another onset of problems. If popcorn is sweetened with sugar, the dramatic increase in your dog’s sugar levels can lead to diabetes and obesity. 

Xylitol is another common sweetener in popcorn and should never be fed to dogs as it is toxic to them. Don’t let your dog near any popcorn that is sweetened.

How to Safely Feed Popcorn to Your Puppy

Though there are risks to feeding your dog popcorn, there are also safe ways to give your pup this snack. If you still want to feed your dog some popcorn after reading this article, then read the following tips to ensure you are safely indulging your dog.

Moderation

One key to reducing the risks of popcorn is to only feed your dog a few kernels at a time. You certainly don’t want to give them an entire bowl. 

As mentioned before, popcorn kernels are both a choking hazard and get caught in your dog’s teeth. 

Your dog will not consider these risks when vacuuming up large amounts of popcorn, so you need to control how much he eats at one time.

Feeding your dog only a few kernels at a time also ensures that you don’t feed him unpopped or partially popped kernels. 

These kernels have an increased risk of choking or getting stuck in your dog’s teeth. Unpopped kernels have the additional risk of causing your pup digestive issues.

Choose Toppings Wisely

Butter, salt, and sweeteners should be forbidden on any popcorn your dog consumes. These toppings taste good, but they are detrimental to your dog’s health. 

The best type of popcorn to feed your dog is plain, air-popped popcorn. Some toppings are acceptable in moderation, such as unsweetened peanut butter. However, it is best to leave off all toppings.

Health Benefits Of Popcorn

After reading about all the risks of feeding your dog popcorn, it may surprise you to find out that there are some health benefits. 

Popcorn contains essential nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and zinc, along with fiber and trace amounts of vitamins. 

Although there are much healthier snacks for dogs to eat, giving your dog small amounts of popcorn has some nutritional value. 

As long as you follow the tips mentioned above, occasional popcorn is a decent snack for your dog.

Safe Snacks For Your Pup

Even though your dog may not show any health problems from eating popcorn, you probably don’t want to take the risk after reading this article. 

So are there any alternatives that you can feed your dog during movie night? Yes! There are many great snacks that you can feed your pup. 

Here are some options that don’t require any preparation and can be served to your pup while watching Netflix.

Berries

Berries such as blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries are all great snacks to give your pup. They are low calorie, highly nutritious, and your dog will love the sweet flavor. 

Berries are filled with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, which are all essential for a healthy dog. The only downside of berries is their sugar content, so give your dog berries in moderation.

Peanuts

Everyone knows that dogs love peanut butter, but owners rarely think to give their dogs peanuts. 

Peanuts are packed with good fats and protein, which are beneficial to your dog. However, peanuts are often salted. Salt can dehydrate your dog and be toxic in large amounts. If you want to feed your dog peanuts, make sure they are unsalted and unflavored.

Pupcorn

If you miss tossing popcorn kernels to your furry friend, then you will be happy to learn about this alternative. 

Multiple companies have come up with a dog treat called Pupcorn. These treats taste just like popcorn but are safer and easier for the dog to digest. 

They are low in calories and some brands contain no artificial ingredients. This is a perfect option for those who want to feed their dogs popcorn without the risks.

Better Safe Than Sorry

If your dog eats a few pieces of popcorn, there is probably no harm in it. However, eating a lot of popcorn can be a choking hazard and can eventually affect your dog’s health. 

Just because we can easily digest this light snack doesn’t mean your puppy can, especially if it is doused with salt, butter, and other toppings.

This article may be disappointing, but it is best to only feed your dog healthy food that is risk free. 

You probably know plenty of owners who feed their dogs popcorn with no side effects. Just because they’re doing it with no visible problems doesn’t mean that things will be the same with your dog. 

When it comes to taking care of and treating our pups, it is best to always be on the safe side.

But if you choose to still feed your dog popcorn, arm yourself with knowledge of the risks and be careful. Plain, air-popped popcorn is the best and safest option for dogs. Only a few kernels at a time are sufficient. 

 

 

 

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