Can dogs eat popcorn?

Can dogs eat popcorn?

Every pet parent’s favorite thing to do in the whole world probably is spending time with their dog. We have become pros at scooching them into every plan possible. Going for brunch? There’s room for Fido. Running some errands? Most places are probably pet-friendly.

We just share every single moment possible with them! In my opinion, one of the best activities to share with my dog is watching movies. Needless to say, she doesn’t quite comprehend the plot of what she’s watching. She just lies in bed next to me, enjoys a petting session and usually has the nap of her lifetime. 

Whenever we are watching a movie together, I always wonder if I can share one or two popcorn with her. Are they good for her? Or is popcorn bad for dogs? 

I decided to wonder no more, do my research and share this helpful information with every pet parent who has ever wondered if they could share tasty popcorn with their pooch. 

Is popcorn bad for dogs?

As a matter of fact, yes, the popcorn you prepare for yourself is bad for dogs and they shouldn’t eat. It contains not only a number of ingredients that can be dangerous for them, but also goes through a cooking process that can cause them harm.

First, let’s review the ingredients popcorn can have that are not safe for dogs to eat.

  • Salt: a key ingredient salty popcorn has is, obviously, salt. And the truth is dogs should not eat food that contains it. Some of the symptoms salt can cause on dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and seizures. What is more, eating extremely salty food can result in sodium ion poisoning in dogs.
  • Sugar: on the other opposite, we have sweet popcorn. But as different as they might taste, they are both equally bad for dogs. Popcorn is usually sweetened with either natural sugar or artificial sweeteners, like xylitol, both of which are toxic for dogs. They can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, intoxication and weight gain. 
  • Caramel: there is a type of popcorn that instead of just having one type of sweetener, contains caramel, which, as you have probably deduced, is not safe for dogs either. The high amount of sugar caramel has can cause an upset stomach, pancreatitis and it can lead to cavities in the long term. 
  • Curry powder: more sophisticated popcorn can also be flavored with, for example, curry. This powder is also not safe for pups. As some other spicy condiments do, curry can damage a dog’s digestive system. It’s definitely not for them. 

Now, let’s analyze how different popcorn cooking methods can be harmful for dogs. The most common ones are microwave, stove, electric and aluminum oil with direct fire, such as doing it on a campfire. 

The thing is that all of these cooking methods use some type of fat in order to prepare the popcorn, such as butter or oil. And yes, both of them are not safe for dogs, they can cause gastrointestinal damage and lead to obesity over time. 

Nevertheless, there is one way you can safely feed popcorn to your dog.

How to safely feed popcorn to your dog?

Plain popcorn is, as its name says, a type of corn, which is not harmful for dogs. As a matter of fact, many commercially sold dog foods contain corn, so there’s no reason why plain cooked popcorn should be bad for them.

What is more, plain cooked popcorn also acts as a healthy snack for dogs due to the high amount of vitamins and minerals it has, such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins B6, A, K and E. 

Nevertheless, in order to make this healthy snack, there is a strict guideline you must follow:

  • Only prepare the popcorn with a special air-popper that doesn’t use any type of fat such as butter or oil for cooking. This method uses just hot air and steam to make delicious crunchy popcorn.
  • Never EVER add any other type of ingredients, such as salt, sugar, condiments like curry and additives like caramel.
  • Make sure to remove all the whole kernels that didn’t pop during the process, since they can represent a hazard for your pup. 

And most importantly, only feed plain popcorn to your dog in moderation. You can make them as an occasional treat for when you’re having a movie night. 

Pro Tip: add some of Mokai’s treats to your dog’s popcorn bowl to add extra (and healthy!!) flavor. 

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