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Is Popcorn Bad For Dogs? Can Dogs Have Popcorn?

Should You Worry If Your Dog Eats Popcorn? Check The Benefits And Risks Of Giving Your Dog Popcorn

Like so many delicious snacks, too many of them is bad for you. Popcorn does have some dietary benefits, for us humans at least. But what about as a snack for your dog: can dogs eat popcorn?

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WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF POPCORN?

In its purest form, air-popped popcorn may be a healthy snack. At its simplest, popcorn is nothing more than a particular type of corn that pops when heated. It is a highly nutritious, low-calorie, whole grain food.

Eating whole grains like popcorn has been linked to several health benefits in humans, including reduced inflammation and lowering the risk of heart disease. The polyphenols in popcorn help improve blood circulation, improve digestion and even lower the risk of certain kinds of cancer.

Plain popcorn offers:

  • High fibre content
  • High levels of manganese
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Polyphenol antioxidants
  • Vitamins B1, B3, B6
  • Great levels of magnesium and phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Copper

However, depending on how it is cooked and prepared can turn it into something that certainly isn’t healthy.

One of the biggest problems with popcorn is what it’s flavoured with. Plain, unsweetened and unsalted popcorn is not the same as buttery, heavily salted popcorn.

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IS POPCORN BAD FOR DOGS?

So, plain, air-popped popcorn may be a great snack for us humans, but what about for our dogs?

Everything in moderation… including popcorn.

GRAIN ALLERGIES

Some dogs have a food intolerance or allergy to grains. This can lead to

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Skin problems
  • Itching
  • Swelling

FAT

Too much of any fatty food in a dog’s diet can potentially result in a very dangerous illness called pancreatitis. Whilst plain, air-popped popcorn is low calorie, sweet popcorn is liberally coated with fat, not to mention a whole host of other stuff – like salt – that is also no good for your dog

SOME POPCORN WARNINGS

According to some nutritionists, even plain popcorn is unhealthy – and not just for dogs, but for us too.

MICROWAVE POPCORN

Perhaps after reading this, you’re thinking “OK, I’ll stick to plain popcorn”. If you do this, try to avoid buying microwavable popcorn in bags. It might seem like a super easy and convenient way to prepare fresh popcorn, but several different studies have identified serious health risks related to pre-packaged microwave popcorn in bags.

The bags have a chemical that has been linked to many different health problems.

The popcorn itself may contain not only higher levels of harmful hydrogenated fat, but also a chemical called diacetyl, found in artificial butter flavouring. In animal studies, this particular chemical has been shown to be a cause of lung disease and damage airways when breathed in.

Yuk. Would you really want your beloved dog eating this stuff?

Image of a dog with popcorn and text - Can I give my dog popcorn?

CONCLUSION

If you don’t want your pooch to eat anything that may potentially be bad for her, it’s best to avoid popcorn as a treat.

However, if you consider treats as something occasional, and always given in moderation, you might decide that letting your dog mop up the bits of popcorn that fell to the floor on your Netflix night-in is not a problem.

Some of us are much stricter with what our dogs get to eat, than with our own diet. We might not think twice about eating some delicious, buttery popcorn at the movies, but we wouldn’t dream of letting even one piece pass our beautiful dog’s snout.

If you do choose to share your popcorn with your pooch, at least avoid pre-packaged microwave popcorn.

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As always, this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but rather, to help you make informed decisions to improve your dog’s health and wellbeing. Please, always seek your vet’s opinion, especially in the case of your dog being ill. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can dogs eat popcorn?

Yes, they can, but some dogs have allergies to grains, and the coating on all but plain, air-popped popcorn turn it into a very unhealthy snack

REFERENCES

Healthline: Popcorn nutrition

Healthline: Grains

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