Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

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can dogs eat popcorn

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of various human foods. When you search for information about the safety or toxicity of avocado to dogs, you get some very mixed results from it being safe to highly toxic. We will answer the question about the safety of avocado in dogs in detail in this article.

The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic, which lead to a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods are chocolate, grapes and raisins, peanut butter, and foods that contain xylitol.

Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other human foods such as “Can dogs eat Popcorn?” Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

Popcorn is a cereal grain that is a variety of corn (maize). When heated the kernel of popcorn expands, puffs up and “pops”. Popcorn consists of three parts that includes the endosperm, germ and the pericarp (also known as hull). The scientific name of popcorn is Zea mays everta which is grown all over the world.

Popcorn can be cooked in the microwave or by other exposure to heat. When heated to approximately 400 °F, the moisture inside the kernel expands, pressure builds up, and the kernel bursts. The result is a fluffy bumpy piece of popped corn that is commonly 5 to 30 times the original size of the kernel.

Popcorn is a complex carbohydrate and generally low in calories unless it is smothered in sugar, syrup, or butter. Dogs often love the crunchy texture of popcorn and can enjoy this as a healthy snack in small amounts. Popped popcorn can be a good source of fiber, trace of vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, and manganese.

The answer to the question, can dogs eat popcorn … is yes, but it is recommended only in small amounts. Small amounts of air popped popcorn can make a good low-calorie treat for overweight dogs.

Please note: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not bother one dog may bother another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others.

The Dangers of Popcorn to Dogs

When researching the safety of popcorn for dogs, there are some considerations that impact the danger.

1. Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset in dogs that aren’t used to popcorn or popcorn that contains seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, seasoning, and/or sugar can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.
2. Risk of choking, or kernels or hauls getting stuck in the teeth.
3. A small percentage of dogs have food allergies that include an allergy to grains.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not cause illness in one dog may create sickness in another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods that bother some people may not affect others.

If your dog ingested popcorn and is showing symptoms such as trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, not eating or lethargy, please call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic.

Do Dogs Need Popcorn

There is nothing in popcorn that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about what dogs require in their diet with this article: Nutrition in Dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Caramel Popcorn?

Dogs can eat caramel popcorn but there is nothing in it that they need. The fat and sugar can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Popcorn to Dogs

The safest way to give popcorn to your dog is to give a small amount of fresh air popped unseasoned popcorn. Avoid popcorn with lots of butter, seasonings, syrups, cheese, or mixed with cheese, chocolate, peanuts, or almonds.

If your dog shows any sign of illness after eating popcorn, please call your veterinarian or closest veterinary emergency clinic immediately.

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