When watching movies or binge-watching Netflix, we often take a bowl of popcorn and start munching while drowning in entertainment.
But have you ever noticed that your dog gets excited when you’re making popcorn? You may have questioned, why do dogs like popcorn? Let’s look at the reasons and precautions you need to follow.
Your little buddy’s tummy needs some care, so feed them carefully! But don’t deprive them of the joy that they want.
Why Do Dogs Love Popcorn?
When you’ve just popped some popcorn, does your dog look at you with a tail wag and puppy eyes? Or have you found them munching on a bowl of it in your absence? They may love your popcorn and want some for themselves!
- They Love Small Treats
Pets love treats, especially as an encouragement or a reward. Dogs love it when you throw a treat at them, and they jump to catch it. The same applies to popcorn, as they love doing these little activities that give them joy.
- They Like the Smell
Who doesn’t love the buttery, salty, slightly nutty smell of freshly popped popcorn? We sure do! So do dogs! The smell can be so scrumptious to them that they will start circling around your kitchen while you’re making it.
- Popcorn Is Fun to Chew On
Because corn kernels are very fibrous, they can be tougher for your canine buddy to chew even when they’re popped. And as you may already know, dogs love chewing on things. This can entice them into chewing more of this squeaky popcorn.
- They May Be Bored
Maybe you haven’t given as much attention to your doggie as it needs. As a result, if you’ve left a bowl of popcorn somewhere in their reach, they will start munching to make up for that missing affection and attention.
Because you saw how much your dog loves popcorn, you have started giving it to them frequently as treats. The big concern here is: Is popcorn healthy for dogs? Should you feed it to them? How should you do it, and how much?
Is It Good for Your Dog?
Popcorn may or may not be suitable for your dog, depending on how you make it, how often you feed it to them, and how much popcorn you feed them each time.
Not all human foods are suitable for your pets. The same applies to popcorn. That’s why they have food available in the market. Let’s see how popcorn can be good for your little buddy and what side effects they may face with eating popcorn.
Popcorn is made from corn kernels which, as we know, are high in fiber, protein, and carbohydrates. Besides these, they contain vitamin A, E, K, and various forms of vitamin B. Corn kernels are also a good source of potassium, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.
What do these minerals do for your dog?
- Vitamin A aids in growth, cellular function, and immune function. It also helps to keep their eyes healthy.
- All types of vitamin B have a wide range of benefits. They regulate metabolism, ion channels, enzyme function, and red blood cell production. They also regulate hormones, gene activation, and protein generation.
- Vitamin E helps keep their skin, hair, and nails healthy and helps their muscles function well.
- Vitamin K improves the ability of dogs’ blood to clot in case they get injured somewhere.
- Potassium is essential for your pet’s heart, nervous system, and muscles, as it’s essential for generating electrical impulses in the body.
- Magnesium aids in absorbing vitamins and creating proteins. It also helps in generating energy for every muscle movement.
- Phosphorus keeps the bones, teeth, and metabolism healthy.
- Zinc is essential for producing proteins, enzymes, and hormones. It’s also crucial for their immune system and thyroid function.
They’re also considered a whole grain. This means it’s a good source of complex carbohydrates for your canine friend, providing good energy to them.
Given in small quantities and less frequently, pop corn won’t harm your pet that much. However, popcorn is only suitable for your dog as long as you have air-fried it and don’t add any salt, oil, or other forms of fat such as butter. Mixing anything with popcorn can adversely affect your dog’s health.
No matter how many health benefits popcorn can have on dogs, it’s not free of side effects. As mentioned earlier, not all food that is meant for human beings is suitable for your pets, and for good reasons.
Corn kernels are highly fibrous and have a tough coating. This makes it harder for dogs to digest. As a result, they sit in the stomach longer and keep on fermenting. This fermentation produces gas in your dog’s tummy, leading to stomach aches and vomiting. Over time, it can create stomach issues.
Dogs may also have allergic reactions to corn. This can cause inflammation, chronic gas, diarrhea, and upset the digestive system.
Be cautious when you’re giving popcorn to your dog from your bowl. If it’s unsalted, air-fried, and has no seasonings, you can give your dog a few pieces. However, salted and oil-popped popcorn can create heart issues and increase blood pressure.
However, there are some healthy fats that are good for your dog, and they may vary depending on your dog’s breed. If, for example, you have a Goldendoodle, then coconut oil is one of the healthy food options for your dog.
Precautions You Should Take
Although popcorn may not be healthy for your dog when given regularly, you can still follow some precautions so that they don’t get sick when you feed them popcorn. With these precautions, you can also ensure that your four-legged buddy receives the health benefits that popcorn can offer.
How to Give Them Popcorn
When you give your dog popcorn, make sure that you air-fry the corn kernels. Don’t add any oil, salt, or any other seasonings.
Dogs can’t digest fat. As a result, their cholesterol may arise, and they can even suffer from indigestion. Salt can increase their heart rate and hike their blood pressure.
Seasonings can upset their stomach and raise their body temperature, making them feel feverish. This can affect their immune system negatively.
Give them popcorn as little treats or encouragement. Make them have a fun time with it. Let them take it from your hand while you pat their head, or throw it at them for them to jump and catch. Let them do a little happy dance when they catch it! Ensure that they chew that popcorn properly before swallowing.
What You Should Avoid and Why
As mentioned a few times before, you should avoid any salt, seasonings, oil, and other forms of fat in your dog’s popcorn. These will cause indigestion, increase their heart rate, and heighten their blood pressure, leading them to cardiac issues, maybe cardiac arrest as well.
Avoid giving your dog sweet popcorn, as it’s full of artificial sweeteners that are very toxic for your pet. Sugar can also spike your dog’s blood sugar level. Kettle corn isn’t good for dogs as well, since it’s fried in oil and then tossed in a large amount of salt and sugar.
Do you have microwavable popcorn often? Never give it to your dog. It has fats and other chemicals that can be altered by microwaving. If you feed it to your dog, they could get food poisoning. Feeding them microwaved products frequently can also expose them to potentially carcinogenic compounds.
Maybe you enjoy cheesy popcorn. Your dog loves its smell too. Do you want to give it to your dog? Don’t do it! Cheese has saturated fat and milk solids, and dogs can’t digest either. Fat can cause cholesterol build-up in your dog’s blood vessels.
Cheese is also high in sodium, which can affect your dog’s heart. Studies have also found that cheese popcorn can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.
You may enjoy smart food popcorn sometimes, which is oil-popped and pre-packaged. It’s also something that you should never feed your dog.
Smartfood popcorn is deep-fried in boiling oil, much like chips and crackers, which gives it a crunchy texture. This might also produce carcinogens in the food, which may lead to a condition called pododermatitis in dogs.
When feeding your dog, be mindful of what you give them. Not everything is good for their digestion and body. Some foods can lead to minor uncomfortable situations such as gas to severe health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, or cancer. Popcorn is one of these foods.
Do dogs like popcorn? Absolutely. Popcorn is something you should feed in small amounts and only occasionally, and you should maintain precautions so that your furry friend stays healthy afterward.