Being around your dog can be a fantastic feeling. You look after all its minor and bigger needs to ensure complete happiness. You take your little friend for a walk, play games, feed him his favourite food, and show him to the doctor. All these are necessary routine tasks. But some behaviour of your furry friend can surprise you. You may wonder if that’s good for him or harmful. Suppose you find him eating popcorn. What will be your reaction? Some find it cute, and others describe this experience as cool. However, a few pet parents may worry about its health implications. Are you those protective pet parents type?
In that case, you may ask – can dogs eat popcorn? The popular snack has been a point of discussion among pet owners now. But the confusion around this diet seems unlikely to die down. For the uninitiated, dogs eating popcorn can be both good and risky. To understand this better, you need to explore this subject profoundly. Here are a few insights in this context.
Popcorn’s nutritional value for Canines
Popcorns contain fat, protein, carbs, antioxidants, and fibre. A moderate amount of popcorn can be healthy for your dog because it’s low-calorie. If you feed your pet this item, it should be unsalted variety to avoid any potential health threats. This rich carbohydrate source supplies enough energy to the dogs that these active bodies need most. On the other hand, its dietary content affects its gut health and digestion. Due to the presence of protein, popcorn can nourish your dog’s muscles. Also, smaller doses of popcorn supplement their requirement for eggs and meats.
Like others, fat also provides them with energy. Other sources of fat are usually risky for weight management. But popcorn’s fat suits them. Also, this fat is mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are suitable for better heart health. So, when eaten in moderation, both dogs and humans benefit from this. Adding this snack to your dog’s diet can have nutritional value. Remember, it cannot replace dog treats and meals containing vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Pros and cons of feeding popcorn to dogs
A small bowl of air-popped popcorn has only about 31 calories, which can suit your pet dog without creating risks for weight gain. Fibre will care for its digestive system, and popcorn’s antioxidant properties prevent any chance of cell damage. Due to this, the dog can be safe from cancer and other life-threatening ailments. But you must remember that your dog’s treats should form only about 10% of its daily calories. So, give them popcorn accordingly. While all these are about the positive effects, learning about the potential harm of administering popcorn to your pet is also necessary. One of the most obvious is the choking risk. Dogs can choke or die without quick removal if the kernels settle in the middle of their throat.
Another thing you can be wary of is the sodium content of the popcorn. Canines need a small amount of salt in their food to avoid health risks, including kidney failure, seizures, diarrhoea, dehydration, and vomiting. It will be best not to add salt to the popcorn when you prepare it for your doggy. If not possible, give them vegetables and fruits instead. Some dogs can also be allergic to this because of ingredients like oil or butter. They can itch, have swelling or breathing issues, etc. If you notice any such discomfort in your pet, consult your vet immediately for guidance. They may recommend at-home care steps or ask you to bring your little friend to the office.
A few considerations
Dogs enjoy their popcorn because of its crunchiness and salty taste. They find it hard to resist its smell. Hence, the positive association with this ingredient triggers them. Also, some pet parents use the snack as a reward during training. If you want to give your pet its favourite treat, it’s better to avoid microwave varieties that often contain artificial butter and high salt. Whether your pet is small or large, only a few pieces of popcorn are advisable for them at a time.
You cannot replace other essential things from your dog’s diet for this. You get plenty of dog-friendly snacks. Also, popcorn can be an occasional treat. If your pet accidentally ate a few pieces of this snack, you would want to monitor their health for any signs or symptoms. They may suffer from lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhoea due to the upset digestive system. If you want to do something healthy with your dog’s diet, consider adding other items. For instance, thin slices of raw carrots can be low in calories and highly fibrous. The vitamin is an additional benefit.
Similarly, apples make a great choice. Just take out all the seeds before feeding them. For something with high antioxidant properties, you can try blueberries. Because these contain a generous quantity of sugar, moderation is critical. Even cooked green beans without salt also offer excellent vitamin and mineral supplies.
Nevertheless, you may be curious whether popcorn is safe for your dog. A moderate amount of this snack can be a good addition. But reserve popcorn as an occasional treat. Also, the snack should hold your dog’s calorie intake for the day within 10% of the range. Before giving the snack, eliminate all unpopped kernels to protect your pet from choking and intestinal damage. When you account for these factors, you will not worry about your dog’s health. However, as mentioned, caution is essential.
Nourishing and nurturing a pet dog is an all-day routine. Sometimes, you can be busy with work and ignore your pet. But the pet craves your company. If you have other family members also, you can request them to accompany your dog when you are engaged in something else. And, of course, things like vet visits and daily walks need special care. Ensure that you don’t unnecessarily delay their health and wellness. After all, they have to be your priority in these matters.