Like many fruits, popcorn is an easy-to-make snack that is found in almost every home. As every pup parent knows, what is eaten at home is frequently shared with the family dog as a treat. When settled in with a big bowl of popcorn in front of the TV, should popcorn be intentionally shared with the dog?
Is Popcorn Good For Dogs?
Popcorn is a type of corn kernel that expands and puffs when exposed to heat. One three-cup serving of air-popped popcorn without toppings contains only 1 gram of fat, 2 milligrams of sodium, and is less than 100 calories. Popcorn also contains many of the vitamins and minerals that dogs need. This includes vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, and potassium. Without toppings, popcorn is actually a low-calorie healthy treat when given in moderation.
Are Popcorn Toppings Bad For Dogs?
The vast majority of popcorn toppings aren’t toxic to dogs but that doesn’t mean they are healthy. Toppings like butter, salt, cheese, and caramel can cause intestinal upset and should not be added to popcorn being shared with you pup. For this reason, plain, air-popped popcorn is the only type that should be shared.
These toppings also turn a low-calorie treat into a high-calorie one. Dogs who are regularly fed high-calorie treats may become obese. Obesity in canines has been linked to chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Overweight pets are frequently diagnosed with joint injuries, like cruciate tears in addition to being predisposed to joint disease including osteoarthritis and joint injuries. Foods, like popcorn with added salt, should be avoided if a dog has been diagnosed with kidney disease. High-sodium diets can increase blood pressure, causing further damage to the kidneys.
One popcorn topping that should never be shared with a dog is chocolate. Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine. When ingested, theobromine causes the release of adrenaline. This can elevate a dog’s heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in cardiac arrhythmias. Symptoms of chocolate toxicity in dogs include increased panting and thirst, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle tremors, and seizures.
Can Unpopped Popcorn Kernels Hurt A Dog?
Popcorn kernels that haven’t popped are not toxic to dogs. However, these hard kernels can become lodged between teeth or can be a choking hazard. If the kernels aren’t removed, it could cause inflammation and pain. After feeding a dog popcorn, pet parents should watch for signs of dental discomfort.
How Much Topping-Free Popcorn Can A Dog Eat?
The number of daily calories a dog needs to maintain a healthy weight depends on its size, age, breed, and activity level. A veterinarian can determine a specific dog’s required caloric intake. Treats, like popcorn, should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake.
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