It’s movie night at home. You’ve worked hard all week and now you can’t wait to put your feet up, pour your favorite drink, and pop a bag of popcorn. You plan to chill in front of the latest scary or romantic movie you missed in the theater. And your dog is a big part of your cuddle session. But can she share your snack? Can dogs eat popcorn?
Popcorn Has Nutritional Value
For humans, popcorn is a nutritional snack, especially when it’s air-popped without oil or the chemicals found in microwave popcorn. Popcorn contains polyphenols, natural dietary antioxidants that can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. They also improve artery function and may possibly lengthen your lifespan. Polyphenols are also good for a dog’s health. However, they get more benefit from foods rich in polyphenols than popcorn, like berries and decaffeinated green tea.
Popcorn also contains some minerals—such as magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, and phosphorous. It also has very small amounts of the B vitamins (such as niacin, folate, B6, and thiamine) that dogs need to stay healthy. Your dog can’t get all of her daily vitamins and minerals from popcorn. Still, the few that popcorn provides are a healthy addition to the totals she should be getting from her dog food.
Beware of the Health Hazards
In addition to the dangers of microwave popcorn, be aware that popcorn can be a choking hazard. Therefore, don’t toss pieces into the air for your pup to catch. Instead, let her eat them out of your hand, one at a time. She may also get the kernels caught between her teeth, so be sure to brush her teeth daily. This is something you should do whether she eats popcorn or not.
Know that the toppings you may enjoy on your popcorn are typically not healthy for dogs. These include things like salt, butter, sugar, caramel, and cheese. Others, like chocolate, can be a health hazard.
Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? The Verdict
There are certainly far worse snacks that you can feed your dog than popcorn, including French fries, candy, Chex mix, and guacamole. (Just to be clear—you should NOT give your dog any of these.) Popcorn on its own, air-popped without butter or oil and naked of toppings such as salt, is relatively safe for dogs to eat. You can feed popcorn to your dog in moderation.
Know, however, that dogs don’t miss out when they don’t get treats that humans enjoy. This is true even if you feel guilty about not sharing your favorite snack with your favorite friend. There are plenty of snacks made specifically for canines that you can feel good about feeding to your pet. These snacks often have health benefits such as antioxidants. So you’re not just rewarding your dog with something tasty, you’re also helping to ensure that she will be by your side for many more movie nights to come. Protect her health further with pet insurance, find out more here.