You may get distressed upon realizing that your dog has eaten popcorn. In that situation, you will want to know whether it is okay for dogs to eat popcorn, what are the likely consequences of your dog eating popcorn, and what you need to do if your dog eats popcorn. Read on, for answers.
What are the implications, if my dog ate popcorn? It depends on the quantity and type of popcorn in question. If it is just a few popcorn bits, chances are that there will be no major harm. But if the dog ate lots of popcorn containing salt and butter, it may suffer stomach upsets and possibly other complications.
Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?
There are three ways to go about answering this question, on whether dogs can eat popcorn.
First is where we endeavor to know whether dogs are actually capable of eating popcorn.
Second is where we seek to know whether popcorn is safe for dogs.
And third is where we endeavor to know whether popcorn is nutritionally beneficial to dogs.
Let us take each of these considerations in turn.
Are Dogs Capable Of Eating Popcorn?
The simple answer is ‘yes’. Dogs are capable of eating popcorn. If a dog happens to come across a packet of popcorn, it may tear it up. It may then proceed to eat the popcorn.
The dog has the ability to chew the popcorn: especially if there are no unpopped corn kernels in it. And it is capable of swallowing the popcorn without a problem. Again, that is as long as there are no unpopped kernels of corn in it.
Further, the dog is capable (in most cases) of digesting the popcorn to some extent: and passing out popcorn waste in its poop without a problem.
So the bottom line is that dogs are capable of eating popcorn. Admittedly, for someone who is not conversant with this phenomenon of dogs eating popcorn, getting a report that my dog ate popcorn can be cause for some disbelief.
In fact, even a situation where I think my dog ate popcorn may still be met with some internal skepticism.
But the true position is that dogs are capable of eating (ingesting) popcorn. Whether or not the popcorn is safe for them, and whether or not the popcorn is beneficial to them are more critical questions in this context.
Is Popcorn Safe For Dogs?
The key concern I am likely to have, upon learning that my dog ate popcorn, is on whether the popcorn is safe for the dog.
In other words, I am likely to be keen on knowing, is it bad if my dog ate popcorn (from a safety point of view)? Or, to put it the other way round, is it OK if my dog ate popcorn (from a safety point of view)?
So, indeed, is popcorn safe for dogs? Whether or not popcorn is safe for dogs depends on the quantity and type of popcorn in question.
With regard to the quantity of popcorn, where it is just a case of a dog eating a few bits of popcorn that drop on the floor, then it is largely safe.
But still with regard to the quantity of the popcorn, where it is a case of a dog eating a bowlful of popcorn or more, it can be cause for concern.
An even worse scenario may be one where a person keeps on feeding the dog with large quantities of popcorn on a day to day basis.
But if it is just a few fun pieces of popcorn, then they are usually quite safe.
With regard to the type of popcorn, we see that plain, air-popped popcorn tends to be safe for dogs. Conversely, popcorn that has salt can be very unsafe for dogs.
Similarly, popcorn that has butter can be unsafe for dogs. And ‘sugar-free’ popcorn, which contains the artificial sweetener xylitol, can also be quite unsafe for dogs.
Therefore it becomes clear that what happens if my dog ate popcorn depends on the quantity and type of popcorn. Those two are the determinants of what will happen if my dog ate popcorn.
Is Popcorn Beneficial For Dogs?
Popcorn does contain a few nutrients that can be beneficial for dogs. Examples are the B vitamins that we refer to as thiamine and riboflavin. There is also some fiber in popcorn, as well as minerals like manganese, zinc and phosphorous.
But there are other places where a dog can get these nutrients, besides popcorn.
The potential risks of a dog eating popcorn may outweigh the few nutritional benefits the dog gets from popcorn.
The risks include things like stomach upsets, a scenario where popcorn kernels stick between the dog’s teeth, another where the dog chokes on the popcorn kernels or where the dog ends up with intestinal obstructions on account of eating popcorn.
Thus, it is true that popcorn can contain some nutrients that are beneficial for dogs. But the risks of feeding a dog on popcorn may outweigh those benefits.
At this point, one may ask, can dogs eat popcorn with cheese (where one uses the cheese to enhance the nutritional profile of the popcorn)? And the answer would be that the popcorn with cheese may not be very ideal for dogs.
That is because besides cheese, it may have seasoning that is harmful for the dog.
Therefore it may be better to get plain cheese for the dog. Then, if you have to give the dog popcorn, prepare or buy plain air-popped popcorn for the dog.
What Kind Of Popcorn Can Dogs Have?
If dogs must have popcorn, it has to be plain. If you give a dog popcorn with seasoning in the form of salt or other spices, you may end up causing lots of health problems.
Further, if dogs must have popcorn, it has to be of the air-popped variety. Any proper dog popcorn recipe will always recommend air popping.
In fact, most experts who are against feeding dogs on popcorn aren’t against the popcorn per se. Rather, it is the kernels that make them uncomfortable.
The problem with a dog eating popcorn kernels is in the fact that, firstly, the kernels often stick between the dog’s teeth. They then cause a great deal of discomfort, and can affect the dog’s ability to eat going forward.
Further, the kernels are a choking hazard. And besides that, the kernels can cause intestinal obstructions – which are typically major emergencies.
Therefore if my dog ate popcorn kernels, I would have reason to be concerned. The major cause for concern would be: what if my dog ate popcorn kernels, and they cause him intestinal obstructions?
Or what if my dog ate popcorn kernels, and they stick in between its teeth – requiring a costly visit to the vet down the line?
All in all, if dogs must have popcorn, then it better be of the plain, air-popped variety.
But then again, it is worth mentioning that not all foods containing the word ‘popcorn’ are real popcorn.
Thus, for instance, in a situation where my dog ate popcorn shrimp or if my dog ate popcorn chicken, the concerns would be rather different.
How Much Popcorn Can My Dog Have?
At most, a dog should only have a handful of popcorn. And that should only be once in a while: as a snack or as a treat. It shouldn’t be part of the dog’s day to day diet.
And of course, it has to be plain, air-popped popcorn.
Thus, if your dog ate only a few bits of popcorn, or a handful at most, and it was plain, air-popped popcorn, it should be okay. This therefore should answer the question: my dog ate popcorn will he be OK?
So if it was just a handful or less, the dog should be okay. That is save for a stomach upset which may manifest if the dog has not eaten popcorn before.
Therefore a scenario where my dog ate a handful of popcorn shouldn’t arouse as much concern as one where, say, my dog ate microwave popcorn bag. In the latter case, it is the ingestion of the bag that would be real cause for concern.
This guideline (on how much popcorn a dog can have) also has implications in figuring out what should I do if my dog ate popcorn. If it was just a few pieces of popcorn, or a handful at most, you can have some reassurance that the dog is unlikely to suffer much harm.
But if it was, say, a scenario where the dog gobbled a whole pound of popcorn in a large pack, you may need to consult your vet.
What Do I Do If My Dog Eats Popcorn?
What to do if your dog eats popcorn depends on how much popcorn the dog ate. It also depends on the type of popcorn the dog ate.
If it was just a few bits of popcorn on the floor, chances are that the dog will be alright.
But if it was a great deal of popcorn, the dog may end up with various complications. Those may include diarrhea, coughing and stomach upset.
Thus, if my dog ate popcorn help would be worth seeking if it was lots of popcorn.
On another note, if it was lots of popcorn with salt or butter, it would be cause for concern. At the very least, in this scenario, I would consider calling the vet with a request for help my dog ate popcorn.
Still even where the dog ate just a little, plain air-popped popcorn, but seems to have a very severe reaction to it, it would be worthwhile to consider seeking veterinarian help.
In all cases, if it is the first time the dog is eating popcorn, it is best to watch closely. Admittedly, a minor stomach upset is expectable. But if it gets too bad or lasts too long, it is best to consult a vet.
A scenario where my dog ate popcorn and is throwing up would be one that necessitates consulting a vet. Similarly, a situation where my dog ate popcorn and is coughing or where my dog ate popcorn and now has diarrhea may necessitate consulting a vet.
You may need to check the dog’s poop, to be sure that the popcorn kernels have been passed out. Only then can you rest easy.
Final Verdict – My Dog Ate Popcorn
At best, the popcorn may cause stomach upset. At worst, the popcorn (specifically too many popcorn kernels) may cause intestinal obstruction, sometimes necessitating urgent surgery.
Popcorn kernels can also get stuck in between the dog’s teeth. Or they can cause choking – like where a dog eats too much popcorn too fast.
Should you discover that your dog has eaten popcorn, the key thing to do would be to observe it closely. If you notice any complications that seem to be on account of the dog eating the popcorn, it may be best to consult a vet.
Welcome to Learn About Pet. My name is Rajkumar Ravichandran and I love all pets, travel, and amazing food. I write about my passion and personal experience caring for multiple pets in this blog! ❤️
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